US company acquires African startup Saya

Robert-LampteyOne of the smartest people I’ve met as I’ve built up my African network over the past two years is the charismatic and smart Robert Lamptey.

As CEO and founder of Ghana-based mobile messaging company Saya Mobile, Robert has been an inspiration for many Ghanaians, and Africans for that matter. He is a better coder than anybody who has attempted MIT’s coding challenges and he has built up an excellent company in the last three years.

So it is of great pleasure to announce (somewhat belatedly, been on holiday), Saya’s acquisition by New Jersey company Kirusa, which has acquired the technology, IP and workforce of Saya that will now be working on Kirusa’s mobile applications. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2011, Saya has received wide exposure for its real-time Street Chat messaging application. Based on scalable backend architecture, Saya’s platform includes social network integration, location-based and group chat across multiple mobile platforms including J2ME, Android and iOS.

“In launching Saya, we wanted to create a world class product but that was made by Africans, for Africans. Joining forces with Kirusa is a natural and exciting next step for our team. We remain focused on our goal of placing this technology into the hands of and empowering millions of mobile subscribers,” said Lamptey.

The deal was aided by one of Saya’s original investors, the Meltwater Foundation; Lamptey himself is an alumnus of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a program that provides training, investment and mentoring for aspiring technology entrepreneurs in Africa.

“It was a true pleasure working with Kirusa on the acquisition. Having known the company’s management for years and supported Saya since its launch, MEST couldn’t be more supportive of Saya becoming a part of such a company”, says Neal Hansch, said Managing Director of the MEST Incubator program in West Africa.

On a personal level, I’m looking forward to having a celebratory beer with Robert in Johannesburg next month (and trying to find how much he got for the company), when we will both be attending Mobile Web Africa, the best networking trade event across the whole continent.

Monty (623 Posts)

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.