Pariti, a Kenya-based platform that builds digital infrastructure for startup ecosystems, has secured $2.85 million in a seed round.
The funding round was led by US-based Harlem Capital and included other investors such as Better Ventures, Diverse Angels, AVG Basecamp, Accelerated Ventures as well as General Market Partners.
Pariti co-founder and CEO, Yacob Berhane expressed his thrill to have Harlem Capital’s participation explaining that Harlem Capital’s goal of aiding underserved startup ecosystems “aligns perfectly” with Pariti’s purpose.
Pariti connects startup founders in developing markets to resources, capital, and talent. It was founded in 2019 by Yacob Berhane and Wossen Ayele.
According to Berhane, over the past year Pariti has grown by 795%, the growth he credits to the COVID-19 pandemic. He told TechCrunch, “The pandemic was a Black Swan event because we saw a major jump in activity on our platform. Remote staffing and remote investing accelerated tremendously. This was a bet we made a while back but obviously could not anticipate what was coming.”
So far, Pariti has 880 companies in 42 countries on its platform, which is an increase from the 500 companies recorded earlier this year. Pariti’s major service is called the Recommendation Engine; startup founders submit their companies to be reviewed and provided feedback from experts on the platform. Afterward, the Recommendation Engine provides custom suggestions the founders can take to improve areas their startup needs help in.
Pariti also helps venture capitalists and angel investors to find, assess and sign off deals. Some founders have managed to get into global accelerator programmes like the Y Combinator after using Pariti; one of such is Kenyan digital bank Fingo.
Berhane further articulated that, “if Pariti builds this community of founders, investors, and freelancers that have the right mindset to elevate this ecosystem, nobody has to be a gatekeeper. You’re fostering a certain mentality of ‘we will get further together.’ It’s bigger than any one of us.”