Tech firm Little eyes billions from stake sale – Business Daily
Little CEO Kamal Budhabhatti. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Technology company, Little plans to sell up to 25 percent of its holding in three years to raise capital and scale up expansion in a move that could raise over Sh2 billion from new investors.
Little chief executive and founder of Craft Silicon Kamal Budhabhatti said the funds would help raise its market share in the retail segment, and retain top tech talent while growing across the region.
This will see investors have a stake in the private firm valued at Sh9.52 billion ($80 million) to Sh11.9 billion ($100 million), according to Budhabhatti.
He did not say how much the firm plans to raise but the amount is likely to be in excess of Sh2 billion based on the company’s valuation range.
The sale will see investors join Little in which Craft Silicon holds a stake of just under 15 percent with other shareholders being some key employees.
“In three years down the line, you might see some investment both in Craft Sil-icon and Little. We might get in Little first then we take it to Craft. That means if someone wants to invest we first bring them into Little and hopefully to Craft,” Mr Budhabhatti said.
“In the first couple of years, you do not want to go with more than 20 to 25 percent.”
Mr Budhabhatti said the company would look towards investor funds available including Silicon Valley in the US, African–based funds, funds from India, China and Middle East.
“There are too many options…We just want to be careful on who we are bringing on board because we do not want to just bring somebody for the sake of money. Yes, we are looking for money, but money is not the only thing,” Budhabhatti said.
“We are looking for a partner who can really help us to scale up in the right size.” Little platform was launched in 2016 offering taxi-hailing services, developed by Craft Silicon in collaboration with Safaricom.
The telco, however, has no stake in the firm. The firm began in the ride-hailing sector as Little Cab but re-branded to Little super-app adding other services such as selling movie tickets, deliveries, and payment of utility bills including pay-TV, water and electricity cities across Kenya.
It has also been dominant in the corporate segment through services such as insurance and investment.
It has also entered into payroll management and salary advances space in a partnership that will bring in private firms and banks to provide short-term loans. Little has, however, struggled to raise market share in the retail ride-hailing segment in the price-competitive market with rival global companies – Uber and Bolt.
The funds to be raised are expected to increase this market share without cutting their prices.
Little expanded into Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia and has recently launched in West African countries – Ghana and Senegal.
The expansion follows an investment of $8 million (Sh953 million) including $5 million (Sh595 million) received from Craft Silicon and financiers to expand into Ethiopia which he said has all been paid.