The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) has invested a combined US$1.1 million in 11 tech startups formed by graduates from its entrepreneurial training programme.
Launched in 2008, MEST is a pan-African training programme, seed fund and incubator for technology entrepreneurs in Africa, providing critical skills training in software development, business and communications.
Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, the organisation runs an annual programme, and then invests in startups formed by its graduates. Now in its 11th year, over 60 tech companies have been launched via MEST’s seed funding and mentorship, and it has now put US$100,000 into each of 11 startups formed during its 2019 programme.
These companies will now join MEST Incubators in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, with the US$1.1 million invested signalling the largest single investment made by MEST in one of its cohorts to date. The investment decision was made after 13 tech startups took part in a final pitch event in front of the MEST team, founder Jorn Lyseggen, and a host of guest lecturers.
The funded companies include four that are launching in Ghana, namely social support network and healthcare service aggregator Massira, digital savings platform BezoMoney, consumer financing service Niqao, and big data platform Adi+Bolga.
Three will launch in Kenya – farm produce distribution platform Farmula, ticketing startup Saada, and healthcare platform Nadia – and another three in Nigeria, namely property development crowdfunding platform CoFundie, music studio booking service CoVibes, and beauty platform Zuri.
The final investment is Kweza, a service that enables informal retailers to order products and receive deliveries directly to their stores, which is the first MEST portfolio to be launching in South Africa.
“We are incredibly impressed by the eleven teams we are investing in today, each consisting of a diverse set of pan-African co-founders,” said MEST managing director Ashwin Ravichandran.
“This will be the first year the newly-funded startups from MEST will be launching in each of our incubators across the continent – in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. Also this year, we are elated to have the first-ever MEST company that will launch in South Africa. The locations of our incubators will allow the companies to position themselves in the best possible market for their entry, and in the future, they will aid them in scaling and expanding across Africa.”
This year’s funded startups will join more than 30 companies currently in incubation as part of MEST’s portfolio across Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, and the graduates will join over 400 alumni across the continent.