Kinyungu Ventures is an early-stage venture fund based in Nairobi, Kenya and Chicago.  We journey with brave entrepreneurs trailblazing in emerging markets.

  • We don’t just write checks — we go on the journey with you. We know first hand the value of the right people, the right advice, at the right time.  We also know when to sit back and watch you do what you do.
  • We love working with brave entrepreneurs who face the extra challenge of operating in sometimes-unpredictable emerging markets while also desiring to drive a sustainable societal impact.
  • Yes, we love scalable businesses for their innately huge potential, but we are also patient to grow smart.

Kinyungu’s investment strategy is driven by four core beliefs:

  • Business is a powerful force for good (and for evil).  Let’s use this tool for massive good.
  • We are all stewards.  Each of us is given a unique combination of gifts (ask me about “the 4 Ts”) to use well and to bless others. When we can, we want to help your team maximize your Ts.
  • Team is everything. Battle-tested ideas are cheap. Battle-tested teams are priceless.
  • Early stage is risky and fun. Simultaneously risk-lovers and risk-minimizers, we love being part of the start-up phase which always involves resourcefulness and trade-offs.


profile pic square suitHi, I’m Tony Chen, Founder and Managing Director of Kinyungu Ventures.  “Kinyungu” is pronounced “Kin-YOON-goo” and is a nickname that my friend Njoki gave me in Kenya. If you figure out why, I’ll send you a pizza. Sufficed to say, it reminds me to live a life of strategic generosity and sharing ideas. I am also Chairman/Owner of FDAzilla, a SaaS company I co-founded and served as CEO for 7 years. I serve on multiple boards of portfolio companies, and my first social media company, Hospital Impact, was acquired by FierceMarkets in 2009.

I also blog here about a few areas I enjoy:

  • Entrepreneurship – I’ve started numerous businesses, but didn’t start my first until I woke up at 30.  Some ventures succeeded, others failed even better. I love the exhilarating challenge of launching something sustaining from scratch.
  • Intentional Living –  in a world obsessed with “doing,”  I want to be being — Still, Present, and Focused. I call it SPF40 – I need to apply this sunlifescreen to protect myself from being burned from cancerous distractions.  Being present helps me to see the past, present, AND future more clearly, drastically focusing my “doing” and my living.
  • Empowering Others – I’m dumbfounded by the amazing people I’ve met around the world, particularly those with woefully limited means and resources. They figure out ways to thrive, and so often all they need is some wisdom and some capital. My TEDx talk was about how best to empower the poorest of the poor. I am helplessly drawn to resourceful, hard-working, optimistic people.
  • Artificial Intelligence – specifically deep learning.  This will possibly be the most transformative development in my lifetime — by a factor of 100. As a dad, investor, entrepreneur, concerned citizen, and curious user, I want to get past the confusing overhype and get to the bottom of AI. QZ published my story on writing my first AI algo.
  • Crossing Cultures – I’m an ABC (American-born Chinese) from Chicago and have spent years living in Kenya with my family. This experience has blown the top off of what I know about people and how I define living well.

If you’re interested in any of these themes, connect with me on LinkedIn.

What do you think?