Nailab accelerator raises 5 million Kenyan Shilling to fund its fourth cohort

Nailab (Nairobi Incubation Lab), Kenyan startup accelerator launched in 2011, offers an entrepreneurship program focusing on growing innovative technology driven ideas. In 2013, the Kenyan government (ICT Authority) had given a mandate to the accelerator for three years at a cost of approximately $1.6 million contract.

“Nailab’s entrepreneurial innovations are becoming valuable pacesetters in ICT in this country. With the likes of Eneza Education, Cladlight and many others that have gone through the program, we are proud to say that we can see the results and as ICTA, we will continue to explore and support entrepreneurs through programs such as this,” said the ICT Authority, Acting CEO, Mr. Victor Kyalo.

At its fourth demo day today, Nailab announced funding for the cohort 4 and cohort 3 startups.  

Nailab said in a statement, “The fourth batch, which is made up of four startups, is currently undergoing incubation and they unveiled fresh solutions aimed at addressing local challenges. They include Stock simulation, Designer fashion hub, E-Task management and an E- shoe designer store.”

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The Season 4 group was selected from hundreds of applications received by the incubator. They include Mode Mara, Young Freddie, TasKwetu and Hisa Play. The group has spent the last 90 days in the Nailab incubation program where they received high level mentoring, product development and professional training on different professional facets that help in the formation of a startup.

The group will continue in the program for another 3 months, in which they will work on refining their products and increasing customer acquisition.

“It is important that we who make up the hub and tech ecosystem of ICT in Kenya continue to work with and support startups,” said Sam Gichuru, CEO and Co-Founder, Nailab. “The ideas and solutions showcased by young people are not only addressing real customer needs and issues, but are also helping in the creation of local jobs and serving our young people in realizing financial independence.”

Here are four startups that pitched their product at the Nailab demo day in front of an audience.

 TasKWetu: a neat way to get your errands done in Kenya, whether Diaspora or a local. The online errand platform has tracking option that helps you know the status of your delegated tasks. The platform monetizes the serves by allowing users to order their tasks for a fee, and follow the progress of the same. Some of the tasks include bill payment, passport renewals and tax remittances. Instead of begging your distant cousin to do something for you back home you just give the task just like you do in TaskRabbit. There are a few similar local startups in this space such as Sendy and PettyErrands. This makes life a whole lot easier by letting you focus on the importing thing while taking errands out of the way.

HisaPlay: is a stock simulation game that trains people on how the stock market works. The simulation mirrors NSE (Nairob Stock Exchange) in real time stock trading. With a help of dummy account/money it helps in equipping and familiarizing people with real world financial literacy skills for trading.

 Mode Mara: An online fashion hub for designers created to provide a platform for them to meet, discuss and interact through sharing of ideas relevant to their field. The platform also offers a marketplace for them to showcase and sell their creations to fashion lovers locally and across the continent.

Young Freddie: A fashion design company incubated to develop an e-commerce platform for its already existing physical store. Young Freddie Collections designs and makes custom items using African based fabric prints such as Ankara, Kitenge, Maasai prints and Kente. Products range from shoes, handbags, coats and shorts.

Regarding the 5 million Ksh funding, Sam Gichuru the CEO of Nailab said, “In the light of our previous experience on the funding of startups, we sought more capital injection into these businesses through our investor networks to ensure that we give entrepreneurs a greater chance of survival through the capital base. We are glad that this is now coming to light and we hope to keep raising funds for all the enterprises that we have the privilege of incubating.”

Since its founding in 2010, Nailab has accelerated over 30 startups and has 14 startups making part of the existing alumni with an average revenue of slightly over Ksh. 500,000 per month each.

Stay tuned for detailed story on each of the startups.


Emmanuel Amberber

Inhales & exhale everything startups, tech, entrepreneurship, and the intersection of India & Africa. You can reach him via emmanuel[at]yourstory.com