Kenya’s MoDe Named IBM Global Entrepreneur Of The Year

ARMONK, N.Y. - 11 Feb 2013: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that MoDe was named the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, MoDe provides instant nano-credit for pre-paid mobile phone users across the African continent.

Nearly 80 percent of mobile phone users in growth markets do not have access to traditional banking loans and credit. MoDe’s innovative payment services ensure that people have access to mobile airtime when needed, while helping telecommunications companies increase efficiency and build brand loyalty.

“Being named the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year is a tremendous honor and will accelerate our ability to create new markets,” said Julian Kyula, CEO and co-founder, MoDe. “The access to clients and potential investors that we have had through the SmartCamp program would have taken our company 10 years to achieve on our own, with IBM it took less than six months.”

IBM SmartCamps connect startups with seasoned and successful venture capitalists, investors, and innovative business leaders, giving them the tools and insight needed to excel in their often nascent markets. Past participants have partnered with IBM to deliver new solutions to clients and have expanded into new markets. In addition, past participants have gone on to generate more than $90 million in investments from the venture community. Learn more about previous SmartCamp participants in this video series:

“Every day we are working with startups around the world to grow markets in big data, cloud and mobile computing,” said Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM’s Entrepreneur Programs.  “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with MoDe as we bring new mobile solutions to our clients around the world.”

After qualifying in one of the more than 20 local SmartCamp events around the world, eight finalists from seven countries were selected for the Global Finals event. The finalists pitched their businesses to an audience of venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, academics and leaders in business and technology. After two days of mentoring and networking, a panel of judges selected MoDe on the strength of its product innovation, growing client base and alignment with IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative.

IBM’s SmartCamps are a significant component of the company’s Global Entrepreneur Program, which offers a variety of ways for entrepreneurs to grow their business, get access to leading experts and technology, and ultimately market their products faster. The program operates with the goal of uncovering, fully developing, and commercializing innovations which create new business opportunities in industries and regions around the globe.

View program highlights, interviews and presentations from the venture capitalists and entrepreneurs on LiveStream: .

To learn more about the Smart Camp finals and the other startups from around the globe that participated in the event, visit the IBM SmartCamp blog: or join the conversation on Twitter with #IBMSmartCamp.

More information about IBM SmartCamp Global Finals is available at

For more information about the IBM Global Entrepreneur initiative, visit

Note to Editors: Photos of the event and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's presentation are available via the Associated Press Photo Network and on Feature Photo Service at

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg greets Josphat Kinyua of MoDe, a startup from Kenya named IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year and winner of the IBM SmartCamp Global finals competition, February 7, 2013 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. (Credit: IBM)

The CEO's of eight startups participating in IBM SmartCamps join New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on stage at the event along with Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM entrepreneur programs and Claudia Fan Munce, vice president of IBM Corporate Strategy. The startups are bringing new solutions to markets such as cloud computing, business analytics, big data and mobile computing.(Credit: IBM) Contact Erica Topolski - 1-617-693-2816

Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM entrepreneur programs and Claudia Fan Munce, vice president of IBM Corporate Strategy, listen to entrepreneurs from around the globe pitch their business at IBM SmartCamp global finals. (Credit: IBM)

At IBM SmartCamp global finals New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg addresses more than 200 venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs and leaders in business and technology who attended the event. (Credit: IBM)

IBM SmartCamp participants and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg discuss technology, innovation at IBM SmartCamp global finals. (Credit: IBM)

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