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  • Future Females, Facebook to host webinars on how to build web business

    Future Females, a global community of female entrepreneurs, will next week host the first of a three-part webinar series in partnership with Facebook.

    In a statement today, Future Females said the webinars — which will be run next Tuesday (25 June), 2 July and 7 July — aim to help entrepreneurs to create engaging content, connect with customers and build an online business, through the Facebook & Instagram platforms.

    The webinars will be delivered by Toni Adentan (pictured above), a strategic partner manager at Facebook Dublin.

    A Londoner by way of Nigeria, Toni has been strongly influenced by both cultures, and is eager to support entrepreneurs from both communities on the platform.

    Future Females is partnering with Facebook to deliver three webinars on building a web business

    The three free webinars are held on the following days:

    Facebook for Business (25 June): Learn Facebook from Facebook: Set up ads that support your business goals, and get the right message in front of the right people. Register here

    Instagram for Business (2 July): This webinar looks at how to build your business on Instagram – to create and share posts and stories that will reach, engage and convert your audience. Register here.

    Getting Creative on your Phone (7 July): Learn the tips, tricks and apps for creating killer social media posts and ads, that engage your audience across Facebook and Instagram, from your mobile phone. Register here.

    Featured image: Facebook Dublin strategic partner manager Toni Adentan (Facebook)

    The post Future Females, Facebook to host webinars on how to build web business appeared first on Ventureburn.

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  • Meet the 10 startups selected for Grindstone’s fifth cohort

    Venture capital (VC) company Knife Capital today announced the names of the 10 companies selected for its fifth Grindstone Accelerator programme at Deloitte’s Green Room in Johannesburg.

    Grindstone, which is jointly owned by Knife Capital and Thinkroom Consulting, assists high-growth innovation-driven small businesses to become sustainable and fundable through a year-long programme. This cohort is sponsored by the SA SME Fund and Deloitte.

    The accelerator has run three cohorts so far. In November last year Knife Capital announced the names of those selected for a fourth cohort which is currently under way (see this story). So far all the cohorts have been run in Cape Town. This is the first time a programme will be run in Gauteng.

    Knife Capital today announced the names of the 10 companies selected for its fifth Grindstone Accelerator

    Knife Capital launched a call for applications in March (see this story), which closed on 22 April.

    The VC’s partner Keet van Zyl today told Ventureburn that the 10 companies were chosen from 400 applications.

    Here are the 10 companies that have been selected for the fifth cohort:

    LeadRobot is a Joburg based startup founded in August last year by Daniel and Devon Solomon. The startup has developed a data analytics and marketing automation tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to enrich, cleanse and predictively score incoming leads in real-time to empower sales and marketing technologies and teams.

    Crayon is a Cape Town based talent-sourcing platform, founded in June last year by Tracey Ashington, is designed from the bottom up to ensure candidates leave feeling reinvigorated and employers hire right, first time.

    Farosian is a Joburg based specialist social media company founded in 2015 by CEO Farhad Bhyat.

    MSat Global is a Joburg based digital satellite and IP technology solutions founded in 2007 by CEO Zweli Mkhuma.

    Lüla and its app (its name means “easy” in isiZulu) connects corporate commuters to private shuttles. Lüla was founded by Xabiso Nodada and Velani Mboweni (the nephew of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni) and The Cape Town based startup is currently running a campaign to raise R2.5-million in return for giving up an 8.5% equity stake, through local equity crowdfunding platform Uprise.Africa (see this story and this one). With nine days to go it’s raised R3531 000.

    Excel@Uni is a Cape Town based technology partner for universities and funders to help students excel at university. The startup was co-founded in 2013 by CEO Lungelo Gumede and CPO Ludwick Marishane, the man behind Dry Bath gel.

    WizzPass is a Joburg based visitor management and contractor management system in Africa. Founded in 2015 by Bradley Hornby, Ulrich Stark and Tyron Fouche (who is no longer involved in the company), the startup got an investment of an undisclosed amount from the Barclays Seeker Fund in 2016, after taking part in the Barclays Accelerator in Cape Town, according to a report by tech site Disrupt Africa at the time.

    Marc1 is an Johannesburg based Internet of Things (IoT) point of sale solution that tracks customer mobile and wifi footprint to help retail companies sell more. In August last year the startup won the award for best commercial IoT solution at the third annual MTN Business IoT Conference

    Ashanti-AI helps businesses tp solve their problems. The Joburg-based company mainly focus on data engineering, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

    LiquidGold looks at the sanitation with unique waterless technology and nutrient recovery solutions. The Johannesburg based company was founded by CEO Orion Herman and Simone Fillis in 2014.

    Read more: Grindstone Accelerator launches call to startups for first Gauteng cohort [Updated]

    Featured image: Grindstone Accel via Twitter

    The post Meet the 10 startups selected for Grindstone’s fifth cohort appeared first on Ventureburn.

