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DEMO Africa 2015 returns to Lagos, Nigeria!

By Miguel Heilbron on January 22, 2015

Preparations for the 2015 edition of DEMO Africa have begun with Lagos successfully bidding to host the global event for the second year running.

The event dates have been confirmed as 24th and 25th of September at the Eko Hotel and Suites.

This presents another chance for 40 more start-ups from across Africa to showcase their innovations on the DEMO Africa platform. The launch of new innovations is expected to prompt the attending audience of potential investors, IT buyer and consumers towards actions that will gain Africa further traction in the global start-up scene.

Lagos success to host the event for the second time is a direct result of the Federal Government’s endearing support to the ICT sector through the Ministry of Communication Technology. Notable moves include [...] Continue reading DEMO Africa 2015 returns to Lagos, Nigeria! »


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Tanzania’s DEMO Africa alumni company Ubongo secures USD 75K from Pearson & Village Capital

By Miguel Heilbron on January 21, 2015

Congrats to the teams of education startups Ubongo and Lekki Peninsula Affordable Schools! Both were selected to receive USD 75K in seed investments after the Edupreneurs Southern Africa incubator program 2014, facilitated by the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund & Village Capital.

DEMO Africa alumni company and VC4Africa member Ubongo is a Tanzanian social enterprise that creates interactive edutainment for learners in Africa, delivered to them via the technologies they already have. They’re bringing African families a transformational, fun new way to learn through educational media delivered through broadcast media and other accessible technologies. The video shown above of Ubongo co-founder Nisha Ligon was shot at DEMO Africa 2013. Check out their VC4Africa venture profile for more.

Lekki Peninsula Affordable Schools is a low-cost private school [...] Continue reading Tanzania’s DEMO Africa alumni company Ubongo secures USD 75K from Pearson & Village Capital »


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Social entrepreneurs: Join the Inclusive Business Accelerator bootcamp!

By Bertil van Vugt on January 20, 2015

We recently launched the Inclusive Business Accelerator, an initiative of VC4Africa, BoP Innovation Center, SNV and Nyenrode Business School. Entrepreneurs who are working in low-income markets can now apply for a special online bootcamp on marketing and distribution starting in March. The registration period has started and the deadline for applications is February 15th.

The topic of the online bootcamp is ‘marketing and distribution to the BoP’, as behavioural change and last mile distribution are key to setting up a successful business with low-income groups. The target group of the bootcamp is entrepreneurs who are working on innovative products in rapidly expanding sectors such as sustainable energy, food/agriculture and water/sanitation.

The participants will learn from the best inclusive business cases, have the chance to strengthen their capabilities and use [...] Continue reading Social entrepreneurs: Join the Inclusive Business Accelerator bootcamp! »


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South Africa’s startup iKubu exits to GPS giant Garmin – Read what makes this deal special

By Keet van Zyl on January 15, 2015

The year starts off with a bang as Garmin, a pioneer in GPS navigation, announces it has acquired the assets of South African based iKubu, a privately-held designer of computer vision and radar systems for the cycling market. Keet van Zyl of KnifeCap, member of the VC4Africa Investor Network, shares why this deal is special to him. 

With the news breaking yesterday that Garmin acquired South African radar startup iKubu, the excitement in SiliconCape can almost be touched. It has been a real privilege being part of the deal team, but here are some of my reasons why this deal is extra special to me:

– Franz, Nolan and Denho are some of the nicest guys in the ecosystem;

– Another proof point [...] Continue reading South Africa’s startup iKubu exits to GPS giant Garmin – Read what makes this deal special »


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Kenyan incubator Nailab has announced the new startups selected for its fifth cohort

By Bankole Oluwafemi on January 14, 2015

Kenyan incubator Nailab has announced the new startups selected for its fifth cohort, a five-month programme beginning in January.

Nailab has secured this $1.6 Million Tech Incubation project from the Kenyan Government to incubate 30 startups by 2016, and the current intake is the third group undergoing this initiative.

The five startups are:

Byt: A Bitcoin purchase facilitator that allows users to buy bitcoins using local mobile money platforms, and offers guidance on where to use bitcoins purchased.

Tracopay: Maker of a near field communication (NFC) smart card to facilitate retail transactions, bill payments, money transfer and online payments; while ensuring security through biometric technology.

