This funding is part of the $28 million financing round led by Africa50, which will be used to support the company’s future growth plans across Kenya, as well as launch the business into further African markets. Also participating in the first closing is Novastar Ventures, which is making its third investment into the company and a number of other existing shareholders.
Poa! Internet is an internet access provider that offers wireless broadband service to low and middle income households and SMEs in urban and peri-urban areas.
The Kenya-based startup first won the Africa50 Innovation Challenge, a call for proposals to find “last mile connectivity” solutions to increase access to reliable and affordable Internet in underserved areas in Africa. More than 700 solutions were selected and studied.
Tactis, as a technical advisor specialized in the telecommunications sector, provided Africa50 with a technical assessment of the best solutions in the context of this call for proposals.
Andy Halsall, Poa Internet’s CEO, commented “Poa is all about connecting the unconnected of Africa to create opportunities for growth, learning and economic stimulus through digitisation. We have a young, energetic and committed team, that are working tirelessly to make our vision a reality. Now with Africa50’s investment, we can ramp up our roll-out plans and provide value to even more communities across Kenya.”
“We are delighted to partner with Poa Internet on its mission to provide unlimited broadband internet to underserved communities,” said Raza Hasnani, Managing Director and Head of Infrastructure Investments at Africa50.
“Poa has been instrumental in bridging the needs of last-mile connectivity, and their ultra-low-cost solutions can be used to address the significant connectivity gaps in Kenya and across the continent as a whole. This is particularly important at a time when societies and economic activities are increasingly becoming digitized as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasing access to reliable and affordable internet connectivity is strongly aligned with the key pillars of Africa50’s strategy, and we are excited to be part of this high impact journey and to support Poa’s growth in Africa.”
Last-mile connectivity generally refers to the connectivity between the main network and end users. Internet connectivity can have a direct impact on the continent’s economy by increasing access to information, innovation and knowledge at a reduced cost. It provides access to education, health and other social services, as well as opportunities for job creation. Internet connectivity also allows small businesses to access international markets and enables new industries to develop.
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