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Techstars to invest $1.4 million in 12 African startups

Techstars Accelerator has announced plans to invest a total of $1.4 million in 12 African startups as it unveiled 12 companies to participate in the second cohort of its pan-African accelerator program in partnership with Lagos-based innovation program, ARM Labs.

According to a statement from the company, the 14-week immersive program will see Techstars invest up to $120,000 in funding in each startup as well as provide them with access to over $400,000 in cash equivalent hosting, accounting and legal support and other benefits worth more than $5M.

The selected startups will also receive tailored mentorship, world-class company-building support, lifetime access to the Techstars worldwide network and targeted interactions with prospective investors to ensure that the continuum of follow-up capital is available as they grow.

By partnering with ARM Labs, founders are also exposed to ARM’s local network, research and insights and decades long financial advisory expertise.

How the startups were selected

While noting that the Accelerator program will build upon its commitment to helping entrepreneurs that are changing Africa and the world, Techstars said:

“The 2023 cohort, selected from over a thousand applications, delivers tech-enabled solutions across various verticals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The sourcing and selection was led by Managing Director for the accelerator, Oyin Solebo.

“It culminated in a screening committee joined by fellow directors at Techstars, executive leaders at ARM – Jumoke Ogundare, Sadiq Mohammed, Wale Odutola, Uche Azubuike and Ina Alogwu; as well as selected invited seasoned investors – Nneka Eze of Vested World, Maya Horgan Famodu of Ingressive Capital, Olumide Soyombo of Voltron Capital and Dotun Olowoporuku of Ventures Platform.”

For its first cohort, the program had initially focused on companies operating in FinTech and PropTech, but this year expanded to focus more broadly on entrepreneurs who are changing Africa and the world, by using technology, data and intelligence to serve a population growing in size, youth, income and digital access. Sectors invested in include FinTech, Logistics, E-commerce, HealthTech, Renewable Energy, and Future of Work.

The cohort comprises startups operating in Ghana, Nigeria and East Africa, and has four teams with at least one female co-founder.

The selected startups

The selected companies include;

  • 24Seven, founded by Olufemi Idowu, is an asset-light marketplace that enables small businesses and convenience stores to order inventory on credit with one-hour doorstep delivery
  • Beauty Hut leverages technology to bridge the gap between beauty brands and consumers through efficient product distribution and marketing channels, via their e-commerce web-store and mobile app. It is founded by Subuola Oyeleye
  • Eight Medical, by Dr. Ibukun Tunde-Oni, is an end-to-end platform that connects users in need to emergency medical resources (such as hospitals, ambulances, personnel, information & credit), reducing waiting times from an average of 3 hours to 10 minutes or less
  • GetEquity facilitates access to investment opportunities by SEC-accredited providers, reducing entry barriers through investment aggregation across various asset classes. It is founded by Jude Dike, Temitope Ekundayo and Chigozirim Ugochukwu
  • JumpnPass, by Tunde Ademuyiwa and Qudus Quadry, is a mobile self-checkout platform for modern retail in Africa. They enable shoppers to use their smartphones to effortlessly scan product barcodes, pay for items, and skip long queues
  • One Plan helps workers in Africa’s informal economy create affordable financial plans, making it easier to start a retirement plan, access low-interest credit, and access health + life insurance cover. It is founded by Harold Awuah-Darko.
  • PBR Life Sciences offers pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare and medical device companies fast and easy access to high-quality market data and insights, helping them make objective decisions on product pricing, volumes and company strategy. The company is founded by Ayodeji Alaran
  • PressOne Africa provides African businesses with deeper insights into phone conversations with customers through a communication platform that provides conversation intelligence and call monitoring. It is led by Mayowa Okegbenle, Opeyemi Shokunbi and Unoma Adeyemi
  • Rana democratises access to clean and reliable solar systems for SMEs and residential customers through affordable long-term solar subscriptions, replacing the need for expensive, unreliable, and toxic backup generators. The company is founded by Abraham Mohammed and Mubarak Popoola.
  • Surge Africa, founded by Kumar Shourav and Ebrahim Essop, allows individuals, micro-entrepreneurs and MSMEs in Africa to make instant cross-border transfers and pay up to 80% less in fees
  • Swoove empowers logistics companies in emerging markets to digitise and scale their businesses with dispatch automation, fleet management, tracking and telematics, and a wide delivery network. It is led by Kwaku Tabiri, Kingsley Amponsah, Gloria Pascucci, Robert Quainoo and Kevin Blankson
  • Veend, founded by Olufemi Olanipekun and Ebenezer Ajayi, enables individuals and businesses with verifiable income to access funds on-demand, addressing their needs for emergency funds or working capital

Commenting on the selected startups,  Oyin Solebo, Managing Director, ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator said the second cohort truly showcases, and also epitomises, the wealth of talent, innovation and ingenuity that can be found within the African tech ecosystem.

  • “Supporting this group in reaching their full potential feels like the perfect segway following the close and success of the inaugural cohort. The current market dynamics mean that founders need a combination of financial support as well as technical assistance and access to networks to build resilient businesses. We are glad to be able to provide comprehensive support that covers this entire spectrum,” She said.

In addition to the Techstars-led program, the cohort receives mentorship sessions with notable experts in the African tech ecosystem providing them with comprehensive guidance and specialised services to support their growth journey.

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