Innovate Ventures invests $30k in 5 Somali startups

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Somali tech and business startup accelerator Innovate Ventures has invested US$30,000 in five local startups after the culmination of its second programme.

The Innovate accelerator, launched in partnership with VC4A, Telesom and the Work in Progress! Alliance, held its first programme last year, and concluded its second edition with a Demo Day recently.

Ten startups were chosen to take part in the 12-week programme, which received over 400 applications. The seed investment given doubled to US$30,000 from US$15,000 last year, while the startups received mentorship and training from domain experts and entrepreneurs.

The Demo Day was attended by over 300 people, with each team pitching their startup to a panel of entrepreneurs, C-level executives and business owners.

First place went to Bilan Baby, a startup that sells baby furniture, accessories and baby clothing as well as maternity products. It took home US$7,000 in seed investment.

Second place went to SAMS, an agri-tech marketplace for farmers and buyers, and Almijet, a digital printing company, with each startup receiving US$5,000 each. Finally, Brandkii, an online marketing and advertising startup, received US$3,000.

Further investment of US$10,000 was provided to Muraadso, an e-commerce startup and last year’s winners.

“The success of this year’s accelerator programme is down to years of groundwork in the region and lessons learned. We are committed to helping the region produce more technology-driven businesses that resolve business challenges in the region and tap into untapped markets,” said Warda Dirir, co-founder of Innovate Ventures.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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