Service line: A unified toll-free service line to access emergency services and businesses hotlines. The solution targets small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and [...] Continue reading Kenyan incubator Nailab has announced the new startups selected for its fifth cohort »


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Unlocking equity for startup entrepreneurs in Africa – instead of big infrastructure, oil & gas

By David Munnich on January 9, 2015

This article was originally published at Business Fights Poverty and is published with permission.

David Munnich and Hugues Vincent-Genod from Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) ask if its possible to invest equity in African early-stage companies in a sustainable manner. If so, how should this be done?

Has anyone ever invested equity and provided support to early-stage companies in West Africa in a sustainable manner for amounts as low as EUR 50,000? Why not and why is it so hard? Another way to see this question is to ask: can equity investment bridge the financial gap encountered by entrepreneurs from the lower end of the missing middle of African Small Growing Businesses (SGBs)?

As we know, SGBs in Africa (as in all continents) usually have little equity, no collateral [...] Continue reading Unlocking equity for startup entrepreneurs in Africa – instead of big infrastructure, oil & gas »


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20 of Africa’s startup investment success stories from 2014 – Inspiration for 2015

By Miguel Heilbron on January 6, 2015

The new VC4Africa 2015 Venture Finance in Africa report shows considerable progress made by startups across Africa. Below you’ll see some inspiring individual success stories we also managed to document over the past year.

Two exampleas of investors we profiled over the past year are the international business angel who invested in Karibu Solar & Soko via VC4Africa and the diaspora angel who found Njorku and Kiroo Games via VC4Africa’s mentorship Marketplace and went on to invest in them.

Below we’ve listed specific examples of entrepreneurs across Africa who found success, got funded and got profiled on the VC4Africa blog in 2014. For more on trends and general developments read the VC4Africa 2015 Report: Venture Finance in Africa.

We hope the examples listed below inspire you. Please add other investment success stories from the [...] Continue reading 20 of Africa’s startup investment success stories from 2014 – Inspiration for 2015 »


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Cameroon’s First Startup Accelerator to Launch January 2015

By Ryan Yoder on December 28, 2014

Cameroon’s leading technology hub, ActivSpaces, is launching an intensive six month accelerator program called “Activation Bootcamp” in January 2015 for technology startups based in the country.

The program is the first of its kind for Cameroon and is valued at 4.6 million FCFA for each startup, with 1 million FCFA given to the startup in cash. Applications for Activation Bootcamp will be open from January 5th through January 19th. The goals of the accelerator program are to help startups make sales, gain traction and attract investment from external partners.

Launching a startup is hard — launching one in Cameroon is even harder. For this reason the selection process is very rigorous. Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance.

The selection process will consist of a review of the [...] Continue reading Cameroon’s First Startup Accelerator to Launch January 2015 »


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On valuations: How to “price” your startup

By Marek Zmyslowski on December 24, 2014

This article was originally published on Techcabal and is published with permission.

Marek Zmyslowski, Managing Director of Jovago.com discusses the art of early-stage business valuation. How to do it right?

The early-stage valuation of the investment in a startup (that is, before the business starts generating revenues) is more of an art than science. Nevertheless, the question of the price will sooner or later crop up during meetings with an investor. This is why one needs to price the project somehow. How to do that?

While selling one of my Polish startups, I decided to do some research on Quora about how this looks like in the markets that are more developed than Poland (which should also fit to Nigeria).

First, I decided to ask whether “DCF [...] Continue reading On valuations: How to “price” your startup »


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Exciting times to invest in Africa – Expert comments to 2015 Venture Finance in Africa results

By Jasper Grosskurth on December 23, 2014

The VC4Africa 2015 Report: Venture Finance in Africa shows the progress of early-stage growth companies across Africa. Jasper Grosskurth, Managing Director at Research Solutions Africa Ltd, reacts to the results below. This article is also included in the report.

These are exciting times for those who invest in Africa. We observe a strong increase of interest ranging from small scale investors to global multi-billion dollar funds. Their money meets an increasing number and diversity of businesses. New ways to match funds with businesses, such as VC4Africa, are catalysts for this growth of activity.

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Less than 1%: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, CAR, Chad, DRC, Gambia, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, [...] Continue reading Exciting times to invest in Africa – Expert comments to 2015 Venture Finance in Africa results »