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Meet the 11 Disruptive Startups Selected for Cohort 3 of ASIP Accelerator Program

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Startupbootcamp AfriTech,  Africa’s leading tech Accelerator, together with founding partner and leading telecom giant, Telecel Group have selected the participants of the much-coveted Accelerator Program, the Africa Startup Initiative Program (ASIP).

Startupbootcamp AfriTech 3s

The intrinsic value of startups in Africa lies in their ability to build fast and effective solutions to pressing challenges. Over the years another key aspect has come to the fray; scaling across borders. The ASIP Accelerator has managed to help founders fine-tune their business models while also facilitating entry into new markets such as Senegal.

This has been possible through a historic partnership with DER/FJ, which was established to advance Entrepreneurship for Women and Youth in Senegal by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Macky Sall. Giving a keynote at the event, Senior Innovation Lead Adrien Schwarz said; “We are impressed with the work that the ASIP and Startupbootcamp AfriTech are doing and are excited that there were three times more Francophone founders compared to the previous years. This validates the caliber of startups in Francophone countries and shows that their exposure to acceleration has improved. It is also wonderful to see the progress that the past Senegalese startups namely Proxalys, Parcsmart, and Yobante have made”

Founded by telecom giant Telecel, the Africa Startup Initiative Program (ASIP) aims to support the next generation of early-stage African tech startups that are disrupting key industry verticals that include FinTech, InsureTech, AgriTech, Climate-tech, eCommerce, Digital Health, and CleanTech, Mobility, Micro-leasing, and digitizing the informal economy.

Eleanor Azar, Executive Deputy of the Group and ASIP Director said:” we are very proud of the great effort that was put into this cohort 3 of the ASIP Accelerator Program powered by SBC AfriTech – we have exceptional startups with innovative and positively disruptive ways of treating the African challenges that they have set out to solve and build their Startups around. We are also exceptionally proud that the number of female founders has increased. And to those who did not make it into the top 10, we wish you all the luck, you should be very proud that you have come out on top of more than 2,000 applications received into the program in cohort 3.

Other partners include the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), AWS, Freshworks, Google, and Firstbase.

Participants will receive an intensive three-month coaching and support program to accelerate their growth and benefits worth $750,000 USD. Startups will also have access to the global Accelerator Squared platform which has a complete library of content, group workshops, 1:1 mentoring, collaborative sessions with Entrepreneurs in Residence, and invite-only discussion forums with founders from around the globe.

The program will take place in Dakar, Senegal and startups will be hosted at the D-hub, – a space commissioned by DER/FJ.

“We’re excited by the quality of startups in this cohort,” commented Program Director Henry Ojour. ”About 30% of them have applied before, 60% applied on the recommendations of an alumni founder and 50% of them have monthly revenues above $50,000.00. Cohort 3 companies are building in over 12 verticals we have a 30% female-founder ratio. It’s going to be 13 weeks of far-reaching progress & impact.” He added.

We are honored to announce that the following startups will be joining the 2023 ASIP cohort 3:

Kyanda Africa; is a revolutionary Kenyan fintech platform that provides businesses and individuals with convenient and reliable money transfer solutions. The startup has a network of agents, API gateway, and various access channels such as USSD, Mobile App & WhatsApp Chatbots making the services customizable dependent on the users’ needs

PharmaServ; is a Nigerian SaaS product, which automates the process of sales orders, tracking sales team performance, and reconciling incoming purchase orders, payments, and invoices for health brands. This is a labor-intensive process that is still predominantly manual for most local companies in emerging markets.

Sodishop; is a Malian marketplace, an online sales and purchase platform, present in 4 countries in West Africa, we deliver thousands of orders per month across Mali, Senegal, Guinea, and Côte d’Ivoire.

BD Waste; is a Ghanaian GreenTech startup that combines fintech and sustainability to recover Plastic waste from communities. Their Digicycle product allows customers to directly deposit plastic waste into their digital wallets and receive credit for it. This credit can be used to purchase data packages, airtime, food items, stationery, and health insurance.

Limawa; whose Senegalese founder operates in Côte d’Ivoire aims to tackle the issues of food conservation and transportation through solar-powered split air conditioners that can reach -2°C (designed in CI by our team). Limawa offers an innovative and cost-efficient alternative to industrial compressors for the cold chain industry. This solution is suitable for trucks, containers, and trailers.

