African tech start-ups secure R9m in funding

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 12 Nov 2018
The top 10 African innovators were selected in July to participate in the 13-week accelerator programme.
The top 10 African innovators were selected in July to participate in the 13-week accelerator programme.

Startupbootcamp (SBC) AfriTech has concluded a 13-week accelerator programme, with 10 African start-ups collectively raising EUR600 000 (R9 million) in funding and securing 20 proof-of-concept (POC) and commercial agreements.

SBC AfriTech is anchored and endorsed by heavyweight corporate sponsors, including RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Old Mutual, Nedbank and PwC. It aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Africa, by providing start-up owners with entrepreneurship skills and development support.

In July, Startupbootcamp announced the Top 10 African Innovators selected to participate in the accelerator programme for 2018.

Six of the start-ups are South African, including: Akiba Digital (a financial savings platform), Brandbook Analytics (a data analytics mobile application), L"ula (a mobility-as-a-service platform for the transport industry), and Prospa, (a micro-savings platform for low-income earners).

The programme culminated with the annual Startupbootcamp AfriTech Demo Day conference in Cape Town last week, where the 10 start-ups showcased to over 200 investors and corporate leaders, securing 20 pilot agreements and generating R9 million in funding.

"This year, we validated that our accelerator can help corporates scale internal innovation capabilities and turn those into spin-out companies, like the start-up Sizanani that participated in our accelerator programme," says Philip Kiracofe, CEO and co-founder of SBC AfriTech.

Key announcements made to celebrate the culmination of the programme included multiple pilot agreements signed with the corporate sponsors.

These include Ivory Coast-based insurtech start-up Digitech announcing its partnership with Sanlam-owned company, SAHAM, an insurance company based in West and Central Africa. L"ula announced partnerships with several large corporate offices in Cape Town. Akiba and Brandbook announced POC deals with RCS.

SBC AfriTech also announced its collaboration with equity crowd-funding platform, Uprise Africa.

"Our Demo Day is about showcasing our incredible start-ups from this year's cohort, and linking them to potential investors. As part of the focus of supporting start-ups, we are excited to announce our partnership with Uprise, the first equity crowd-funding platform in SA to link great start-ups to alternative funding solutions," said Zachariah George, co-founder and CIO of SBC AfriTech.

"The difference between being successful and being significant could not have been amplified more than in the founders of this year's cohort. And we are so optimistic that that trend will continue to grow next year. This year's start-ups proved how important it is to not just be successful, but to be significant, to build solutions above and beyond yourself and your community; build a legacy."

The top 10 African innovators:

Brandbook, a decentralised rewards programme that allows users to earn points by uploading any purchase receipt from any shop.

Prospa, a micro-savings solution for low-income earning South Africans, allowing users to purchase savings vouchers at traders that entitle the user to a set amount of savings which are deposited into a mobi-savings account.

Akiba, a solution making it easier and more rewarding for the 6.7 million accessible tech-savvy millennials in SA to set, manage and meet their personal financial goals.

L"ula, a mobility-as-a-service platform that connects stakeholders to improve mobility by providing transport that is convenient, accessible and safe, and enabling operators, cities and passengers to have easy access and understanding of transport.

Pago, a mobile network operator-driven online payments processor that enables any unbanked smartphone user to make payments online using airtime. It has integrated with MasterCard's Masterpass API that enables users to pay online 250 000+ merchants in Africa and 20 million merchants worldwide.

Sizanani, a South African based Stokvel solution for bulk buying.

Mpost, a Kenyan-patented technology that enables any mobile phone user to transform their phone into a unique mobile postal address and mobile postal box.

Kudimoney Bank, Nigeria: A no-charge, full-service, online-only bank making banking services more affordable and accessible by offering an interest-earning spending account with zero charges, a savings account with above-average interest rates and access to low interest instant loans.

Digitech Group, Ivory Coast: Provides incumbent insurance companies an omni-channel and cloud-based digital platform to sell insurance products through mobile and web.

Inclusive Financial Technologies, Ghana: Provides fintech firms with APIs that help them reach the most remote customers across Africa by enabling them to onboard, verify and monitor them via digital channels.