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  • Sub-Sahara Africa is top market for Inclusive Fintech 50 winners

    Sub-Sahara Africa is the favoured region for top fintech companies aimed at improving financial inclusion to operate in, if the names of the winners of the Inclusive Fintech 50 competition is anything to go by.

    The initiative — run by MetLife FoundationVisa, non-profit Accion and World Bank member IFC— aims to recognise the top early-stage fintechs that contribute to financial inclusion around the world.

    Fintechs focused on sub-Saharan Africa account for 16, or a third of the 50 companies selected for the list, followed by 20% who say South Asia is their exclusive market.

    Those that list North America, East Asia and the Pacific region as their exclusive market, each account for eight percent of those selected, while the those focused on Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East and Norht Africa (MENA) region make up the remainder.

    The Inclusive Fintech 50 winners were selected from 400 eligible applicants

    In a statement yesterday (17 June), MetLife Foundation said the initiative’s 50 firms were selected from 400 eligible applicants.

    MetLife Foundation added that those selected for the list demonstrate the power of financial technology to expand access, usage, and quality of financial services in advanced and emerging markets.

    About 40% of the 50 companies provide credit products to under-served segments including small businesses, this while 25% offer infrastructure solutions like biometrics software that enable financial institutions to expand access to previously excluded groups.

    Fintech startups offering insurance; payments and remittances services; and savings as well as personal financial management tools each made up 15% of the 50.

    MetLife pointed out that nearly 70% of those that made the final 50 are pre-Series A and already exhibit strong product-market fit and traction, as demonstrated by their combined 8 million customers.

    Of the 50 companies , a third operate exclusively in sub-Saharan Africa. They are:

    • Acre Africa (Kenya, insurance): Acre Africa links smallholder farmers in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania to crop, livestock and index insurance products to protect against unpredictable weather.
    • Apollo Agriculture (Kenya, credit): Apollo Agriculture uses machine learning, remote imaging via satellite, and mobile money to provide proven agricultural tools and financing to African farmers in a low-cost and highly-scalable way.
    • Awamo (Germany, infrastructure): Awamo addresses the high operational costs of micro-finance institutions through awamo360, a software-as-a-service core banking product deployed in Kenya and Uganda. The company is currently running a pilot in Tanzania.
    • E-Settlement (Nigeria, infrastructure): E-Settlement’s agent banking platform, PayCentre, aims to bridge the last mile connectivity gap in Nigeria. The network offers services including cash withdrawal, cash deposit, fund transfers, bill payments and more.
    • Hello Paisa (SA, payments and remittances): Hello Paisa is a digital international money transfer operator that aims to drive down the cost of remittances and provide a safe platform that is accessible to those who need it most.
    • Inclusivity Solutions (SA, insurance): Inclusivity Solutions designs, builds, and operates digital insurance solutions on top of the rails of mobile network operators, banks, microfinance institutions and other distribution partners in Cotê d’Ivoire, Kenya and Rwanda.
    • Kwara (Germany, infrastructure): Kwara is a digital banking platform for lenders such as credit unions or savings and credit cooperatives in Kenya.
    • MaTontine (Senegal, infrastructure): MaTontine automates and digitises tontines in Senegal — a unique savings group model — and then harvests the behavioural data of individual members in order to risk, price and offer services like micro-insurance or micro-credit.
    • Numida (Canada infrastructure): Numida provides a suite of business management tools that allow small businesses in Uganda to manage cash flow, inventory, and employees.
    • OZÉ (Ghana, infrastructure): OZÉ equips small business owners to make data-driven decisions to improve their performance and access capital needed to scale.
    • PEG Africa (Mauritius, credit): PEG Africa is a leader in financing and deploying solar to consumers and small businesses in West Africa, with operations in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
    • People’s Pension Trust (Netherlands, savings and personal financial management): People’s Pension Trust is licensed to provide trustee services for the Ghanaian workforce, particularly those in the informal sector.
    • Pezesha (Kenya, credit): Pezesha addresses the limited coverage of credit bureaus in Kenya by offering “credit-decisioning-as-a-service” for financial institutions through its marketplace platform
    • Pula (Kenya, insurance): Pula bundles affordable area-yield index insurance with tailored advice for smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia.
    • Riby (Nigeria, infrastructure): Riby automates and digitises the financial activities of co-operatives, associations and trade groups, with features including co-operative member management — and an accompanying mobile or web application designed for the end-user — loan requests, loan originations and savings, and contributions tracking.
    • Tulaa (Kenya, credit): Tulaa provides smallholder farmers in Kenya with agricultural inputs on credit and brokers the sale of their crops at harvest time through a digital marketplace.

    Another UK-based payments and remittances startup Dopay, which provides employers a unified solution to digitise payroll in Egypt, was also selected as a winner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

    Visa head of social impact Marianne Mwaniki, commenting in the same statement, said existing research indicates that investment capital has largely overlooked early-stage and inclusive fintechs in several markets.

    “This group of winners makes clear that there are high-potential startups with viable products and business models and they’re ready for investment,” said Mwaniki.

