FEATURE: The week in startups 16/03/2014

FEATURE: The week in startups 16/03/2014

The past week has seen announcements of investment continent-wide, from remittance services in Ghana and Somalia to the start of accelerator programmes in South Africa, with the African startup ecosystem set to receive a boost in capital.

European investment company Accel Partners has invested US$40 million in WorldRemit, an online money remittance service operating in Ghana and Somalia, providing the service’s first Series A investment.

WorldRemit has partnerships with international banks, Safaricom’s M-Pesa and mobile operators, providing remittance services to over 1.3 million people a year.

African investment fund and accelerator programme 88mph has confirmed its second Cape Town accelerator programme began last month, investing just under US$300,000 in seven startups who will also receive funding and access to business networks, mentoring and infrastructure.

The second programme in Cape Town got underway at the beginning of February, though the announcement of the successful startups was delayed in order to the completion of necessary paperwork.

They have now been confirmed as appointments service diarize.me, event dating app Catch, pet food delivery service Pet Heaven, property rental marketplace Ekaya, big data and mobile commerce service Graphflow, funeral insurance collection and distribution firm Byte Money, and premium ad network 8Bit.

A new accelerator has opened in Nigeria. Lagos-based LeadPath Nigeria has unveiled a US$1.5 million seed fund focused on startups doing business in software, mobile applications, electronic payments and big data.

Olumide Soyombo, head of LeadPath Nigeria, said as much as US$100,000 will be invested in each startup.

This year’s DEMO Africa event is also headed to Lagos in collaboration with the Nigeria Federal Ministry of ICT, the LIONS@FRICA Partnership, VC4Africa and Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), breaking the tradition of the event being held in Kenya.

The U-Start Conference Africa, which took place in Cape Town last week, chose four South African startups to attend the Milan leg of the conference series.

The Cape Town event provided fifteen startups with the opportunity to pitch to a panel of six judges, with an all expenses paid trip to the Milan being awarded to the winning startups.

Mellowcabs, wiGroup, Cape Ray and Over were selected as the U-Start Africa conference finalists.

Also in Cape Town, electronic voucher distribution platform Nomanini has announced the appointment of ex-Google United Kingdom (UK) manager Kuda Mushambi as chief commercial officer (CCO).

“I am ecstatic to join the Nomanini team at a critical time in the organisation, where the need for payment solutions in the informal market is incredibly large and practically untapped,” said Mushambi.

“The applicability of Nomaini’s technology across different industry verticals, in virtually every geography worldwide and towards an immense number of people make this a transformational company that I’m proud to join.”

Image courtesy of Shuttershock


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