Google this week hosted its first Google Startup Week in Lagos, which saw its Launchpad Accelerator Africa graduates pitch for funding from some of Africa and the UK’s top venture capitalists (VCs).
The event, which also served as the graduation ceremony for the fourth class of the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme, featured select alumni from the first three classes, fresh out of a three-month Google for Startups UK Africa Immersion Programme in London.
In collaboration with Launchpad Accelerator Africa, the program aims to connect high potential early stage startups with the dedicated support of Google for Startups UK to help them take their startup to the next level.
“Every year, Africa’s economic growth continues to strengthen. Google for Startups has put its weight behind supporting the continent’s startups as they continue to build great products tackling key global social issues. This is an incredibly exciting space which is very relevant to UK ecosystem and investors,” says Marta Krupinska, head of Google for Startups UK.
Krupinska speaks on her experience in Nigeria, praises Nigerian entrepreneurs.
"The opportunities in #Africa is very huge, so for us in the UK to be successful in the future, we need to find a way to collaborate with the best of African talent."- Marta Krupińska(@mmeentrepreneur), head of Google for Startups UK#LaunchpadforAfrica @googleafrica @GoogleUK pic.twitter.com/ihfAWh2dRF
— Ibrahim Mansur (@MansurIB007) November 28, 2019
Having completed their London immersion, Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 1, 2 and 3 alumni met with investors from the UK and Africa during Google Startup Week in Lagos to pitch for funding to take their businesses further.
Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 4 graduated this week, as part of the Google Startup Week activities. Class 4 comprises 12 startups from six countries, addressing six different sectors.
Google Startup Week also saw participants from all 4 classes get a chance to meet, engage with each other, and share their experiences for the first time.
Class 4’s startups have collectively raised $4.3 million, created over 300 jobs and signed up over 110000 users. They had collectively raised in excess of $600000 before the programme, and have been able to use Launchpad Accelerator Africa to scale their businesses to new levels.
“We believe Africans can solve Africa’s problems,” said Fola Olatunji-David, the programme’s head of startup success and services.
“In running Launchpad Accelerator Africa we specifically look to work with startups with that share this vision. Launchpad Class 4 is tackling some of Africa’s most pressing challenges, including access to financial services, education, and agriculture.”
Since Launchpad Accelerator Africa was first announced in late 2017, the programme has worked with 47 startups on their growth journey. These companies have also raised millions of dollars in investments, and created hundreds of jobs across the continent.
All the selected startups receive working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa. Participants also receive travel and PR support during each three-month programme.
The Class 4 startups graduating at Google Startup Week Lagos, in alphabetical order, are:
Afara Partners (Nigeria): Afara Partners offers platforms that provide services to the financially underserved and excluded.
BrandBook (South Africa): BrandBook is a mobile app that incentivises users to take a picture of their receipts, allowing it to harvest consumer purchase behaviour across all channels.
Elewa (Kenya): Elewa is a toolkit for establishing scalable high-quality training programs within existing education- or professional institutions.
Eversend (Uganda): Eversend is a multi-currency e-wallet that allows you to exchange, spend and send money at the best possible rates. It also includes insurance, virtual debit cards, and bill payments.
OZÉ (Ghana): OZÉ brings African small businesses into the digital era, equipping their owners to make data-driven decisions to improve their performance and access capital.
Phenomenal Technologies (Zimbabwe): Phenomenal Technologies offers low-cost field excursions for learners through virtual reality.
REACH (Nigeria): REACH recognises, categorises and interprets transaction data from SMS and other sources, making this data available as individual financial and market insights.
Sortd (South Africa): Sortd aims to re-invent email with the world’s first All-in-One productivity suite for Gmail and GSuite.
TradeBuza (Nigeria): The TradeBuza is a cloud-based web and mobile application, which digitises contract farming and trade.
Speaking with TheCable, Nonso Eze, co-founder of TradeBuza, said their applications helps agribusinesses to digitise their operations.
“Typically, there are over 1,000 of such agribusinesses in Nigeria and a lots more in sub-Saharan Africa. They manage over 12million smallholder farmers in contract farming arrangements.
“Historically, all the activities and field operations have been very manual and paper based and what this has meant is that it has been a bit difficult to keep a check on things such as fraud, ability to pro actively resolve issues, as well as ability to predict. This has meant some 20% loss in their trade turnover annually. With our platform, they are now able to do away with manual and paper based processes and leverage on our digital solution,” he said.
Before now, the field staff used sheets of paper or logbooks to track the activities of small holder farmers. Now they have our mobile app to capture these activities. And the key decision makers in the agribusinesses are now able to pinpoint and resolve issues, which makes them reduce losses.
It is also important to note that smallholder farmers in this contract arrangement, typically make twice or three times more yield as compared to other smallholder farmers who are not part of this engagement. This is because these agribusinesses have optimised for the best quality and output. At the end of the day, the smallholder income is the best type of outcome that we want for these smallholder farmers to achieve in the agribusinesses, which is why we thought it best to help these agribusinesses solve their problem better.
Tulaa (Kenya): Tulaa is an online-to-offline marketplace for smallholder farmers in Africa.
XEND (Nigeria) : XEND allows users to make and receive payments, offline or online.
WorkPay (Kenya): WorkPay is a cloud-based employee management and payment solution using the power of mobile and biometrics.
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