Two Kenyan startups among Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa program graduates

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Two Kenyan startups, Cloud9xp and PayGo Energy were among the second class of  11 startups who graduated yesterday from Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa program in Lagos.  Over the course of the 3-month program, the 11 startups comprising Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 2 engaged with 48 mentors from 9 countries – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, UAE, UK, USA.

The startups have received $110,000 in equity-free funding from Google, and, collectively, the 33 founders, from 6 countries, have created 253 jobs and raised over $12m (before and during the program).

Google announced Launchpad Accelerator Africa in July 2017 and the program will run until 2020, including two intakes of 10 – 12 startups per year, representing an investment of $3m in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa over the three years. Participants also receive travel and PR support during each three-month program.

“The growth of entrepreneurship in Africa is critical to the survival of our continent. We’re currently as a region creating about 3 million jobs per year while more than 11 million job seekers are entering the market. Google believes that empowering entrepreneurs and startups is essential to drive employment growth, and enable both economic and social development on the continent,” Folagbade Olatunji-David, head of startup success and services, Launchpad Accelerator Africa, Google said.

Google says it is committed to the Sub-Saharan Africa developer ecosystem and has, since April 2016, hosted 13 Launchpad Build and Start events across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, featuring some 228 speakers and engaging 590 attendees from local startups in each country.

It also runs programs such as Google Developer Groups and Women Techmakers, providing training and support for developers aligned with real-life job competency requirements. Community groups engage in activities like Study Jams – study groups for developers. There are some 140 communities across 25 countries in SSA. Some 61 of these groups hosted 81 Study Jams in 10 countries reaching over 5 000 developers in the last year.

Startups in 17 countries across the continent including Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sénégal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe are able to apply to participate in the program. The next class will open in 2019, and interested startups can see when applications open here.  

To be eligible, startups have to be a technology startup, based in Sub-Saharan Africa, targeting the African market, and have raised seed funding. Google additionally considers the problem the startup is trying to solve, how it creates value for users, and how it addresses a real challenge for its home city, country or Africa broadly.

Below is a list of the 11 startups from 6 countries that made up Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 2:

  1. AppZone (Nigeria): AppZone builds Software as a service (SaaS) fintech software ecosystems for digital banks, allowing them to reduce operational costs while improving service delivery.
  2. Chalkboard Education (Ghana): Allows educational institutions to make their curricula available via mobile devices (USSD, SMS, and internet). It also lets those institutes gather insights about student learning patterns and helps them create and adapt curricula for the mobile space.
  3. Cloud9xp (Kenya): Cloud9xp is an online marketplace and booking service that allows people to buy and sell experiences in various locations across Africa and the Middle East.
  4. EzyAgric (Uganda): EzyAgric is an on-demand platform that provides inclusive and data-driven access to finance, production and marketing services for farmers and agribusinesses in Uganda. It does so through a network of youth agents equipped with smartphones and other forms of agricultural technology, providing employment and helping farmers improve yields and market access in one go.
  5. Formplus (Nigeria): Allows companies to collect online and offline data through the use of customisable digital forms. The startup also provides analytics based on form answers and allows for payment collection via PayPal, Stripe and Flutterwave
  6. Medsaf (Nigeria): Medsaf is a one-stop, curated medication marketplace for African hospitals and pharmacies.
  7. Mintrics (Egypt): This social video intelligence platform helps brands and agencies understand how people are interacting with their social videos, giving them insight into what is and isn’t working and thereby maximising their ROI.
  8. PayGo Energy (Kenya): PayGo’s smart meter and connected software service allows players in the LP gas (LPG) value chain to better service their customers, driving the adoption of clean cooking fuels.
  9. Pineapple (South Africa): Pineapple’s unique machine learning technology allows users to easily insure individual items using just a mobile app.
  10. Preeva (South Africa): An online platform that connects students with young educators who provide extra help at school and university
  11. Thank U Cash (Nigeria): Thank U Cash is an online rewards platform that allows consumers to save and earn loyalty points that can be swapped for cash and merchants to benefit from extra spend.

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Nixon Kanali
Kanali is a freelance tech journalist based in Nairobi. For product reviews, pitches, guest posts, or interviews drop me an e-mail nickcanali@gmail.com/nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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