Success means different things to different people. However, for most people, the journey to success is seldom easy. It is filled with all types of physical, mental and emotional obstacles. To become successful, you have to be prepared for these obstacles. Your faith, persistence, desire and will power will get you through. See you at the top!
DEMO Africa will launch 30 of the most innovative start-ups in Africa and highlight some of the best new technology innovations from across the continent. The 30 finalists have gone through two rigorous screening processes with the final vetting and adjudication done by a pan-African panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs, VCs and academia.
The 30 start-ups have been selected from over 600 applicants with four earning direct nominations during DEMO Africa pre-pitch events. The ventures are addressing opportunities in Agriculture, Health, Education, Manufacturing, Retail, Media & Entertainment, Communication, Transport and Logistics, Energy, Finance & Banking, Water & Sanitation, and Waste Management & Recycling. On September 24 & 25, these 30 entrepreneurs will present their plans to a global audience of investors, media, strategic buyers, C-level executives, and other entrepreneurs.
Last year’s giant, Nigeria, tops the list again with 8 representatives followed by Kenya with 6. South Africa is third with 3 representatives while Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon and Zimbabwe each have two. Uganda, Tanzania and new comer Ivory Coast will each be represented by 1 start-up. The presence of Ivory Coast on the list of giants is a strong signal that more African nations are warming up to the ability of the continent to craft her own solutions to various needs. The highest represented category on the 2015 list is Finance and Banking with 8 products. Other popular categories include Education, Transport and Logistics, Retail, Communication and Media and entertainment.
The team at DEMO Africa, and everyone part of the VC4Africa community, would like to congratulate the selected entrepreneurs for their achievement!
Here is an overview of the selected ventures. Click on the tiles to find out more.
|Abacus – helping investors make smarter, faster and more decisions by providing access to real time market data, news and analytics.||Joel Macharia||Kenya|
|Airshop – unleashing the untapped potential of duty-free stores by enabling passengers to make special orders of high value products in advance.||Francis Yapobi||Ivory Coast|
|BambaPOS – allowing retail merchants to access point of sale and inventory management automation with any android smart device.||Karogi Kamau||Kenya|
|Bitsoko – an Android mobile wallet removing the cost of transferring money between two individuals and increasing access to payment services.||Daniel Bloch Kenya|
|Bozza Media – a digital distribution platform enabling artists to connect with fans who want locally relevant content via mobile and web.||Emma Kaye||South Africa|
|Carparts Nigeria – an online car and truck parts and accessories store with millions of inventoried parts and a quick and simple search.||Ade Oladapo||Nigeria|
|Eco-mc² Compressed Air Hydraulic Energy Storage – innovative air- compression storage based products ensure the power stays on, without the disadvantages of battery based systems.||Magriet Leaper||South Africa|
|Edge Books – a digital platform for eBooks and other digital platforms such as magazines, comics & Journals.||Daniel Oluwagbemiga ben-Daniel||South Africa|
|ENT-Mobile – converting human conversation on social media and mobile platforms to actionable and quantifiable data for business decision making.||Andrew Kamau Kenya|
|Feem Wifi – providing an easy way to transfer music, videos, documents and other files – and listen to music or play videos when you are not transferring files.||Fritz Ekwoge Ekwoge Cameroon|
|Flippy Campus – Flippy Campus is a social application that helps students get updated on what is happening on their campuses.||David Mumuni||Ghana|
|iKon Tracker – iKon Tracker is a conveniently sized bluetooth tracking device paired with a downloadable iKon smartphone application.||Adedayo Charis Nigeria|
|InsureAfrika.com – InsureAfrika.com is an online comparison platform which enables users to compare insurance quotes across insurance categories.||Gagan Hayer||Kenya|
|IPC eProductivity – IPC eProductivity is an on-line productivity calculator that helps organisations determine their key drivers of productivity.||Lovemore Jokonya||Zimbabwe|
|Koomzo – Koomzo is a hosted (cloud based) SaaS School ERP platform that automates core school processes (academic and administrative).||Longchi Gide Kanouo||Cameroon|
|Lipaplus – LipaPlus helps SMEs accept credit/debit card payments and also manage their sales, inventory and finances using just their phones.||Ndeeri Macharia Kenya|
|LocName – a web and mobile application that gives a short, unique name for your address, which you can then share easily in just 2 seconds.||Mourad Ashry Egypt|
|Mavis Computel Ltd – Mavis Computel Ltd provides a Talking Books & Talking Posters education solution.||Chizaram Ucheaga||Nigeria|
|ogaVenue – making it easy to search, check availability and book event venues online, by aggregating variety of event venues.||Andrew Airelobhegbe||Nigeria|
