KENYA – Enda, the first high-performance running footwear brand made in Africa, has raised a seed funding round to support its production, distribution, and marketing to become a global leader in the sportswear industry.

According to Techmoran, the funding round was led by Umoja Rubber Products and Mizizi Capital, both Kenyan companies.

 “After years working with Kenyan athletes to design game-changing running shoes, we’re thrilled to now give more runners around the world a chance to run in them,” said Enda CEO Navalayo Osembo.

“We know our shoes are excellent. We know they’re the most socially conscious running shoes available. Now we have the capital to get out and let the world know it.”

Enda’s first model, the Iten, is a lightweight trainer and has been sold to runners in more than 40 countries and received rave reviews.

Among other accolades, the Iten was rated one of ‘The Best Running Shoes in the World’ by Gear Patrol in 2017, the year it was first available.

The Enda Iten is named after the small town in Kenya’s Rift Valley, which is famous for being the capital of long-distance running.

The second model, the Lapatet, was launched via a crowdfunding campaign in 2019 and will be available in early 2020.

The Lapatet is a daily trainer designed to take you through most of your weekly mileage with comfort and style and has already received glowing reviews from professional reviewers at Road Trail Run.

The name Lapatet is Kalenjin for run.

“As one of Africa’s largest footwear manufacturers, we are excited to be making this investment in what we believe to be the most innovative and ambitious Kenyan start-up,” said Umoja’s Chief Business Officer, Jinal Shah.

Marvin Kiragu, Managing Partner of Mizizi Capital added: “We are thrilled to partner with Enda to continue building a world-class footwear and athleisure brand based in Kenya.”

“This transaction supports our core strategy of backing promising and ambitious early-stage enterprises with capital, operational support, and strategic alliances.”

 “As a company focused on social impact, we wanted this seed round of investment to be Kenyan-led,” said Osembo.

“It took extra effort, but we think it’s worth it to make sure our investors are aligned with the long term vision of not just making great shoes, but driving development in Kenya.”

Enda was founded with a mission to bring Kenyan athletic excellence to runners everywhere and convert that global reputation and excellence into an institution.

Enda hopes to close this gap by inspiring other athletes to connect to the country’s rich running heritage and selling shoes and apparel that help everyone around the world run Kenyan.