6 Employees From Kenyan Fintech Firm Cellulant Died Trying To Help Others In Nairobi Terror Attack

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

The Nairobi terror attack which took the lives of 21 people hit Kenyan fintech firm Cellulant hard.

The attack on a hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital on Jan. 15 killed six employees at the mobile payment solutions company as they attempted to help others hurt in the attack, according to Quartz.

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The employees include head of product development Ashford Kuria, quality assurance tester John Ndirituthe, engineers Wilfred Kareithi, Kelvin Gitonga and Jeremiah Mbaria, and head of information security, Denis Mwaniki.

Armed terrorists entered the dusitD2 hotel and office complex in Nairobi, shooting and killing 21 people in a terrorist attack claimed by Somali Islamists al Shabaab, according to TheStandard.

Nairobi terror attack claims a U.S. victim

The assault began with an explosion in the parking lot and a suicide bomb blast in the hotel’s foyer, and was ended once over 700 civilians were safely evacuated from the complex and the four armed men were killed by security forces.

An American, a British citizen and 16 Kenyans were among the dead. The American was Jason Spindler, the director of a business development firm in Nairobi. He had previously survived the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York, according to TheGuardian.

Nairobi Terror Attack
People lay flowers in honor of the dead outside the dusitD2 hotel complex following the Nairobi terror attack. Image – AP – Ben Curtis

Cellulant said its employees lost their lives in a heroic and selfless act of trying to help others during the attack, CapitalFM reported.

A memorial service was held in honor of the six men on Jan. 22, and the company took to Twitter to celebrate the lives of its employees and the sacrifice they made helping others around them.

Cellulant, based in the complex that was attacked, has been one of the most promising fintech companies in Africa in recent years.

The company raised $47.5 million in its Series C round in May last year, making it the second largest funding deal of the year for an African tech firm, according to Quartz.

The funding round was led by The Rise Fund, an impact investment fund run by U.S.-based private equity group, TPG Growth. Endeavor Catalyst, Satya Capital, Velocity Capital and Progression Africa also participated.

The Kenyan firm has operations in 11 countries. In addition to mobile payments, remittance and digital banking services, it manages secure payment platform Mula, a blockchain-based payment system for agricultural services called Agrikore, and the card and bank payment service Tingg, according to Vanguard.