|PoshRite – PoshRite is an online beauty social network that aims to encourage women to express their inner beauty by offering a web platform.||Chidimma Nwankwo Nigeria|
|Raye7 – provides a greener, cheaper, nicer, safer and time-efficient way of transporting people aiming for a better tomorrow.||Ahmed Negm||Egypt|
|Road Rules – a mobile app that will disrupt and revolutionize the way individuals study, practice and prepare for their driver’s license exam.||Chikosi Tawanda||Zimbabwe|
|Roundbob – allows travelers to create travel wallets facilitating travel savings, installment payment options, reducing cost exposure and supporting this with relevant content.||David Gonahasa||Uganda|
|Shield Finance – a FinTech company using proprietary technology while leveraging on Mobile Money to offer under banked employees affordable salary advances directly to their mobile phones.||Kenny R||Kenya|
|SimbaPay – offers mobile apps that allow for fast, convenient and cheap money remittance to Africa.||Nyasinga Onyancha Nigeria|
|SmartEdu – an Education Technology Startup that helps Educators and Parents monitor and improve students’ academic performance.||Molawi Adesuyi||Nigeria|
|Talking Bookz – a business focused on making learning interactive and entertaining by using mobile application to transform the learning experience for students.||Kolapo Ogungbile Nigeria|
|Tango TV – a Tanzanian technology company focusing on integrated media streaming services, beginning with African Movies, music videos and TV shows.||Victor Joseph||Tanzania|
|Zeepay Mobile Financial Services – Mobile payments for both USSD and smart phones using NFC and supporting international remittances onto PoS.||Andrew Takyi-Appiah||Ghana|
|Zuvaa – Zuvaa is an online marketplace for African Fashion.||Kelechi Anyadiegwu Nigeria|
Want to see these companies present on stage?
You can now book your tickets for the DEMO Africa event, to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, on September 24-25, or join as a V.I.P. if you are an investor.
More people continue to book their slots to witness the unveiling of the selected thirty products. The full event will take place between the 21st and 25th September, 2015 at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos Nigeria. Over 500 guests including investors, IT buyers, IT consumers and media are expected.
DEMO Africa is the premier platform for the best and brightest companies throughout the continent seeking to launch their products in front of a global audience. VC4Africa represents the largest community of entrepreneurs building innovative early stage companies.
The selected start-ups will now be placed under a mentorship programme which will run until September 22nd 2015. This programme is aimed at sharpening the pitching skills of the entrepreneurs readying them for the DEMO Africa stage.
This year, DEMO Africa introduces knowledge streams to delve into critical topics including Business Modelling, Scaling Businesses, Creating an unfair advantage, and Raising Capital. Top industry players including Jorn Lyseggen-MEST Founder, Harry Tomi Davies-ABAN President, Folabi Esan-Partner, Adlevo Capital, Jason Njoku-IROKO TV CEO among others will lead the discussion. Other notable activities at the 2015 DEMO Africa event include an investor roundtable forum and the LIONS@FRICA Summit with the uptake of Africa generated technology being expected to dominate the conversations.
The event will be co-hosted by DEMO Africa, Nigerian Ministry of Communication Technology and National Information Technology Agency-Nigeria in collaboration with LIONS@FRICA partnership and VC4Africa.
5 African Cleantech Startups You Need To Watch
Africa is extraordinarily rich in energy power potential. According to McKinsey and Company’s 2015 Brighter Africa report, the continent has 10 terawatts or more of potential capacity for renewable energy. If sub-Saharan Africa pushes renewables, it could result in 27 percent decrease in carbon emissions worldwide.
But sub-Saharan Africa is in an energy crisis. Two out of three Africans lack access to electricity — that’s 621 million people. The Brighter Africa report also stated the sub-Saharan Africa region has 13 percent of the world’s population, but 48 percent of the share of the global population without access to electricity.
African entrepreneurs and technologists are coming up with solutions to solve their own energy problems. In 2014, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted that 1.8 gigawatts of renewable energy would be commissioned. That’s a huge leap from the previous 14 years. And in the first quarter of 2015, Bloomberg reported, South Africa emerged as one of the top clean energy leaders.
Here’s a look at five African cleantech startups bringing power to the continent.
M-Kopa started a pay-as-you-go solar revolution in Africa by capitalizing on the popularity of mobile phones on the continent. Customers replace kerosene lamps with a solar light and radio/phone charging stations over several months in installments via SMS messaging on mobile money networks. The company was started by the founders of M-Pesa, Kenya’s incredibly popular mobile money system that has served as a model for the rest of the world.