Parkwell; is a Nigerian online sharing platform that matches drivers with available, safe parking spaces and helps property owners list their parking spaces for optimum use. The digital parking platform integrates parking facilities and connects it to mobile for a seamless experience.

Jand2Gidi; also from Nigeria, offers ‘Logistics As A Service’ to B2B and B2B2C customers whose users are engaged in cross-border trade. They have built shipping APIs to provide the same hassle-free, transparent, and trackable shipping services to their B2B merchants to enable them grow faster after nearly a decade of building robust, cutting-edge freight forwarding and last mile delivery services

Moja Ride; from Côte d’Ivoire has made its mission to enable better and cleaner mobility services to African cities by making financing easy and accessible for all transportation professionals. Drivers and transport companies can easily qualify for new car loans and car repairs by simply working with Moja Ride’s advanced digital fare payment and booking technologies.

SafeTrack; is a Moroccan technology startup that allows a 75% reduction in water consumption for irrigation at 20% of the price of its competitors. Their IoT solution of geolocation and monitoring is 100% mobile, has simple maintenance and does not require any IT infrastructure. Composed of revalued smartphones and sensors and other affordable devices, and a cloud software platform developed internally.”

Chestify AI Labs; from Ghana provides an AI platform that gives a highly accurate algorithm for diagnosing chest X-Ray pathologies. Two-thirds of the world’s population of over 5 billion people with no access to a radiologist and radiologic diagnostic support tools and Chestify’s mission is to aggressively tackle the socio-economic and health distress created by inadequate radiology Infrastructure and the presence of fewer radiologists in Africa.

Yoonema; is a Senegalese social e-commerce platform that offers a frictionless, unique, and simplified experience to e-buyers who desire quality products and B2B players who offer a full global e-commerce experience to their clients.

The ASIP Accelerator powered by SBC AfriTech will culminate in a Demo Day on 25 May 2023 where startup founders will pitch their disruptive solutions to a broad audience of media, investors, corporate partners, and industry stakeholders.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Don’t Blame Telcos for Data Depletion, NCC Explains How and Why

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that telecommunications companies are not blame for draining the data bundles of Nigerians.

Don’t Blame Telcos for Data Depletion, NCC Explains How and Why

The NCC through its Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), claimed that active background apps and malware are usually to blame.

This is against the backdrop of the legion of complaints from subscribers about fast data drainage from service providers such as MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile.

However, the NCC on its official website highlighted several factors that could be responsible for rapid data exhaustion to include:

“Excessive usage: One of the main reasons for data depletion is excessive usage. If you use your phone to stream videos or music, download large files, or use data-intensive apps for a long time, your data limit can quickly be depleted.

Background apps: Some apps continue to consume data even when you’re not actively using them. Background data usage can quickly add up and deplete your data allowance.

“Automatic updates: Automatic updates for apps, operating systems, and other software can also use up a significant amount of data.

“Location services: GPS and other location services can consume a lot of data, especially if you use navigation apps like Google Maps.

“Advertisements: Some apps display ads that use data. These ads can consume data even if you don’t interact with them.

“Roaming: If you travel abroad and use your phone, you may be subject to data roaming charges, which can quickly add up and deplete your data allowance.

Malware: Malware and viruses can consume data without your knowledge. If you suspect that your phone has been infected, it’s important to remove the malware as soon as possible.”

The Commission also advised mobile users to disable location services for some specific apps as such services consume a lot of data.

For unsolicited advertisements, the telecom regulator advised the subscribers to install ad-blockers.

NCC also suggested connecting to Wi-Fi whenever possible for mobile subscribers to avoid using their cellular data. “You can connect to Wi-Fi at home, work, or in public places like cafes or libraries,” the Commission said.

NCC further advised that any subscriber who consistently runs out of data should consider upgrading to a larger data plan.

 

 

 


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Ministry of Education Backs MTN Foundation’s Call for Application

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Nigerian Ministry of Education has thrown its weight behind the MTN Foundation’s Scholarship initiative. The call for application by eligible students runs till June 19th and will see 360 students receive scholarships worth 300,000 naira each.

