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The Timbu fund will provide entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to grow startups. [ Photo / Business Today ]

Mauritian travel site Timbu.com has announced plans to invest $5,000 (Ksh5 million) in 20 travel startups in each East African country.

The travel agency, focused on African destinations, is established in Nigeria and other West African countries and now aims to grow its presence in East Africa by investing in travel startups.

According to Timbu, the funding will be exclusive to innovative startups solving real issues in the hospitality niche, with most of the focus being on startups around the curated travel, one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel industry.

However, there are plans to expand into other niches in due course, it said in a statement.

Making the announcement, the company’s media representative said the need to begin investing in early-stage startups in East Africa was borne out of the need to grow the existing tech ecosystem in these countries and provide entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to grow these countries’ startup scene.

She further noted that Timbu looks to provide more than just the seed funding. “Our intentions are to also guide the startups with getting their initial customers, gain traction, as well as provide them with the best talents so as to assist the selected startups to gain Series A and B funding,” she said.

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Timbu had indicated early last year that plans to provide mentorship and coaching to startups first in Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda, and provide an enabling environment for entrepreneurs in these countries to share their experiences are in the pipeline.

With the plan finally in motion, it is projected to encourage other angel investors like Timbu to also put more money into East African startups, thus accelerating the growth of local businesses.

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The fund is an angel fund and Timbu will seek equity shares in the businesses that are accepted into the program.

Interested startups are required to submit a document containing the following information:

  • Company name
  • Company website, if any
  • Name and email of the founder(s)
  • Role of each founder
  • What your company is making and the problem it aims to solve in Kenya
  • Who your competitors are and what gives your company edge over them
  • How your company intends to make money

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