Quaint Global Energy Solutions
This Nigerian company develops renewable power projects, and recently received a US Trade and Development Agency grant as part of Power Africa, a US government initiative. Quaint Global is working with California-based Tetra Tech, an energy project developer, on a feasibility study to determine the best way forward with the project. The effort will bring 50 megawatts of clean energy to Kaduna State, a state in Nigeria, and could also leverage more than $160 million.
This South African company was founded in 2011 to grow Africa’s clean energy and electric vehicle solutions. The first electric vehicle prototype they developed was Freedom1, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and since then, they have built several more, mostly for safari drives for wildlife tourism.
More recently, Freedom Won created a wall-mounted Tesla Powerwall-like system called the FreedomCOR, which uses lithium-ion batteries to store renewable energy. The modular batteries range in size from 5 kilowatt hours to 30 kilowatt hours for residential, and even larger for industrial, and reportedly last up to 13 years.
African Clean Energy
According to this company, three billion people worldwide cook on open fires or with dirty, dangerous fuel, and accidents resulting from that kill four million people a year. To help solve this massive problem, African Clean Energy developed the ACE 1 Ultra-Clean Biomass Cookstove, which burns any type of biomass cleanly and smoke-free indoors or outdoors. It reduces fuel use about 70 percent, saves 50 percent of costs, and drastically improves the lives of women and children, who do the majority of the cooking.
iCoal Concept Ltd.
Earlier this year, the World Bank’s Kenya Climate Innovation Center launched a crowdfunding mentorship program for entrepreneurs in East Africa, to provide them financial services and mentorship. One of the startups chosen was iCoal Concept Ltd., which turns the waste from charcoal into modern energy. The company collects charcoal waste from the community and repurposes it into charcoal-based briquettes that are 35 percent cheaper than regular charcoal.
Kenyan households use 700 tons of charcoal per day. But now that iCoal has a handle on the market, the startup is producing three tons of its own SmartCharcoal per day for hotels, farmers, and residential communities.
Source:Forbes.com Lyndsey Gilpin
As Barbie sales continue to plummet, another doll is aiming to slide in and take her place—in Nigeria, that is. The Queens of Africa and Naija Princess dolls are outselling Mattel’s original. The dolls’ mastermind, 43-year-old Taofick Okoya, told Reuters that he sells between 6,000 and 9,000 dolls per month, claiming 10 to 15 percent of the small but growing toy market in Nigeria.
The success of the Queens of Africa dolls, which are modeled after the country’s three largest ethnic groups and outfitted in gowns and traditional headwear made from West African fabrics, is proving there’s a sizable market for dolls that are not fair-skinned, blond, and blue-eyed. Okoya’s dolls might be so popular precisely because they’re the only black ones on the market in Africa.
In an interview with Elle magazine last year, he said he got the idea for the dolls when he went looking for a meaningful birthday gift for his niece, only to discover that there were no “African dolls she could relate to or identify with.”
So he set up his own business, outsourcing manufacturing of the doll parts to China, having them assembled in colorful patterned dresses in Nigeria, and selling them for 1,300 to 3,500 naira (about $22) each. Seven years later, he produces about 100 to 150 dolls a day and hopes to run the entire operation locally.
Okoya’s dolls weren’t always flying off the shelves. It took him nearly three years to convince retailers that black dolls would sell. To aid the cause, he launched an educational campaign about the psychological impact dolls have on children.
“When little girls play with dolls, they see themselves in or as the doll, they dress it in clothes they like and act out their fantasies,” he told Elle. “The more of their own likeness they see in the things they like, the more accepting they will be of their looks and culture.”
The success of the Queens of Africa dolls comes at a time when typically white Barbie dolls are rapidly declining in popularity among children. By the end of 2014, Barbie sales had dropped by 10 percent for four quarters straight, and sales of rival American Girl dolls—which discontinued some of its nonwhite dolls—decreased by 7 percent.
Meanwhile, most of the Queens of Africa dolls online are sold out, and Okoya is attempting to meet skyrocketing demands. In addition to ramping up production, he also plans to make the dolls curvier, with bigger hair and fuller facial features to enhance their “identifying African characteristics,” he told Elle.
An educational animation series and a line of books is also in the works to further Okoya’s message of empowerment. “The goal is not just selling pieces of molded plastic, but also to inspire and create a sense of appreciation of them by promoting value, culture and heritage,” he told Elle.
Mattel, take note.
Source: http://www.takepart.com by Jennifer Swann
Engineers at Uganda’s Kiira Motors Corporation recently unveiled a prototype of its sedan hybrid electric vehicle dubbed the Kiira EV Smack. The car manufacturer is slated to start commercial production of the Kiira brand vehicles and passenger buses by 2018.
