Ten startups from across Africa have been picked to take part in the Africa Startup Initiative Programme (ASIP) run by Startupbootcamp AfriTech in partnership with mobile operator Telecel.
Startupbootcamp AfriTech was launched in 2017 as the first multi corporate-backed pan-African startup accelerator. For its latest programme, it has partnered with telecoms firm Telecel Group to launch ASIP aims to support young startups with innovative ideas that are creating a difference in their communities.
More than 2,200 applications were received for the programme, which have now been narrowed down to a top 10 after an intensive two-day selection process of 20 semi-finalists.
Five of the cohort are from Nigeria, in the shape of Agrodata, which has created a bee-centered cropping model using an IoT device called iSmarthives; AGS Tribe, a pan-African community built to inspire, connect and build the capacity of young entrepreneurs and professionals; NucleusIS, a technology for Africa’s health insurance value chain; Ustacky, an online stack-learning platform that offers micro degrees and courses in programming and tech; and Worldbay Technologies, which makes food affordable through a monthly subscription service.
The list is completed by Cameroon’s Agrix, which leverages AI and image recognition to detect crop diseases; Zambia’s Dawa Health, which allows mothers to access tailored weekly maternal advice and support; Ghana’s Motito, a buy now, pay later platform; Zimbabwe’s Thumeza, which provides small-scale transporters with immediately accessible working capital; and Kenya’s Weza Ventures, which enable financiers and retail merchants to offer their goods and services on credit to people in the informal sector.
“We are thrilled to see the quality of the startups that participated in the final selection days and we hope that the finalists will thrive with what we have to offer them in terms of helping them scale faster and more efficiently,” said Telecel Group chief executive officer (CEO) Moh Damush.
Also backed by key tech partners including AWS and Google Cloud Platform, ASIP kicks off on July 5. Participants will spend three months undergoing intensive coaching through expert-led masterclasses covering scaling fundamentals including the business model canvas, lean methodology, and fundraising.
They will each have opportunities to run pilot projects with corporate partners to demonstrate the impact of their solutions, and these often lead to commercial contracts. The programme will culminate in an online demo day on September 30, where startup founders will pitch their solutions to a broad audience of media, investors, corporate partners, and industry stakeholders.
“We have built a remarkable track-record with the 29 alumni that we have accelerated in the last three years – 88 per cent are still operating, and they have collectively raised more than US$90 million in follow-on funding,” said Philip Kiracofe, co-founder at Startupbootcamp AfriTech.
“We’re thrilled to be launching the inaugural ASIP Accelerator with Telecel Group and are already hard at work with these 10 inspiring startups. We are confident that they will be the next superstars in their respective industries and are also excited that eight out of the 10 startups in this year’s cohort have one or more female co-founders.”
Telecel Group and Startupbootcamp AfriTech have also introduced the ASIP Scale Programme, specifically designed for later-stage scale-ups that can take advantage of access to commercial contracts and larger investors. The programme helps these companies explore pivots and new product offerings to amplify their existing traction and to expand into new regions in Africa, and beyond.
The first companies invited to participate are Nigeria’s Chekkit Technologies, which provides product authentication technology to guarantee the integrity of products as well as safeguard the lives of consumers, and South Africa’s Dove Air, which provides urgent delivery of medical products and vaccines via drones.