Reasons Why Venture Capitalist Is Rare In Kenya

Reasons why venture capitalist is rare in Kenya

Venture capital firms are businesses that raise money from wealthy individuals, wealthy families, corporations, and retirement plans before investing it in high-risk, but potentially lucrative, rapidly expanding, tiny private companies.

Due of this, venture capital funds frequently consider risk and reward when making investments. On the one hand, because they are putting their investors money at risk, they frequently won’t be the first to investigate a company. They want to take part in activities that have the potential to pay off handsomely, possibly $10k for every $1 spent in very profitable results.

This tends to favor scalable technology product companies like software, biotech, and pharmaceutical, which scale considerably more quickly, as opposed to services organizations like consultant firms or brick and mortar stores, which expand much more slowly or not at all.

There aren’t enough affluent investors in Kenya, hence there isn’t enough equity capital, despite the fact that working in venture capital is a very responsible, respected, and rewarding experience.

Infrastructure problems also limit the rate of expansion of Kenyan small firms, which need access to raw materials and unrestricted manufacturing inputs from the market. And the absence of help from the government.


Venture capitalism, while a prominent force in many global economies, remains relatively rare in Kenya for several reasons. Below are more factors contributing to its limited presence:

  1. Limited Access to Capital: One of the primary challenges facing the venture capital (VC) ecosystem in Kenya is the limited pool of capital available for investment. Unlike more developed economies where institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals allocate significant portions of their portfolios to venture capital, Kenya lacks a comparable level of investment capital. This scarcity of funds constrains the growth of the venture capital industry and makes it challenging for startups to secure the necessary funding to scale their operations.

  2. Risk Aversion: Historically, Kenyan investors have exhibited a tendency towards risk aversion, preferring more traditional and less risky investment avenues such as real estate and government bonds. Venture capital investments, by their nature, carry higher levels of risk due to the uncertainty associated with startup ventures. This risk aversion among investors has limited the appetite for venture capital funding and hindered the growth of the ecosystem.

  3. Lack of Regulatory Framework: A conducive regulatory environment is crucial for the development of a robust venture capital industry. While efforts have been made to improve the regulatory framework for startups and small businesses in Kenya, there is still a lack of specific regulations governing venture capital investments. The absence of clear guidelines and protections for both investors and entrepreneurs can deter potential venture capitalists from entering the market.

  4. Underdeveloped Startup Ecosystem: Kenya's startup ecosystem is still in its nascent stages compared to more mature ecosystems in countries like the United States and Israel. While there has been significant growth in recent years, with the emergence of tech hubs, incubators, and accelerators, the ecosystem is still relatively underdeveloped. This lack of maturity makes it challenging for venture capitalists to identify promising investment opportunities and conduct due diligence effectively.

  5. Limited Exit Opportunities: Successful venture capital investments rely on the ability to exit investments profitably, either through acquisitions or initial public offerings (IPOs). In Kenya, the market for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and IPOs is relatively small compared to more developed economies. This limited market for exits reduces the attractiveness of venture capital investments and can deter potential investors.

  6. Entrepreneurial Talent Pool: While Kenya is home to a growing number of entrepreneurs and innovators, there is still a shortage of experienced founders with successful track records. Venture capitalists often look for teams with proven entrepreneurial expertise and a track record of building successful businesses. The limited pool of such talent in Kenya can make it challenging for venture capitalists to identify investment opportunities with high growth potential.

  7. Infrastructure and Connectivity Challenges: Despite significant improvements in recent years, Kenya still faces infrastructure and connectivity challenges that can impede the growth of startups and hinder the success of venture capital investments. Issues such as unreliable electricity supply, inadequate internet connectivity, and poor transportation infrastructure can increase operating costs for startups and limit their scalability, making them less attractive to venture capitalists.

  8. Political and Economic Instability: Political and economic instability can create uncertainty and deter investment in emerging markets like Kenya. While Kenya has made progress in terms of political stability and economic growth, there are still concerns about issues such as corruption, regulatory unpredictability, and currency fluctuations. These factors can undermine investor confidence and discourage venture capitalists from committing capital to the region.

  9. Cultural Factors: Cultural attitudes towards entrepreneurship and risk-taking can also influence the availability of venture capital in Kenya. In some cultures, there may be a stigma associated with failure, which can discourage individuals from pursuing entrepreneurial ventures. Additionally, the lack of a strong culture of mentorship and networking can limit the growth of the startup ecosystem and hinder the success of venture capital investments.

In conclusion, while Kenya holds significant potential for venture capital investment given its young and vibrant population, thriving entrepreneurial spirit, and growing economy, several challenges must be addressed to unlock this potential fully. By addressing issues such as limited access to capital, regulatory hurdles, and infrastructure challenges, Kenya can create a more conducive environment for venture capital investment and foster the growth of its startup ecosystem.

6 comments

  1. Big banks in Kenya aren’t interested in taking startups public anymore, a clear signal that the capital markets are broken and instead of seeing a crystal clear opportunity for reinvention, venture capitalists see an immovable barrier.

  2. Because Kenya is corrupt and thieves who would make the investment fail even before they begin. Because your economy is falling.

  3. When we think of digital goods nowadays they’re also public goods. But how do we capture value from them? It’s a tough problem in African countries. Most venture funds haven’t even tried most of the emerging solutions like turning goods into services.

  4. The industries and markets of the 21st century cannot be powered by yesterday’s sources of advantage. Brands are losing relevance, cost advantage is often an illusion, differentiation is too often simply skin deep, and market dominance stifles innovation and creativity. Yet, tomorrow’s sources of advantage remain largely unexplored because venture investors have been systematically underinvesting in discovering them.

  5. Lack of visibility regarding portfolio performance is the biggest problem in kenya faced by venture capital firms. But it will change as many software’s are attempting to tackle the problem of portfolio reporting, however, it’s still not yet an air tight process.

  6. The size of market opportunities is small. Before putting money into an opportunity, venture capitalists spend a lot of time vetting them and looking for key ingredients to success.

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