Safaricom, in collaboration with M-PESA Africa and Sumitomo Corporation, has announced the selection of nine innovative startups to participate in the Spark Accelerator Program. This initiative aims to support visionary founders in scaling their businesses and driving significant societal and economic change.

Categories and Selection Process

The chosen startups were selected from a diverse pool of applicants across several categories, including Embedded Finance, Future Fintech, SME Productivity Tools, and Content. The Spark Accelerator Program offers a comprehensive support system, blending training, mentorship, and go-to-market assistance to provide these startups with access to markets, technology, product development support, and capital.

Objectives of the Spark Accelerator Program

Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, emphasized the program's mission: “Leveraging technology to drive meaningful innovation is a strong premise under which the Spark Accelerator program was founded. By supporting and investing in these tech-enabled startups, we aim to drive significant societal change and economic growth. We are excited to work with visionary founders who represent the promise of tomorrow and to see the impact they will create in their respective sectors.”

Embedded Finance

- Chumz: Utilizing mobile money, gamification, and behavioral psychology to foster a community of savers.

- Nobuk: Streamlining payment collection and reconciliation for African groups and collectives, simplifying financial reporting.

SME Productivity Tools

- Chpter: An AI-powered platform that helps businesses increase sales on social platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram by automating conversations, marketing, and payments.

- Faidi HR: A comprehensive cloud-based payroll and HR platform for businesses.

- Churpy: Aiming to automate repetitive and manual tasks in the office of the CFO.

- Twiva: A social-commerce platform that leverages social media influencers to help brands effectively reach markets.


- HealthX Africa: A data-driven primary healthcare provider offering both digital and physical touchpoints to ensure every Kenyan has access to a doctor.

- BlackRhino VR: Enabling creators and brands to tell immersive and interactive stories appealing to contemporary audiences.

Future Fintech

- VunaPay: A platform for agricultural cooperatives that facilitates instant payment to smallholder farmers for produce delivered to the cooperatives.

Strategic Goals and Support

Katsuya Kashiki, General Manager of Smart Communication Platform SBU at Sumitomo Corporation, highlighted the strategic goals of the partnership: “By leveraging our extensive global business know-how with the 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, human resource development, and a more prosperous life through supporting and collaborating with advanced startups.”

Nissi Madu, Managing Partner at iHUB/CcHUB, expressed enthusiasm about the program's potential impact: “In alignment with our commitment to accelerating innovation for African prosperity, we are excited to welcome these startups into the program. Their unique solutions harness transformative opportunities to leverage technology to significantly improve the quality of lives of millions of Kenyans. We look forward to supporting the startups to optimize their offerings, scale their solutions, and expand their impact.”

The Spark Accelerator was launched as a result of a strategic partnership formed last year between Safaricom, M-PESA Africa, and Sumitomo Corporation, following an approval by Safaricom's board and shareholders to restructure the Spark Fund. This accelerator aims to leverage the expertise of founders and industry experts to drive product innovation across various verticals.

By fostering these early-stage startups, the Spark Accelerator Program is set to play a pivotal role in advancing technological innovation and economic growth in Kenya and beyond.