Japan’s NINJA Accelerator in Kenya picks 5 startups for its first cohort

KENYA – The “NINJA Accelerator in Kenya” – powered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in partnership with Double Feather Partners (DFP), Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support (DTVS), Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory (DTFA) and GrowthAfrica has selected five high-potential Kenyan ventures for its first cohort.

The NINJA Accelerator in Kenya will offer a blend of local, Japanese, and international mentoring, expertise, coaching, and investor relations, all customized to meet the needs of each venture over the course of three months with a Demo Day scheduled for July 29th, 2021. 

The 5 startups will have a chance to take part in an international experience from Nairobi to Tokyo, and now Silicon Valley.

The five Kenya-based ventures are: Sokowatch – founded by Daniel Yu (CEO), Sokowatch is an e-commerce and logistics platform focused on supplying fast-moving consumer goods to mom-and-pop stores, allowing merchants to order products at any time via SMS or mobile app for free same-day delivery, Kwara – Co-founded by Cynthia Wandia (CEO) and David Hwan (COO), Kwara is on a mission to turn savings cooperatives in emerging markets into digital banks, making wealth creation frictionless for the 3 billion un- and under banked and Cinch Markets – founded by Alexander Fankuchen (CEO), Cinch works with smallholder farmers in Kenya to aggregate land into commercial parcels, bring investment and generate returns that build durable prosperity. 

The other two are Amitruck which was founded by former truck driver and investment banker turned CEO Mark Mwangi,. Amitruck is a digital marketplace that connects clients to transporters in a secure, competitive, and convenient manner, cutting out expensive middlemen, allowing drivers bid for deliveries, thus ensuring competitive pricing in all transparency and Zana Africa – founded by Megan Mukuria (CEO), ZanaAfrica helps young women live healthier lives thanks to feminine hygiene products made through green manufacturing processes which also contribute to the circular economy. 

“We were extremely impressed by the quality of the applicants for this first cohort,” said Keiji Katai, Senior Director – Private Sector Development Group at JICA.

“While we were only able to select five, it is exciting to see what young entrepreneurs in Kenya, and undoubtedly Africa, have to offer. We hope to demonstrate to Japanese corporatism and investors that there is a serious case to be made when engaging with startups in Africa, which are the future drivers of African economies,” he added.

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