Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania join top African start-ups to enter World Bank’s digital Acceleration Program

Supported by the World Bank Group's infoDev program, this business incubation center provides support to local start-ups. Photo Credit: © infoDev/World Bank

By Timothy Sibasi,

KAMPALA – Ethiopia and Kenya have twenty of the most promising African digital start-ups which will take part in the XL Africa residency, the flagship initiative of the business accelerator launched last April by the World Bank Group’s infoDev program.

From Nov. 6-17 in Cape Town, the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from their mentors and peers, increase their regional visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors.

The residency will conclude with the XL Africa Venture Showcase, a regional event organized in association with the African Angel Investor Summit, in which the entrepreneurs will present their business models to a select audience of corporations and investors. With support from African investment groups, XL Africa will help the start-ups attract early stage capital between US$250,000 and US$1.5 million.

Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B. All companies provide a digital product or service currently available in one or more African markets and show potential to scale across the region.

“We are pleased by the interest infoDev and XL Africa generated across the continent in just a few months,” said Klaus Tilmes, Director of the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “

XL Africa attracted firms with high-growth potential; many have female co-founders, have already raised early stage investment, and have demonstrated significant market traction. The number and quality of applications received are a clear testament to the competitiveness of African start-ups and the key role they play in Africa’s growing digital economy.”

The selection for XL Africa was conducted by a panel of industry experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC); implementing partners IMC Worldwide, Koltai & Co, and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A); as well as investors from prominent African funds, including Knife Capital, 4Di Capital LLP, Singularity Investments, TLcom Capital LLP, Goodwell Investments, Nest Africa, and Africa Tech Ventures.

“We encountered very strong companies, particularly in the transportation, HR, and data analytics sectors. We also observed signals of a nascent pipeline of digital companies beyond the traditional hot spots of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. These talented entrepreneurs are among those who are going to drive innovation on the continent and offer great opportunities for investors looking at African markets.” said Danai Musandu, investment associate at Goodwell Investments.

The selected start-ups participating in the event include;

Aerobotics (Data, South Africa)        Asoko Insight (Data, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, United Kingdom, and Nigeria)      Coin Afrique (Marketplace, Senegal and Benin)Edgepoint Digital (Jamii) (FinTech – Insurance, Tanzania)   Electronic Settlement Limited (FinTech, Nigeria)Lynk Jobs Ltd. (HR, Kenya)MAX (Transport, Nigeria)ogaVenue (Venue Platform, Nigeria)Ongair (SME Services, Kenya) (FinTech, Kenya)     Prepclass (EdTech, Nigeria)Printivo (Printing, Nigeria)Rasello Company Ltd. (SME Services, Tanzania)Rensource (Energy, Nigeria)Sendy Ltd. (Delivery, Kenya)Snapplify (Publishing, South Africa and Kenya)Sokowatch (Delivery, Kenya)TalentBase (HR, Nigeria)Timbuktu (Travel, South Africa)Tizeti Network Ltd. (Connectivity, Nigeria)

XL Africa is funded by the governments of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and administered by the World Bank Group with implementation support from IMC Worldwide, VC4A, and Koltai & Co.

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  1. Subject: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania join top African start-ups to enter World Bank’s digital Acceleration
    Program By Timothy Sibasi,Nov 6, 2017

    Commentary, 6 Nov 2017
    Confession: It is a very complex subject for me. When it comes to Africa, I would prefer to talk about three essential and urgent goals >>> Food, Health, Education. I always believe that Africa will better off to dwell on these solid triangular foundation

    Anyway, going back to the Article, I am tempted to comment on it simply because of the last paragraph which goes like tis: Quote “XL Africa is funded by the governments of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and administered by the World Bank Group with implementation support from IMC Worldwide, VC4A, and Koltai & Co.” Unquote
    Call me silly or sentimentalist but I have good faith on the Scandinavian Countries – hence their “FUND” may be worth considering. And so, I faithfully believe something worthwhile may, just may, come out of it.

    On the opposite scale, however, I have honest reservation that the “FUND” will be administered primarily for the benefit of the three mentioned African countries. In general, Africa NEVER received the ESSENTIAL part of the so-called international aid, for the exclusive benefit of Africa. I have existed long enough to say Africa NEVER benefited from colonial powers of the past, nor will it ever benefit from the off-springs of those colonial marauders.

    AFRICA CAN ONLY DEPEND ON ITSELF and gain the long lost DIGNITY of the African Black Race. If such a statement elicits laughter it is a solid testimony of the ugly history of Africa under colonial domination.

    With the coming of a new polite, shrewd, powerful force from the East, Africa will be sliding from the cooking pan onto the fire. THE END

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