In 2010, the MTN Nigeria Foundation established the MTN Scholarships Program, an annual award designed to recognize and reward eligible high-performing students in Nigerian public tertiary institutions.

The program comprises three categories: the MTN Science and Technology Scholarship (MTN STS), the MTN Scholarship for Blind Students (MTN SBS), and the Top 10 UTME Scholarship. Each year, 300 students are awarded scholarships, which they receive until graduation, provided they meet the grade requirements. This year, the annual award amount has been increased from N200,000 to N300,000, and the number of beneficiaries increased from 300 to 360.

Over the past 12 years, the program has positively impacted the lives of 4,949 students. By providing financial assistance and recognizing academic excellence, the scholarship program has supported thousands of students in pursuing higher education, thus contributing to their personal and professional growth.

The MTN Foundation recently commenced another edition of the Scholarship, receiving strong support from the Federal Ministry of Education, which has called on all Nigerian students, including undergraduates and UTME candidates, to apply for the program.

In an announcement made on Monday, June 10th, the ministry encouraged all interested and qualified students to take advantage of this opportunity for their academic benefit.

The Federal Ministry of Education, through its Federal Scholarship Board, has consistently demonstrated its commitment to aiding Nigerian students’ academic success by keeping them informed about scholarship opportunities both domestically and internationally.

Commenting on the impact of the annual scholarship, the Executive Director of the MTN Foundation, Odunayo Sanya reaffirmed the Foundation’s commitment to ensuring quality education in Nigeria.

“Education is pivotal for national progress, and the MTN Foundation is unwavering in its commitment to empowering every Nigerian student to achieve academic excellence.

“By expanding scholarship opportunities, particularly for blind students, the foundation is making a strategic investment not just in individuals, but in cultivating a more inclusive and diverse generation of leaders and innovators who will shape a better future for Nigeria,” she said.


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ntel Taps Adrian Wood as CEO, Plans to Raise $550m

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Mr. Adrian Wood, former chief executive officer (CEO) of MTN Nigeria has returned to the Nigerian telecoms space as the new chief executive officer of ntel, which provides 4G LTE advanced network in Nigeria.

ntel Taps Adrian Wood as CEO, Plans to Raise $550m

Wood who left Nigeria in 2004 resumed his new position on January 8, 2024, as the new CEO of ntel and took over from Dr. Babatunde Omotoba, former CEO,  with plans to raise $550 million for restructuring of the new ntel.

In his new role, Wood has been tasked to shop for fresh investors and to rebrand the telecoms company, and he has assured the staff of ntel of his commitment and desire to meet up with his new role.

In a statement sent out by Wood to all ntel staff dated June 5, 2024 and gathered by the media, he encouraged them to remain steadfast and assured them of his commitment to introduce fresh investors and to rebrand the company in few weeks time.

He also told them about his several meetings with the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), which took over the management of ntel since last year and plans by AMCON to return ntel to its new investors.

Wood also told them about his meeting with the management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

“On 21 May, I visited the EVC/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Aminu Maida. We had a very productive session about the forward plan for NATCOMS, our role in industry building, as well as the prospects for raising equity and debt capital to fund a complete new 4G/5G network design and rollout nationwide.

“Dr. Maida made several requests for support on NCC’s initiatives, which we will do. In the background, I have been engaging with potential institutional investors.

“When the new financial business plan and offering document is ready soon, there will be a roadshow to raise (estimated) US$500 million to US$550 million, to restructure, rebuild and develop NATCOMS.

“Already, together with CIO Anthony Adegbola, one New York investment fund visited some of our Lagos facilities.” The letter reads.

He also revealed that he had a meeting with African Capital Alliance, one of Nigeria’s (and Africa’s) premier private equity funds group.

“ACA was an early-stage investor in MTN Nigeria. In fact, they told us it remains their investment with the best returns, ever.

“Next week I will be seeing three other potential institutional investors. All of them are Africa-focused, have investments in Nigeria in other segments, have offices in Nigeria and are seeking digital infrastructure projects to support with funding.

“Of course, it will take months of negotiations to secure large capital commitments in several stages. And that is the purpose of (55% NATCOMS shareholder) AMCON’s Facility – to see us through the crucial Project Management Office planning phase, new capital formation and network roll out, prior to relaunching the business,” it added.


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