HAVAÍC invests undisclosed sum in Kenyan virtual postbox startup Mpost

Featured image: MPost CEO Abdulaziz Mohamed speaking at the SA Innovation Summit in Cape Town after receiving first prize at the Main Pitching Den (SA Innovation Summit via Twitter )

Cape Town based venture capital (VC) firm HAVAÍC yesterday announced that it had invested an undisclosed sum in a pre-Series A round in Kenyan virtual postbox startup Mpost.

Nairobi-based Mpost uses consumers’ mobile phone numbers to create internationally accepted virtual post office boxes. The startup was founded in 2016 by CEO Abdulaziz (Aziz) Omar (pictured above, right) and CTO Twahir Mohamed.

Without disclosing the actual amount it invested in the startup, HAVAÍC partner Rob Heath — who is responsible for pan-African and international business conceded to Ventureburn in an email yesterday (10 June) that the amount the VC firm invested was “not a large amount” and “appropriate for a company of this size”.

Mpost will use the pre-Series A round to finalise partnerships and begin roll-outs in new territories

“After spending time with Aziz and Twahir in Nairobi and seeing the solution in action, it’s clear that this is not just a technology and commercial product.

“Mpost makes a real impact on people’s daily lives and as an investor, it’s rewarding when we can tie these two elements together. That being said, this is a great example of African problems producing global solutions — one of the cornerstones of our investment thesis at HAVAÍC,” Heath said in an earlier statement.

He explained in an email yesterday that the deal was concluded in April and will help Mpost finalise partnerships and begin roll-outs in new territories until the startup closes its Series-A round.

“Series-A is currently progressing in a positive direction with both African and international VC’s looking to be in the round,” said Heath.

Omar, commenting in the same statement, said the startup is excited about the HAVAÍC investment and added that the VC firm will “undoubtedly bolster” Mpost’s growth and impact.

HAVAÍC said the Mpost — which is a Startupbootcamp AfriTech (SBC AfriTech) alumnus — was introduced to the VC firm through the collaborative partnership between SBC AfriTech and HAVAÍC.

As part of the deal, SBC AfriTech co-founder Zachariah George will join as a strategic advisor .

Mohamed said the partnership with HAVAÍC and SBC AfriTech will enable Mpost to enhance the efficiency and user experience of its product and to improve the long term benefits of its clients and stakeholders.

The startup has successfully rolled out its system in Kenya as part of a joint venture with Kenyan government’s postal services, Posta, and will soon launch in Uganda.

Mpost estimates that just in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region alone it is addressing a potential target market of between 150 to 200 million customers.

Mpost’s solution is registered with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation and also has an international patent.

In addition, the service has been ratified and recommended by the Universal Postal Union (Upu), a UN agency that co-ordinates postal policies and the worldwide postal system.

HAVAÍC hinted in its statement that Mpost — with its international patent and Upu approval — will be looking to expand to other regions.

In November last year Mpost said it was engaged in early pilot discussions in four African countries which include Botswana (see this story).

Last year the startup emerged the victor of the main pitching session at the 2018 SA Innovation Summit, winning an opportunity to represent Africa at last month’s Startup World Cup in Silicon Valley.

Ventureburn sought comment from both Omar and Mohamed but had not received a response at the time of publication.

Read moreHere’s who took home top honours at the SA Innovation Summit
Read moreSBC AfriTech startups have raised €600k and secured 20 pilot agreements [Updated]

Editor’s note (13 June 2019): An earlier version of this article stated that SBC AfriTech co-founder Zachariah George will be joining Mpost’s board to represent the accelerator and HAVAÍC. George subsequently emailed Ventureburn on 12 June and said that he will be joining Mpost as a strategic adviser instead. The article has been updated to reflect this. George added that a formal board will only be instated post the completion of the Series-A round which is ongoing.

Featured image: MPost CEO Abdulaziz Mohamed (right) with an announcer (left) at the SA Innovation Summit in Cape Town after receiving first prize at the Main Pitching Den (SA Innovation Summit via Twitter )

Daniel Mpala
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