A New Way Forward for Venture in Africa
Venture in Africa is often misaligned as a cut-and-paste strategy from traditional venture capital models. That changes now.
Kinyungu Ventures catalyzes resilient businesses for local intergenerational prosperity, focusing on the fin+tech verticals. Based in Nairobi and Chicago, Kinyungu Ventures strives to do three things well.
- Context: Provide wisdom in crucial moments
- Connects: Leverage trusted relationships
- Capital: Invest in great businesses
We are crazy enough to invest in unconventional and early ventures Friends and family can only get you so far, while VCs and banks see you as too risky. This infamous “missing middle” of investing $50-500k is our sweet spot.
Unicorns are cool, but we love zebras and camels Many great small businesses don’t fit the typical VC or bank profile, but have tremendous unfulfilled potential and are the engine of East Africa’s economy.
We don’t just write checks, we go on the journey with you We’ve been in your shoes. So, we know first hand the value of the right people, the right advice, at the right time. We also love investing across multiple stages.
Core Both-And Beliefs
Trust and Truth The best ideas are not within us, but between us. The most important problems are solved by battle-tested teams. So, we build trust and relationships slowly, and we resolve conflict and tell the truth quickly.
Service and Leadership The greatest leaders are servants, equipping everyone around them to surpass them. We serve and lead our partners, entrepreneurs, investors, and communities best through listening, coaching, and being coachable.
Purpose-Driven and Profit-Savvy Shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves, we are motivated by solving problems and serving others, while also being wise in business realities. We live in the tension of many both/ands.
Pivoting and Persevering The best entrepreneurs learn quickly from the market, adapt accordingly, and pivot courageously. They also know when to keep persevering.
Founder — Tony Chen
Living three years in Kenya with his family, Tony Chen was given the nickname “Kinyungu” by a Kenyan mama. Now the namesake of the company, Kinyungu is a reminder to generously live out the core beliefs above. He is often seen meeting entrepreneurs one-on-one at Ankole Grille and has invested in ten ventures based in Nairobi.
He is Co-Founder of Govzilla, a SaaS company he led as CEO for 8 years. Tony is also on the Investment Committee for Triphammer Ventures. His first company, Hospital Impact, was acquired in 2009. Prior to his start-up days, Tony worked 10 years in various corporate, innovation, and business development roles. Tony earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.