The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator has announced 15 new investments by its Innovation Fund, with eight African startups receiving 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$139,650) 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 nine grantees was announced in April last year – Africa dominated the cohort with seven startups receiving backing.
A further 15 startups have now been selected to receive funding, eight of which are African startups.
Two grantees are from Uganda: LipaMobile, which has created the mSomesa school fee management and payment system for parents; and Ensibuuko, with its cloud-based core banking software customised for savings and credit cooperatives.
A further two of the selected startups hail from Senegal. MaTontine provides a solution to digitise traditional savings circles (‘tontines’) and facilitate access to credit and financial services; while SudPay has created a mobile solution for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to pay taxes to municipal authorities transparently.
Kenya’s Lynk also made the list, with its digital platform connecting households and businesses with verified domestic workers, artisans and blue-collar professionals; as did Tanzanian mobile micro health insurance product, Jamii Africa.
The list of African grantees is completed by Nigeria’s Farmcrowdy – an online platform for individuals and businesses to invest in farming projects; and Zambia’s Musanga Logistics – a mobile platform to send parcels through a network of independent cyclists, riders and drivers.
“They [the grantees]cover more sectors, including health, insurance, and logisitics, and illustrate a wider range of areas in which local SMEs are using mobile innovation to help solve local problems. Collectively they tackle thirteen of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals introduced by the United Nations and embraced by the mobile industry as a whole,” says Max Cuvellier, head of the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator.
“Our commitments to support and develop local talent, and to better represent female entrepreneurs and managers, also remain very strong: local staff and women represent respectively 83 per cent and 32 per cent of all management positions in our current portfolio,” he said.
“We are committed to helping these organisations realise their full socio-economic and commercial potential.”