African Leadership Network (ALN) Ventures has picked nine startups for its inaugural nine-month accelerator programme, which will begin in South Africa next month and offer each startup US$20,000 funding as well as advice from sector-specific experts.
ALN Ventures said it has witnessed a hugely successful application campaign, which attracted more than 275 candidacies from across Africa.
The programme begins with an intensive two-week series of workshops, speakers and events in South Africa in February, and will feature leading African business figures.
Selected startups include Banapads from Uganda, which produces inexpensive sanitary napkins, Nigeria’s Capture, a mobile payments system that harnesses the power of QR codes to make it quick and easy to safely pay without cash, Cameroon’s GiftedMom, an SMS-based maternal health management solution for hospitals, and Learning Horizon from Nigeria, is a provider of e-learning solutions to corporates and institutions of higher learning.
The others are Madlyn Cazalis from Cameroon, the first producer of locally-made, all-natural cosmetics in the country, Nigeria’s Medical Devices as a Service, which leases medical equipment to hospitals, Nikweli from Tanzania, a mobile-to-web job-matching platform, Kenya’s Stawi Foods, which produces gluten-free banana flour, and American startup Tastemakers, a mobile and web-based travel platform.
ALN Ventures executive director Harish Subramanian said: “Our application campaign was a big success: we attracted highly qualified candidates from a broad range of industries, and from dozens of African countries. Our finalist pool will be the most diverse accelerator class on the continent this year. And these nine promising companies put us well on our way to launching 300 African powerhouses over the coming 15 years.”
Disrupt Africa reported in November James Loss-Wells of ALN Ventures said the programme was looking for energy and dynamism from its first cohort.
“Accelerator programmes are important everywhere, but in Africa they are especially so. Companies across the continent struggle to find support in their early stages,” Loss-Wells said.
“Our accelerator bridges that gap by connecting great companies to eager investors.”