GSMA backs 6 African startups through innovation fund

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Six African tech startups are among the 11 companies provided with equity-free funding as part of the third cohort of the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund.

Launched in July 2016, the fund offers 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 in February 2018. Fifteen of those 24 startups were African.

Eleven more recipients have now been announced by the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator after an application process earlier this year, with six of them hailing from the continent. They include Ghanaian agri-tech startup AgroCenta, Ivory Coast-based mobile-supported plastic recycling solution Coliba and Kenyan ed-tech platform Eneza Education.

Also funded are Cameroonian maternal health platform GiftedMom, Benin-based mobile identity solution KEA Medicals, and Ethiopian recruitment service Taskmoby.

The six African recipients are joined by five more companies, namely Greenovator (Myanmar), Pacific Ads Group (Papua New Guinea), Qlue (Indonesia), SkyEye (Samoa), and  oDoc (Sri Lanka).

“With the latest additions, our portfolio now covers 23 markets in total, including eight new countries. The representation of very diverse ecosystems is critical for us to help demonstrate that the case for collaboration between startups and mobile operators is not the prerogative of more structured ecosystems like Nairobi or Jakarta, but can also become a reality in Apia or Cotonou,” said Max Cuvellier, head of the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator.

“The breadth of sectors represented within the portfolio is also expanding, with new challenges such as citizen engagement, waste management, or universal medical identity being tackled by the newcomers.”

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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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