GrowthAfrica, Village Capital launch accelerator pitch fest in Nairobi

GrowthAfrica, under its chief brands The GrowthHub and Village Capital, will today debut Pitch Fest Day in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, an event showcasing the startups on The GrowthHub accelerator program, which is devoted to investing in social enterprises bent on changing businesses and lives.

The event runs from 9a.m. to 1p.m. at the Eastland Hotel Kilimani, with pitches from 18 companies (see below). Two up-and-coming startups are set to receive investment worth of US$50,000 each, in “the fields of Health, Education, Gaming, Nutrition, Agriculture, Water and Mobile Technology that have undergone their accelerator programme at The GrowthHub for the last 20 weeks.”

Expected guests include investors interested in empowering early startup companies, as well as angel investors from Kenya, Europe and the United States.

GrowthAfrica said that entrepreneurs from 18 startups from Kenya and Uganda have over the last four months gathered at The GrowthHub in Nairobi “for an intensive experience where the focus has been on mentoring, entrepreneur education, peer support and networking.”

The programme has run for nearly 20 weeks and consisted of six three-day workshops addressing key aspects of each of these startups, including the problems they are trying to address, how they are addressing it and how they are validating assumptions they have made about their business.

GrowthAfrica says the success of the programme has relied largely “on a peer to peer review and scoring method, where the decision of which companies GrowthAfrica and Village Capital can invest in is left to the entrepreneurs (they take the investor’s seat) the top ranked receive pre committed capital from partner investors.”

This, it says, is based on the understanding that the cohort of entrepreneurs will delve deeper into questioning the different aspects of each of their peers companies and will know each other intricately by the end of the 20 weeks.

“At GrowthAfrica, through our accelerator The GrowthHub, we believe strongly in the power of entrepreneurs and the immense change and value that they are bringing to East Africa and the world. These are world changing entrepreneurs and we look forward to continue helping more early stage start-ups in Kenya and generally East Africa grow to their full potential that will create more jobs,” said Johnni Kjelsgaard, Director GrowthAfrica.

GrowthAfrica notes that the programme has drawn great minds in entrepreneurship including Julius Kipngetich (COO, Equity Bank), Ali Hussein (CEO, 3mice Interactive media), Matt Rehrig (operations director, Jacaranda Health), Rich Hoops (formerly marketing director with DELL), Moses Kemibaro (InMobi), Ben Lyon and Dylan Higgins (Kopo Kopo).

Renowned mentors including Agatha Gikunda, Nokia Kenya, Nat Robinson and Juhudi Kilimo have also leveraged on the peer to peer learning of the entrepreneurs.

GrowthAfrica in a statement listed the 18 early startups as below:

  • Access Afya is establishing high-tech mini health clinics run by registered nurses to remote sections of Nairobi with a virtual connection to a larger network of experts and health specialists.
  • Eco Fuels uses Kenya’s indigenous croton nuts to produce environmentally friendly green biofuels and organic fertilizers.
  • ENZI creates high quality leather footwear with ethically and sustainably raised leather.  With its principled business practices, ENZI hopes to change the perception of Africa as a place of commerce.
  • eve’smama is a midwife service that provides practical options before, during, and after childbirth
  • Fairbrooks Water provides off-grid modular water purification systems to SMEs in Africa.
  • SchoolBursar provides a platform that uses  M-Pesa to enable payment of tuition through cell phones.  The company is targeting secondary schools in Kenya.
  • Iprocure, The Company provides an electronic platform for procurement services that connects regional buyers/businesses with regional suppliers and service providers.
  • Jooist is a social gaming platform for feature phones, allowing users to play with or against friends, compare scores, share achievements and organize  competitions.
  • Kola Studios develops and publishes casual and culture specific games for the web, smartphones and tablets.
  • Kweli Mobile’s Fishmate product aggregates data on the cost and location of fish in order to create a competitive and transparent marketplace for its sale and purchase.  The data is provided through SMS to fish farmers and purchasers.
  • Kytabu is a textbook leasing application for low cost tablets.  The Company utilizes a combination of mobile-money purchasing, and digital textbook subscription, to reduce the cost of ownership of a textbook by up to 60 percent.  Users may rent textbooks on an hourly, weekly, monthly, or annual basis.
  • Lipisha Consortium Limited provides financial services technology that facilitate and tracks transactions between mobile money accounts and bank accounts for small- and medium-sized businesses.
  • Partechs Solutions provides customized software solutions focusing on database design, software development, mobile applications, IT consulting, web services, and web site design.
  • Pesa Rahisi, The Company offers a unilateral money remittance system targeting Kenyans in diaspora.
  • Sasa provides an e-commerce platform connecting artisans in Africa with global consumers through mobile phone technology
  • Stawi Foods and Fruits is a banana flour reselling company that acquires banana flour from processors and resells the flour to retail outlets.
  • Takamoto Biogas provides biogas solutions to small scale farmers in rural communities of Kenya.
  • Uhired.me is an online platform that aims to make recruitment process social, easy, and fun by allowing employers, recruiters, and job seekers engage with one another in the recruiting process.
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