Kenya’s mobile customer care platform Ongair rakes in funding [updated]

The Hong Kong-founded venture capital firm and accelerator, Nest, has invested an undisclosed amount into Kenya’s mobile customer care platform Ongair. With hundreds of clients around the world, the one-year-old startup is now looking to expand its services into China.

Ongair is behind a web-based dashboard that enables businesses to engage with their customers on instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram and WeChat.

“Our goal is to help businesses serve customers and we’ll use the additional resources to support growth, expand strategically into Asian markets and deliver great product to delight our customers around the world,” says Trevor Kimenye, CEO of Ongair (pictured left with co-founder Charles Gichuki).

Ongair has confirmed that alongside Nest, Zeytin Limited, Venture Kinetics and “other angel investors” have invested a total of US$125 000.

Launched last year, Ongair is today servicing over 700 businesses around the world. These include media companies, ecommerce platforms, universities, financial institutions and nonprofit organisations.

“We are very excited about the growth Ongair is experiencing and believe that with this additional capital, network and strategic input, the company can grow even more rapidly and scale into Asia with Nest’s support to set up in Hong Kong and enter China,” said Aaron Fu, Managing Partner, Nest, Africa.

Read more: Hong Kong VC firm Nest expands to Nairobi to support continent’s talents

The startup’s enterprise clients include TecnoBuy from Costa Rica, Zeker.ME in Denmark, Petsy in Mexico and Uruguay’s CoreFone, among many more.

Ongair’s platform currently leverages popular instant messaging services like Whatsapp, Messenger, WeChat and Telegram to help businesses communicate with their customers. Clients can then access reports and analytics, or integrate into CRM platforms like ZenDesk. It plans to add more instant messaging platforms in the future.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the East African startup landscape [2015/2016 Update]

“With presences in Asia, Europe, Africa and the US, Nest is an ideal partner as we continue to scale our business globally,” said Kimenye. “We’re excited to have a partner on board that provides us not only capital, but also vast strategic experience and network across these markets.

“A key reason we are in Nairobi is to be able to take innovation born in Africa, just like Ongair, to the rest of the world, there are lots of innovative startups in Africa with products that have the potential to reach very similar target demographics outside of the continent. We hope to inspire more young African entrepreneurs to design global products and export their innovation to the rest of the world.”

Ongair is targeting 10 000 customers by the end of 2016.

Update: This article has been updated to include additional comments from Ongair, which revealed that the total amount of funding raised is US$125 000.

Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter


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