Startups & Ideas

Safaricom Spark Accelerator Program Unveils 1st Cohort of 9 Startups

The Spark Accelerator Program by Safaricom, in collaboration with M-PESA Africa and Sumimoto Corporation, has announced its first cohort of nine startups, demonstrating a significant commitment to fostering innovation that drives both economic and societal change. This initiative, implemented by the iHub, is strategically designed to support early-stage startups by providing a robust ecosystem of training, mentorship, and market access to enhance their scalability and impact.

A Closer Look at the Program Structure

The Spark Accelerator Program aims to create a nurturing environment for startups by combining Safaricom’s resources and expertise with the innovative business models of young companies. It is structured to provide not just financial support but also strategic guidance and technical assistance, aligning with Safaricom’s commitment to innovation and sustainable development. The program is part of a broader initiative by Safaricom and its partners to use their substantial operational experience and customer base to scale startups to their full potential, thereby contributing significantly to the development of the Kenyan and wider African economies.

Safaricom Spark 1st Cohort of Innovators

The first cohort under the Spark Accelerator Program includes startups across various sectors, each focused on leveraging technology to create meaningful societal change. These startups, Safaricom says, have been chosen for their potential to significantly alter their respective industries and contribute to broader economic growth.

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Embedded Finance:

  • Chumz: Utilizes mobile technology and behavioral psychology to encourage saving habits among users, making financial management accessible and fun.
  • Nobuk: Provides streamlined financial services for African groups, enhancing efficiency in payment collection and reconciliation processes.

SME Productivity Tools:

  • Chpter: Offers an AI-powered platform that integrates marketing, payments, and social media interactions, enabling businesses to manage their customer engagements more effectively.
  • Faidi HR: An all-in-one HR platform designed to automate and simplify human resources tasks, helping businesses to increase operational efficiency.
  • Twiva: Leverages social media influencers to market products, thus bridging the gap between brands and their target audiences through effective online engagement.
  • Churpy: Specializes in providing advanced customer engagement tools that help businesses improve their customer interactions and overall satisfaction levels.


  • HealthX Africa: Aims to provide accessible healthcare through a mix of digital and physical touchpoints, addressing the healthcare gap in underserved areas.

Content Creation

  • BlackRhino VR: Creates immersive and interactive digital content, enhancing the way audiences engage with stories and brand narratives.


  • VunaPay: Supports agricultural cooperatives with instant payment solutions, facilitating better financial flows between farmers and markets, ensuring timeliness and reducing transactional friction.

The program’s leaders underscore the impact these startups are expected to have on the Kenyan economy and beyond. “Leveraging technology to drive meaningful innovation is a strong premise under which the Spark Accelerator program was founded,” Safaricom CEO Ndegwa elaborates. The strategic intent is to not just foster business growth but to instill innovations that improve the quality of life for millions of Kenyans.

Katatsuya Kashiki, General Manager of Smart Communication Platform SB, Sumitomo Corporation, expressed enthusiasm about collaborating with these startups: “By leveraging our extensive global business know-how with excellent operations and customer base of Safaricom and M-PESA Africa, we are excited to expand digital financial services and contribute to the development of the Kenyan and African economies.”

In alignment with these goals, Nissi Igbokwe, Managing Partner at iHUB/ccHub, highlighted the commitment to accelerating innovation for African prosperity: “We look forward to supporting these startups to optimize their offerings, scale their solutions, and expand their impact.”

Future Prospects and Strategic Aims of the Spark Accelerator Program

The Spark Accelerator will leverage a team of founders and experts to accelerate product innovation across different industry verticals. The support structure provided aims not just at financial investment but at creating a sustainable business environment where these startups can thrive.

This first cohort marks the beginning of a long-term strategy by Safaricom and its partners to build a more prosperous and equitable future through innovative technology solutions. As these nine startups embark on their growth journeys, they not only represent a new era of technological innovation in Kenya but also a significant step towards realising the transformative potential of digital economies in Africa.


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