Kenyan tech startup Poa Internet raises Ksh.3 billion funding

Kenyan tech startup Poa Internet raises Ksh.3 billion funding

Poa Internet founders Mike Puchol, Andy Halsall, Chris Rhodes, and DJ Koeman. PHOTO | COURTESY

  • Poa Internet beat out 673 other startups to win an innovation challenge hosted by Africa50 in 2020.
  • The startup raised the amount in a Series C funding round, taking the total amount it has raised to Ksh.4.084 billion.
  • The local internet service provider says it presently serves at least 12,000 customers in homes and small businesses.

Kenyan tech startup Poa Internet has secured $28 million (Ksh.3.178 billion) in funding to grow its reach across the country and the continent at large.

This comes after the company beat out 673 other startups to win an innovation challenge hosted by Africa50, an infrastructure financier backed by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) Group, in 2020.

Poa Internet raised the amount in a Series C funding round, taking the total amount it has raised since winning the challenge to $36 million (Ksh.4.084 billion).

The local internet service provider says it presently serves at least 12,000 customers in homes and small businesses majorly spread out across Nairobi’s low and middle-income neighborhoods, which are typically not priority markets for other major players in the sector.

The company’s monthly charges range at about $13 (Ksh.1,474), with $0.18 (Ksh.20.42) for 1GB of data in public areas where they have set up Wi-Fi hotspots.

The startup’s co-founder and CEO, Andy Halsall, told TechCrunch: “We are focused on Kenya at the moment, but the problem we’re solving is continent-wide. And for us, it’s not just about getting people some connectivity. Our aim is to get a lot of people online and to give them a meaningful internet experience like the ability to stream videos, without worrying about how much data they’re consuming.”

“Our primary focus is to get the price as low as possible and to operate in the communities that don’t have fiber connectivity or are unlikely to get fiber. Therefore, we’re not really going to compete really against anyone because we are going after a market sector that is not well served.”

Africa50 managing director Raza Hasnani, on his part, said: “Poa has been instrumental in bridging the needs of last- mile connectivity, and their ultra-low-cost solutions can be used to address the significant connectivity gaps in Kenya and across the continent as a whole. This is particularly important at a time when societies and economic activities are increasingly becoming digitized as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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