iHub is a coworking space and business incubator in Nairobi that was started in March, 2010 by Erik Hersman a renowned blogger. Situated on the 4th floor of the Bishop Magua Centre on Ngong Road, the iHub provides a space where young entrepreneurial members can receive mentorship, internet connectivity and the possibility of venture funding through connections with the international venture capital community. The iHub has been called the “unofficial headquarters of Kenya’s tech movement”.
The space is a tech community facility with a focus on young entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers, designers and researchers. It is part open community workspace (co-working), part vector for investors and part incubator (testing) for mobile applications before they are officially launched into the market.
A foreigner who frequents the iHub describes it as a nerve center for technology; a place where we can grab coffee, create apps, find funders and build businesses. It’s where the community of web and mobile programmers connect with each other, businesses, the government and academia.
Funding for the iHub comes from the Omidyar Network and Hivos. The lease is covered by Ushahidi and the 20Mb internet connectivity is covered by Zuku.
iHub operates on a four levels membership. These are:
These are people who wish to be part of the *iHub community virtually as they cannot be physically present. They are part of iHub’s online community and members within the iHub will be able to interact with them on their Membership Site. This level of membership is free. White members can apply for green membership.
Green members meet basic pre-requisites as well as provide additional information on the current projects they are undertaking. This membership level allows one to use the iHub space, hold meetings and work on their projects there as well as have free internet access within the iHub space.
Red members have a semi-permanent desk, a locker and priority on the meeting room space. There are 10 spaces available at any one time, and these Red Card seats go for about USD 100 per month.
Black Members are iHub & Ushahidi internal staff, who have unrestricted access to the space.
iHub together with 3 other companies have recently launched Africa’s first mobile apps lab called m:Lab. The facility is aimed at encouraging innovation in the East African country and is supported by the World Bank, Nokia and the Government of Finland.