    MetLife Foundation director of financial health and inclusion Sarah Willis, also commenting in the same statement, said Inclusive Fintech 50 demonstrates that there are lesser-known fintechs able to reach under-served populations with financial products.

    “We want to support startups that are addressing the holistic needs of these target segments with the ultimate goal of improving their financial health,” said Willis.

    Read more: Inclusive Fintech 50 initiative launched to identify top financial inclusion startups

    The post Sub-Sahara Africa is top market for Inclusive Fintech 50 winners appeared first on Ventureburn.

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  • Submissions to Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge now open in Africa

    Google today announced that the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge is open for application submissions in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

    Applicants can make project submissions from now until 2 September at 23:59 GMT.

    The initiative, which Google announced last year, is the company’s effort to help news players in their transition to a digital future.

    Google does this through the elevation and strengthening of quality journalism, the development of business models that drive sustainable growth and assistance of news organisations through technological innovation.

    A panel will evaluate Google News Initiative submissions and fund selected projects up to $150 000

    The GNI Innovation Challenge is accepting proposals for projects from news organisations of every size to address increasing engagement with readers or exploring new business models in any form such as subscriptions, membership programs, and so on.

    Traditional publishers, news startups and associations that aim to build innovative digital media projects are all eligible to apply.

    A panel will evaluate the submissions and fund selected projects up to $150 000, with funding for up to 70% of the total project cost.

    The funding will be reviewed against several criteria, including a “sharing component” — for example, a project proposal can include publishing findings or holding a public seminar to encourage applicants to share the knowledge and learnings to others.

    Google claims that over the last two years it has trained more than 4000 journalists across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

    More information on eligibility, rules and criteria, and funding will be published on the GNI website.

    For more information, applicants can contact the GNI Project team by emailing meagnichallenge@google.com.

    The GNI Project Team will also be holding an online town hall webinar session to give further information and to answer questions. This will take place on 3 July at 11am London time.

    Read more: Google News Initiative Innovative Challenge to launch in Africa in June

    Featured image: niekverlaan via Pixabay

    The post Submissions to Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge now open in Africa appeared first on Ventureburn.

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  • Twenty startups on Explore 10X initiative prepare to pitch for AlphaCode Incubate

    Twenty SA startups and developer teams are getting ready to pitch next week for the chance to get into top Joburg accelerator AlphaCode’s Incubate programme.

    The AlphaCode Incubate programme, which is aimed at supporting black tech startups, aims to offer at least 16 startups each R2-million in support and funding.

    Applications to the general public close on 18 June (see this story).

    The application deadline won’t apply to the 20 — who are part of Explore 10X, a 12-month initiative run by The Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) and AlphaCode (see this story).

    AlphaCode’s ecosystem development head Andile Maseko told Ventureburn today that those selected from the 20 Explore participants will be fast tracked to AlphaCode Incubate’s selection day bootcamp which takes place on 1 July.

    Those from Explore 10X selected at next week’s pitch will be fast tracked to AlphaCode Incubate’s selection bootcamp

    Maseko confirmed that the pitch will take place next week, but said that the exact date for the pitch has yet to be finalised.

    Explore, which kicked off in January, aims to take the candidates’ fintech ideas and turn them into viable business models. The programme is offered at no cost to the candidates and includes a stipend to cover major living expenses during the year.

    Participant secures client

    One of the 20, Palesa Moloi (pictured above), says being part of the programme has already paid off, after organisers of the training put her in contact with a real estate development company which the startup has been able to sign up as a client.

    Parkupp’s platform allows property owners who have vacant parking spots, to list these to make extra income by renting these out to members of the public.

    Moloi, who founded Parkupp with Michael Savvides in 2016, could not name the client, but the company is listed on the startup’s platform as having 200 parking bays available in Gauteng.

    In 2016 the startup landed a R250 000 investment from Dr Sedise Moseneke, a qualified dental surgeon turned into a property entrepreneur.

    As part of the programme Moloi, who is a qualified chartered accountant, has among other things had sessions with a business coach and learnt coding languages such as Python and SQL.

    ‘Key take away creating value’

    Another participant, Sylvester Manganye, says a key take away for him from the programme has been on how to create value for your customers and then how to monetise the value that you are creating.

    Manganye and Thato Mashabela have developed Olova, a single payment platform for multiple public transport systems. The cashless system — which the two have yet to launch — aims to allow commuters to pay for fares by operators scanning RFID codes from their smartphones.

    He says two private bus operators in the North West have expressed an interest in using the platform.

    Other ideas that got candidates selected included a peer-to-peer blockchain-based authentication system, a medical platform which enables low income individuals to access quality healthcare in the private sector and a mobile payment app that allows parents to pay their children’s school fees.

    Read more: AlphaCode Incubate launches call for black fintech startups to tap R16m in support, funding
    Read more: Explore Data Science Academy, Alphacode seeks aspiring SA fintech entrepreneurs

    The post Twenty startups on Explore 10X initiative prepare to pitch for AlphaCode Incubate appeared first on Ventureburn.

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