Five Years at Kenya's Tech 127.0.0.1

By Leo Mutuku
5yrTechBash
  Published 04 Mar 2015
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Five Years at Kenya's Tech 127.0.0.1

Let's talk iHub numbers!

"The iHub, at its very core, is a community of creatives and technologists bound together by a common theme: innovation… It is a paradigm shift towards the areas where technology approaches a barrier, and new technologies emerge to cross it".

iHub has flourished in the past five years, driven by a grand vision of catalysing the growth of the Kenya tech community. From an empty space in 2010, iHub is now a vibrant ecosystem of open innovation. From the get-go, iHub was set up as a nexus point for the local tech community, bringing together brilliant minds from diverse backgrounds – developers, designers, creatives, researchers, investors - with expectations that good things will happen. Below is a preview of some key statistics of iHub's growth, which we will be showcasing at the #5yrTechBash.

Connecting People

16565

As chief connectors in the Kenya tech ecosystem, we have seen our membership exponentially grow from 2000 members at the end of 2010 to more than 16,500 today. Like all other tech ecosystems worldwide, we realise that women are still under-represented, forming only 17% of our community.

Community members

501

We've enjoyed hosting a diverse set of events over the years -501 different events by the end of January 2015- that target specific community needs while ensuring that members can utilise our community space as much as possible. We have expanded our focus to include hardware entrepreneurs and kids too, nurturing the talent of our future innovators and 'iHubbers' with 97pre-teens and teenagers attending our Kids Hacker Camps. Some of our events have gained global recognition bringing together, not only Kenya based start-ups, but also from the region.

Events In furthering our mission to connect people, we have connected talent to companies. Jobs

“Our job, we found out later after we built (iHub), is really just to engineer the serendipity to make sure that people come together and good things happen... This is where the investors are, this is where the start-ups come, this is where the media come to find their stories about who’s building what, and it’s really this melting pot of all the right people and the right things around technology in the country,” Erik Hersman

Supporting Startups and Community

150

While we do not have precise metrics for analysingour engagement with our community, granted that it is a very fluid relationship, we have watched approximately 150start-ups grow out of iHub. We do not provide direct incubation but a 'sandbox' for techies, with our current pool of green members exploring viable ideas in entertainment, e-commerce, education, transport etc.

“We were looking for techies who were doers and not talkers. The techies therefore had to undergo a vetting process and fit within a certain structure...We then decided to come up with a membership structure to accommodate the physical and virtual techies of Nairobi and Kenya” - Jessica Colaco"

Start-ups

Further, we have directly supported 21 start-ups through our research, user experience and consulting services and 18 other startups through incubation at our m:lab. We have also extended support to the wider iHub community by facilitating several training programs aimed at growing the capacity of our members.

We acknowledge that we cannot do it on our own and have catalysed the development of an ecosystem within the building and without. Bishop Magua is home to 16 tech companies, including our own iHub, up from two in 2010. Nairobi, our home base, has also seen more than 15innovation hubs and labs set up shop from 3 in 2010.

Surfacing Information

46

We aim to inform decision-making by technology stakeholders and stimulate a culture of curiosity through research, experimentation and our consulting work. We have done 46 projects with as many, if not more, partners and clients, surfacing information and creating knowledge that influences or challenges technology practices. Through 1700blogposts and events such as #NRBuzz, we have brought to light local research and technology content that enriches the quality of outputs from our community.

Projects copy Click on image to enlarge

The growth of our tech community has mirrored, if not directly influenced, the growth of the technology sector, with ICT spending increasing from USD 3.9 Billion in 2010 (10.7% of the national GDP) to more than USD 9 Billion (16.6% of GDP) in 2014*, and the growth of technology consumption; mobile and internet penetration had grown to 80.5% and 57.1% of the population respectively, by end of 2014*.

Do come check out our awesome artwork showcasing these and more cool stats at the #5yrTechBash. We also look forward to the next 5 years of the tech community and writing new numbers for the books!

We are in the process of collecting data from the community around defining the tech landscape and learning more about yourneeds.

Please take a minute of your time to fill out our survey:iHub Community Survey: Defining the Tech Landscape

    *References:
  1. Communications Commision of Kenya. (2014). Quartely Sector Statistics Report.
  2. Institute of Economic Affairs. (2014). Budget Guide.
  3. International Data Corporation. (2014). White Paper.
  4. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. (2010). KNBS Third Quarter 2010 GDP Release.
  5. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. (2014). KNBS Third Quarter 2014 GDP Release.
  6. Trading Economics. (n.d.). Kenya GDP 1960-2015.
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