Thursday 16, February 2017 by Matthew Amlôt

Bamba, an African data collection agency, raises $1.1 million in first seed round

African data collection startup Bamba has announced today that it has closed its first seed investment round after raising $1.1 million (KES 110 million) in investment funds, making it one of the largest and most successful seed rounds completed by an East African startup.

At closing, Bamba is proud to have a global investor base that spans Silicon Valley, New York, Washington DC, Austin, London and many regions throughout Africa.

Bamba is a boutique data collection agency that specialises in innovative solutions for rapidly gathering cost-effective and high-quality consumer insights from emerging markets that can be otherwise challenging to reach. One such solution is Bamba’s unique tool that allows the building of highly targeted and responsive panels for data collection.

Clients hail from a diverse array of sectors, including market research consulting, private equity, agriculture, education, health, finance, government agencies, NGOs and private companies. The versatility and effectiveness of Bamba’s offerings have resulted in numerous high-profile clients, such as Kantar, the Aga Khan Foundation, and IPSOS. “Bamba has made it possible to deliver panel-based projects a lot faster by providing access to highly targeted respondents,” says Arnold Nyakundi of IPSOS Kenya.

With humble beginnings in Nairobi, the company started with just its three co-founders, Al Ismaili, CEO (@al_ismaili), Shehzad Tejani, COO (@Tejanishehzad) and Faiz Hirani, CTO (@FaizHirani) and had a core workforce of seven full-time employees in 2015.

“Since then, we’ve further expanded to employ 21 full-time staff, along with numerous other field consultants around the world. It’s incredible; we’ve established a global reach, spanning Canada, US, UK, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Nigeria. This is in large part thanks to ongoing support from our investors,” says Al Ismaili, co-founder and CEO.

Rishi Varma, founder & CEO of AlphaDetail which was acquired by QuntilesIMS (formerly IMS Health), was introduced to Bamba during their time at Techstars. Rishi was based in San Francisco where he built the largest market research firm focused on primary research in the pharma/biotech industry in the US and was so impressed by the Bamba team that he became one of their initial investors.

“Since the first day I met the founders of Bamba, I knew they had a special team and product to tackle a challenging but large market opportunity. I had no reservations in backing them financially and as an advisor. Having built a highly successful market research practice myself, I can clearly see the Bamba team has what it takes to do the same,” he said about his investment decision.

“We are very proud to be investors in Bamba,” says Brett Hurt, founder of BazaarVoice and Data.world. “Not only are [they] providing a very valuable analytics service, but they are also providing jobs in countries that really need them. This is one of those rare businesses that has a combination of a massive market opportunity and a real social impact. Their focus just couldn’t be better.”

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