Finnish investor buys Sh186m stake in Kenyan jobs site Fuzu

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Kenyan-based online jobs search website Fuzu has raised Sh186 million (€1.75 million) funding from a Finnish investor for expansion in the region.

The backing from Finnfund, Barona and Polkuni was in exchange for an undisclosed stake in the company and is expected to finance growth of the job portal’s operations in Kenya as well as across Africa and other emerging markets including Asia.

“Our investors decided they wanted a stake in the Fuzu story, to play their part with us in being a solution to the unemployment challenge,” said the Fuzu East Africa president for business development Robert Kimani.

Finnfund’s contribution in the first phase will be €500,000, with possibility for extending it to €1.5 million. Barona will invest €150,000 and Polkuni €100,000 during this round.

Barona Technologies Oy is a Finnish company that offers solutions aimed at improving matching of job hunters with employers while Polkuni Oy is a Helsinki and Hong Kong based brand mentoring best teams and co-developing products with hands-on investment.

“Fuzu has a community of more than 180,000 users in Kenya and hundreds of companies that use the platform for finding talent. The potential for growth is significant as there will be more than 120 million people entering the job market between 2010 and 2020 alone, making Africa the largest job market globally by 2040,” said Finnfund in a statement.

The Finnish–Kenyan platform Fuzu has been in operation since September last year, receiving more than 160,000 applications in 2016 with users spending nine minutes on average on the job portal.

 For job seekers, the platform provides career counselling, learning solutions and information about open positions and industry updates, providing support and guidance at different stages of users’ careers.

“Over the past three years we have operated in Kenya running the pilot phase and working with employers to understand what their requirements and specific needs were.

“Since our launch in September of 2015, we now have operations running across East Africa, with fully fledged operations in Kenya. We have in the past run pilot programmes in some Southern parts of Africa, through partnerships with Techno Brain,” said Mr Kimani.

According to Jussi Hinkkanen, CEO of Fuzu, the portal also has a social impact mission of seeking to tackle the problem of youth unemployment.

“Large part of our users have never received any type of career guidance or participated at professional education.

“Our vision is to provide hope to millions of users with a digital service that continuously encourages them to fulfil their potential and prepares for alternative career paths, from formal employment to entrepreneurship and self-employment,” he said.

The company has long term partnerships with Kenyan and African companies seeking to hire online.

The Rockefeller Foundation and a Finnish public funding institution advanced grants for the initial start-up of the company whose shareholding stood at 10 as at last year.

Job seekers upload CVs and cover letters on the site and companies advertise jobs on the portal.

To access premium services, which include analysis of competitor ranking of job seekers for similar position matches.

By seeing this, job applicants can learn their weaknesses and polish their CVs further to improve their rankings.

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