In 2012, Kenfield Griffith started a company that uses SMS and mobile messaging technology to offer corporate clients access to data from underserved markets on the Continent. We spoke to him at the VivaTech conference in Paris, just a couple of weeks after he secured a $3.5 million investment to expand his business in fast-growing African countries.
I wanted to talk to you about raising funding because I know it’s been so hard for African companies. So can you talk to us about the process and the critical phase that allowed you to gain your funds to expand your company?
So you have to make sure you are solving a problem you can articulate the big solution that you have. For us, we look at the data, we actually started raising funds in May 2017 and we got the term sheet relatively quickly around November of that year. Due diligence takes about another 4 – 6 months so you’re looking at a time period of about 9 months. At least so we of course were fortunate to get 2 term sheets but I think the more compelling thing was the fact we had a solution.
So who are your investors and how did you go through the process of choosing them?
TL com, the great lead in investment they are really focused on Africa tech and have some really great entrepreneurial experience, government experience such as the former Nigerian minister Dr. Omobola Johnson, and consulting with many businesses within the private sector. We have Social Capital from the US Kapor Capital also from the US and then we have angel investors including the founder of Net Promoter Score and we are really fortunate to have him on board.
Now that you have looked around and were able to have that victory, what are you going to do with your funds and how are you going to develop your company?
We just set up an office in Nigeria which has over 180 million consumers; mSurvey as a Software as a Service we are really trying to hone in on understanding the African consumer and the way we do it is by listening to the voice of the African consumer and quantifying these conversations, therefore it’s actually having the infrastructure to do that. I think investing in startups in Africa now is the way forward and this is just my own two sense, it’s probably the smartest thing to do because most startups now are building foundation and infrastructure so they are building platforms that could be used later and could bring in significant value. So we will continue to build our infrastructure and continue to hire great talent while growing our network!