Safaricom’s $1 million Spark Venture Fund has announced its second investment in mSurvey. Founded in 2012, mSurvey is the only global mobile-first research platform leveraging SMS and mobile messaging technology to simplify access to credible, on-demand data from the emerging world.
Launched in 2012 by Kenfield Griffith, an MIT PhD alum and Caribbean Native, mSurvey was built out of a passion to simplify access to high-quality data from hard-to-reach communities. Pulling together a team of fellow MIT alums, interns and home-grown Kenyan talent, Griffith and mSurvey Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Louis Majanja launched the company in the heart of Nairobi, their first target market. Today, mSurvey serves more than 5 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean including Kenya, the Philippines, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti, with plans for continued rollout across the globe.
“The Safaricom Spark Venture Fund was set up to assist upcoming entrepreneurs with the resources and connections they need to grow their businesses. mSurvey is well positioned to meet the growing need for timely, informed insights for firms operating in a middle income economy. Today’s investment will benefit mSurvey with the requisite resources as the startup embarks on its next phase of growth and delivery of innovative solutions to more firms,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.
mSurvey is creating brand new opportunities by connecting businesses and organizations to previously hidden and offline voices. Unlike traditional research tools that can be time-consuming, expensive and subject to low response rates, mSurvey opens a dynamic, interactive and unfiltered communication channel that delivers insights from real people, in real time. This eliminates the need for printed questionnaires, local administrators or long response times that are currently the norm.
mSurvey uses an intuitive interface to target select local audiences or random, diverse populations. Users design structured conversations, similar to customized bots, and push questions as chats to millions of mobile phone users. Responses roll in on a live data stream, usually within minutes, and with an average 60 percent response rate that triples the reach of traditional survey tools.
“Safaricom’s investment in mSurvey is a testament to the impact that we have had on our customers in the last four years and we are grateful to be Safaricom Spark Venture Fund’s largest investment to date,” said Kenfield Griffith, CEO, mSurvey. “With the increased adoption of mobile messaging as the communication lifeline for consumers across Kenya and other emerging markets, we are excited about the opportunity for growth and plan to use this investment to empower thousands of businesses in Kenya, especially small and medium enterprises, with intelligent data-driven decision making tools.”
Some of mSurvey’s clients include Safaricom and other mobile operators in East and West Africa, banks and financial institutions, and restaurants and research organizations. mSurvey has partnered with Safaricom to provide insight generation tools to businesses that use Lipa Na M-PESA.
Set up in 2014, the $1 million Safaricom Spark Venture Fund invests in start-ups by purchasing minority equity stakes or providing convertible debt, allowing young businesses to access the finances needed to grow their businesses. The fund has previously invested in Sendy, a fast growing provider of on demand, door to door delivery and transportation services.