The recent murders of unarmed black men in several US cities have enraged thousands of people, both nationally and globally. They have also resulted in the creation of movements that call for the black community to withhold the $1 trillion in buying power from major corporations and instead to spend them with black owned businesses.
I support this message because well structured black businesses that offer quality goods and services deserve a chance to survive and thrive just as much as any other business does. Currently, all other communities in the US practice group economics at a high level. They buy from their own people, help their businesses grow and strengthen their economic and political power base. It is common sense and I’m not upset about it. They understand the game and are playing it because this it is in their best interest to do so.
Unfortunately, the black community has not yet fully embraced this method of economic development. From the 1880’s into the 1960’s, a majority of American states enforced segregation through “Jim Crow” laws . Black people were prevented from patronizing white businesses and establishments. This forced them to create their own businesses and transact with each other. The black dollar circulated within the community several times over before leaving, bringing rise to hundreds of successful black businesses. The buying power of black people during that era was used to strengthen their economic power base and create wealth. It did so until the end of Jim Crow in 1965 when integration became legal. At that point, black dollars started leaking from the community and have not been back since. Now, over 90% of black income is spent in other communities.
This is why the term “buying power” is a bit misleading. It is currently just a marketing phrase that defines the ability of a certain demographic to spend its disposable income with different corporations. Are we spending this income on items that appreciate or depreciate in value? Are we increasing debt incurred when exercising this “power” with credit cards? Power can defined as the ability to control people and things. What does the black buying power currently control or influence? From what I can tell, it influences the allocation of corporate marketing budgets. It controls who corporations will target to make the most profit from a certain good or service. It does not seem to control or influence anything that contributes value to the community from which the dollars come from.
I would argue that right now, this trillion dollar buying power is really just buying potential. It shows that black people spend a lot but it doesn’t not show that any assets, wealth or political influence are being created by this spending. The true buying power of a community should be defined as its ability to not only support businesses that will create employment in that community, but also create political as well as economic influence. The political power gained will help to create laws and policies that will ultimately affect the community positively. Money talks and politicians listen to those with money. Who do you think will get a politicians attention; the person that yells “I voted for you!” or the person that yells “I wrote you a $1000 check!”
A trillion dollars of buying “power” could and should even have an international reach. Nigerian billionaire investor and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu recently announced that he has committed $100 million to create 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa over the next 10 years, targeting the creation of 1,000,000 new jobs and $10 billion in annual revenues. True buying power should be able to accomplish something similar even if on a much smaller scale. How about pooling $10,000 to create or support a well planned business that manufactures, distributes and sells certain food or non food items that the black community and even other communities already spend millions on each year?
There are many stigmas attached to black businesses, some accurate and many not. Over the past few weeks I have done some research and come across several black owned businesses that I never knew existed. These businesses provide products and services that are simply amazing! I’m asking that we begin to think and spend more strategically just as others are doing.
Nigerian billionaire investor and philanthropist Tony Elumelu has committed $100 million to create 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa over the next 10 years.
Elumelu made the commitment on Monday during a press conference in Lagos to announce the launch of The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP).
TEEP, a Pan-African entrepreneurship initiative of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, is a multi-year programme of training, funding, and mentoring, designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs.
The programme will identify and help grow 10,000 start-ups and young businesses from across Africa over the next 10 years. These businesses will in turn create 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute $10 billion in annual revenues to Africa’s economy. The 10,000 start-ups selected from a pool of applicants across Africa will participate in a comprehensive programme which will include a customized 12-week business skills training course, mentoring, an entrepreneurship ‘boot camp’ and seed capital funding among other things. Interested entrepreneurs will be able to submit their applications to join the programme as from January 2015 through the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s website.
“The opportunity and challenge in Africa is scale – in our people, our resources and our horizons. In my business and philanthropic journeys, I have always sought ways to help inspire a generation across our continent. This programme brings together my own entrepreneurial experience and my fundamental belief that entrepreneurs – women and men across Africa – will lead Africa’s development and transform our futures,” Tony Elumelu, founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, said in a press statement.
The programme will be backed by a $100 million grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African-based, African-funded philanthropic organization that supports entrepreneurship in Africa by enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector. The Foundation is solely funded by Tony Elumelu, a billionaire who has derived an estimated $1 billion fortune from banking, energy, investments and real estate according to FORBES’ recent ranking of Africa’s 50 Richest People.
“It is our opportunity to empower a generation,” said Elumelu.
