Enda, Africa’s first company to make professional running shoes, has secured $1 million in series A funding to expand its product lines and distribution.
The funding round will also allow the high-performance shoe firm to partner with East African Breweries Limited (EABL) to create a locally-sourced running-inspired sneaker called Mwanzo.
A statement on PR Newswire said the funding included several Kenyan angel investors and was led by Talanton, a U.S.-based impact investment fund focused on businesses in developing countries.
“We are thrilled about this investment,” said Iris Wen, a partner at Talanton. “Enda is perfectly aligned with our mission of investing in companies that create high-quality jobs, especially in places where these jobs have the most impact by creating opportunity and reducing poverty. That they’re able to do this while satisfying customers around the world means they’re poised for growth and making a real difference in the world,” Wen added.
“We’ve been working hard to fulfill orders as thousands of people around the world are discovering our shoes. It is an exciting time for our company,” said Enda co-founder and CEO Navalayo Osembo. “This is our moment to invest in further growth and help even more people Run Kenyan in 2022.”
Enda was co-founded by Osembo, a lawyer and accountant. She had her dream job working for United Nations but she decided to leave all that behind to start Africa’s first high-performance athletic shoe manufacturing company in her home country Kenya.
Osembo followed her passion and upped her life to start Enda with her co-founder Weldon Kennedy, a social activist and running shoe nerd. The pair met in 2015 over discussions on how Kenyans can benefit from their running culture.
Kenya is known worldwide to produce some of the best runners on the continent. Like machines are to Germany, Nava wants Kenyans to also monetize what they are good at — running — and what better way to do that than to create running shoes for athletes, designed with Kenyan athletes, while creating jobs and giving back to the community.
Enda means “Go!” in Swahili, a language spoken in Kenya and other East African countries. The company was officially registered in 2017 in Kenya.
The company prides itself in being the only running shoe manufacturer on the continent and it currently has about 90% of its consumers in the United States, 8% in Europe and the rest in Kenya.
Enda uses Kenyans to manufacture the shoes and tries to source most of its parts locally. However, the local supply chain is not conducive and the company hopes it changes over time. Currently, Enda sources about 80% of its materials in Kenya and the rest from China.