Kenyan startup OkHi has raised US$750,000 in funding from a group of local and international investors, including Garage Capital, a seed and early-stage venture capital fund based in Silicon Valley, and former Google CFO Patrick Pichette.
Founded in Nairobi in April 2014, the startup’s mission is physically connect the world using a location-based addressing app which allows users to geotag their locations. Users can create a virtual address, complete with a GPS tag and photo of the location that they can share using a link.
OkHi has previously raised US$325,000 from angel investors early in 2015, and it also received a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program. The company believes that this new round of funding will help it further its mission to give an address to the four billion people worldwide who do not have one.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the investors who we have on board, not only do they help validate the opportunity ahead of us, but more importantly they bring a huge amount of experience to the business that will be critical to our success,” said OkHi co-founder and CEO Timbo Drayson.
“Without a physical address that works, many people do not have access to fundamental services like deliveries, a bank account or emergency services”, Drayson added. We want to give a physical address to the four billion people in the world without one, so that they can become included in the world and gain access to life-changing services.”
Due to the lack of proper address systems, some companies find it hard to connect with their customers. To overcome this challenge, OkHi is working with a number of e-commerce businesses to address this problem. Following a successful pilot earlier in the year, OkHi partnered with Jumia Kenya to improve the customer delivery experience and logistical efficiency of their deliveries for Black Friday.
According to co-founder Wes Chege, OkHi has already mapped more than 100,000 locations in Nairobi, and it believes that its reach will grow over time and find wider applications, as location-based services take root in Kenya.
“Think of all the different types of delivery services that would improve with a working address system, from reducing the response time for ambulance services to improving deliveries for couriers,” he said.