More details about the program, including eligibility and the application and selection processes are available on the Tony Elumelu Foundation website at: www.tonyelumelufoundation.org/TEEP.
eHealth-focused Nigerian tech startup Mobile Software Solutions has emerged winner of the the Best Mobile Software Solution in Africa 2014 at the World Summit Award (WSA). The startup was selected out of over 400 other solutions from across the continent.
The award was presented to its Chairman, Mobile Software Solutions Ltd, Mr. Chris Uwaje, at the just concluded 2nd Inter-Ministerial Conference on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), held in Rabat Morocco.
The startup’s winning solution is its Malaria Destroyer Game which had earlier won the Best Mobile App (Game) of the year award at Mobile West Africa Conference held in Lagos Nigeria.
“With this type of solution, we can stop these massive Malaria deaths and sustain economic growth by ensuring the good health of our workforce,” Uwaje said.
Source: Human IPO
Ever since SimplePay pitched on stage in Geneva at the $500,000 SeedStars World startup competition in February, the Nigerian internet payment startup has witnessed a rain of investment proposals from local and international moneybags.
SimplePay founder Simeon Ononobi while addressing a keen audience of tech entrepreneurs, investors, and media persons, explained he had planned to launch Africa’s ebay off proceeds from his last exit when he realised it costs merchants in Nigeria $3000 to be able to accept online payments from debit cards. And at the time, the free and easy to use third-party payment platform Paypal was unavailable to users in Nigeria, and most of Africa. By January 2013 SimplePay was born.
Simply, the startup is Paypal localised to the Nigerian market and it’s no wonder investors are scurrying to have a piece of the pie. According to Euromonitor, the 171 million people-strong country has a 62.4 million online population, the ninth-largest in the world, with mobile penetration being the major driver. Yet, a July Online Shopping Report by Phillips Consulting revealed Nigeria records a meager $2 million worth of transactions per week and close to N1.3 billion monthly. Factors such as hefty costs for payment gateways and the drudgery and unsafe exposure of personal debit card details on multiple sites have discouraged adoption of online transaction; consequently, leaving an enormous market yet to be conquered. SimplePay on the other hand, solves both problems; a dollar to sign up and users expose card details once to only SimplePay then use personal SimplePay accounts for transactions.
Italian investment and consultancy conglomerate CBO Group were the first to jump on SimplePay’s wagon after Simeon’s pitch in Switzerland.
“We got offers from the likes of CBO Group which we are happy about,” Ononobi tells me. The CBO Group offer was $2 million.
Just then he adds another interesting revelation. “Our biggest offer might be coming from Interswitch or the CEO (Mitchell Elegbe).”
It’s no surprise Nigeria’s leading digital payment giant is trying to get its hand on the future of payment in the market. It’s like Google acquiring Andriod Inc. It’s like Yahoo acquiring Summly. It’s the way of Corporate giants.
Another local financial powerhouse, UBA Group Chairman Tony Elumelu has made contact with Simeon’s quarters through a third-party though no definite public offer has been made yet. DSTV owner Naspers too doesn’t want to be left out of the party.
“Its what God has done. No man can take the glory,” Ononobi humbly says.
He adds: “We have told them to all hold on as we are getting ready for the Series A round in January. We hope to raise up to $10 million then.”
Simeon Ononobi was confident and not uncertain. The future seems bright for SimplePay with pan-African, Middle East and Europe expansion plans within the next two years. It’s been thought through. Ononobi would be leaving within two years to let “a more competent international CEO” run the company.
“I need to learn more to be able to take the company global,” he explains.
But first, the startup must capture the home market.
Its biggest competitor, the American new entrant, Paypal reportedly registered “thousands” of users on its launch date in June. Simeon is unfazed. He says SimplePay has 10,000 registered users, mostly merchants, and 30,000 unregistered users. Last month, Simeon’s partner Rich Tanksley, flew into Lagos from their Abuja office to hold meetings with Zenith Bank officials. The startup is planning to double down on users and reaching for a million subscribers by January through a partnership with the bank.
“They have 20 million account holders,” Tanksley quips.
“So when about 1,000,000 users keep N5000 in SimplePay account, that’s N5 billion. Whatever bank is nice to us gets to play with all that money.”
Nigerian financial institutions are definitely aware of the encroachment of web and mobile payment technology on their over-the-desk-based transaction business and are readily embracing the trend to survive the future. In not too far away Kenya, banks turned a blind eye to the emergence of mobile money and now pay dearly for it. Between a third and a half of Kenyan GDP now goes through M-Pesa!
Nigeria’s online payment market is still nascent and very much open. What happens if some company begins to crush competition and dominates too much? Rich says: “I’m sure that we and Paga would join forces.”
This post first appeared on Enterprise54.com.
Source: Ventures Africa