Who We Are
Kernel Fund is an Angel fund that invests seed capital in early stage companies with high growth potential. Our goal is to provide seed capital and strategic advisory resources to early-stage companies that focus on using technology to fill significant economic and infrastructure gaps for consumers and enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa.
We are a group of seasoned technology practitioners and investors with deep experience in building technology startups, technology strategy, marketing, M&A and finance. Our team brings a wealth of experience to the table as business owners and individuals with rich careers in established technology firms such as Dell, Amazon & Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, etc. Our experience spans the USA, Europe and Africa in terms of professional and investment experience.
Kernel makes investments in ventures with accomplished and experienced founders and teams who have identified a large market opportunity with a product that is differentiated and deep. Interesting startups must have at least a minimum viable product backed by strong customer development and rounds of successful testing of a defensible business model. We are interested in businesses whose customers are consumers or the enterprise.
With startups that meet our criteria, we aim to provide seed capital and strategic advisory with the aim of delivering stellar growth, sustainable returns and access to later rounds of capital in order to continue a successful growth trajectory. By pairing our capital with strong strategic advisory we aim to increase the odds of success for the founding teams.
Given the many market gaps in sub Saharan African economies, our vision is sector agnostic. However, our initial focus is on the application of technology to solving new and old problems. Our target geography is the West African cluster (Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, and Benin), the east African cluster (Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania) and the South African cluster (Zimbabwe and South Africa).
We believe that the path to rapid development and unlocking vast amounts of economic value in Africa, is through better public policy paired with sustainable world class entrepreneurship. We believe in unlocking the potential in this latter piece by providing both capital and deep experience driven expertise (the kernel) for outstanding founders and their businesses.
We are always looking for great startups to invest in and we screen for 3 main things: A great founder/founding team with relevant savvy and experience, a well vetted market opportunity and a defensible and stout business model. It’s important that founders have spent time on customer development and can show data about how the product or service resonates with real customers. A clear headed understanding and assessment of the local and global market is a must.
Our vetting process requires a presentation to our team either in person or virtually. We then carry out due diligence by follow up interviews, reviewing performance documents & a visit to the companies premises using local members of our team in different countries. The entire timeline from initial presentation to investing tends to be about 4 weeks.
We look to invest in multiples of $25,000 – $50,000 in our portfolio companies in the initial seed round – the initial range is usually between $25,000 – $200,000. That investment brings with it a commitment to help grow the company which may include participating in future rounds as needed.