The last site visit for Investors Circle in Nairobi was SunCulture, seller of solar-powered pumps and drop-irrigation systems for small farms across Kenya.
Speaking of culture, one learning on this trip about East Africa was the blended nature of the populace. Not only are there dozens of tribes within Kenya alone, but added to that are the 100+ year old history of Europeans and Indians living in the region. SunCulture founder, Samir Ibrahim, is a self-described third-generation Indian East African.
Samir impressed us all with his understanding of his market. SunCulture has clearly done its homework, listening to its customers to understand the problems of farmers, then delivering solutions that exceed those customer’s expectations. Half of that comes from adopting technology solutions for drip-irrigation heretofore unseen in Africa with an aim at lowering the cost of both the products and distribution. The other half is in devising a very simple pricing model, so that farmers pay a flat fee per acre of irrigation, shipped and installed anywhere in Kenya.
Also impressive was the Lean Startup story, with the company bootstrapped for its first two years, where experiments resulted in the above solutions. SunCulture recently closed its first outside round of capital, leaving the Investors Circle with another early success story to track for future rounds.