Apply now for up to $350k equity-free – GSMA

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The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator has called for applications for its third round of its Innovation Fund, offering startups leveraging mobile technology up to GB£250,000 (US$349,000) in equity-free funding.

Disrupt Africa reported the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator announced the launch of its Innovation Fund in July 2016, offering between GB£100,000 (US$140,000) and GB£250,000 (US$349,000) to startups leveraging mobile to achieve socio-economic impact in their local markets in Africa and Asia.

The first round of the Fund saw nine grantees backed in April 2017; while a further 15 investments were made through the Fund’s second round only last month.

Applications are now open to the third round of investments, which will focus on startups willing to work with mobile operators.

“We are looking for startups that deliver socio-economic impact by leveraging mobile technology, and that consider that a mobile operator could be a great partner in reaching scale faster. We’re already working with 24 pretty diverse startups – 15 of which are in Africa, and we will be keeping an eye out for companies that will bring something different to the existing portfolio,” says Max Cuvellier, head of the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator.

Cuvellier says companies that will be of interest in the current round include startups active in ecosystems traditionally less represented – for example French-speaking Africa -, or that use technologies fairly new to their market, such as big data analytics, internet of things (IoT) or machine to machine (M2M).

“Projects focusing on the replication of successful products or services to a new market would also bring significant value to the Fund,” he says.

The fund is sector-agnostic and open to post-revenue startups using mobile to solve local challenges in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.  

Successful applicants will receive equity-free funding of between GB£100,000 (US$140,000) and GB£250,000 (US$349,000); although applicants must be able to match 50 per cent of the funding requested.

The Innovation Fund’s portfolio companies are brought together for an annual bootcamp, and participate in bi-monthly clinics.  Ongoing mentoring, and support in partnering mobile operators is also provided.

“We work hard to increase the visibility of the startups both online – through case studies, blogs, videos – and at events, in particular at Mobile World Congress or our mobile 360 series,” Cuvellier says.

Applications are open here, until April 15.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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