MERGIMS, a mobile application that connects Rwandans in the diaspora with merchants in their own countries so they can purchase items for relatives back home, was last night named the winner of the latest Seedstars World competition in Africa.
MERGIMS will now head to Switzerland in February next year to compete for up to US$500,000 in equity investment at the global final after emerging the winner out of ten startups pitching in Kigali at the kLab.
“Winning this ticket to Geneva for us is the recognition of six months hard work from the MERGIMS team. We are definitely working on something that will change the world and today we’ve got another confirmation of that fact,” said founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Louis-Antoine Muhire.
The other pitching startups were online marketplaces Yubeyi and Asuqu; educational platform Practice 4ne, educational cartoon-making startup Cartoon Home Network, medical consultation platform mTiba, international airtime and electricity top-up service Istayconnected, and online grocery delivery service Grocewheels.
Paul Soko, investment manager of local incubator think and a member of the jury, said the quality of participants in the Rwandan competition was very high.
“I think this is an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to invest in the next big thing, not just in Rwanda, but in Africa as a whole. Seedstars World is opening up opportunities for Africans to invest in the next technological breakthroughs from the continent. We underestimate the opportunity at our own peril,” he said.
Seedstars World local ambassador Douglas Ogeto, managing partner at The Founders Hive, said Rwandan startups and entrepreneurs had shown great maturity and growth in their presentations and solutions.
“With the government support in infrastructure, growth and innovation is inevitable in the near future. Excited to be a player in the growth of the ecosystem,” he said.