VC4Africa is pleased to present the entrepreneurs who this week graduate from VC4Africa’s September Cohort programme: a new batch of top entrepreneurs ready for investment.
Over the past three months the VC4Africa team has worked with the selected entrepreneurs to perfect their skills and documentation to get them ready for their fundraising campaigns. Industry experts have joined the effort offering dedicated sessions on traction, building a killer team, fundraising, pitching and deal closing. The coming weeks introductions will be made to members of the VC4Africa Investor Network, the largest network of African SME focused investors.
“The most valuable part of being part of the cohort has been the one-on-one sessions with the VC4Africa team going over and refining my business plan” says entrepreneur Doug of Rethink Education, one of the entrepreneurs from VC4Africa’s September Cohort. “It has helped me get my plan to an investable state. I enjoyed hearing about the other entrepreneurs idea’s and sharing my project with them. Pitching experience is always worthwhile. I believe you can never pitch an idea enough!”
Several of the entrepreneurs are now in conversations with investors. Already two participants have picked up funding and proceed with the support of lead investors. See an overview of the entrepreneurs who are now fundraising on VC4Africa below:
The Able Wireless Company – Kahenya Kamunyu – Kenya
The Able Wireless Company provides an on-demand entertainment system and content delivery network that is localized to every single locale in the region. The Able Wireless Company was one of the companies selected for DEMO Africa 2013, where the VC4Africa team met with Kahenya in person. He already has requests from 9,000 customers to buy the system. For local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Kahenya said research carried out by the company showed it could reduce costs by up to 83 percent and reduce constraints on bandwidth, as many internet users burden providers by downloading music and movies. Kahenya has spent over 10 years creating end user solutions for market leaders like Yahoo, British Telecom, Sony Playstation, Sanyo Business Machines and local Kenyan firms like Nation Media Group. See their VC4Africa venture profile >>
FastCashier – Derrick Agyiri – Ghana
Accounting and payment software package FastCashier has built up 150 Business registrations, 1900 individual Wallet registrations, 2500 Accounting Platform Subscribers waiting for Launch, and 85 Payroll users. They have been nominated in 4 categories for the Top App Award 2013. The FastCashier Advisor App prototype has shown traction and has over 5,000 mobile downloads. FastCashier partnered with Zenith Bank Ghana, UT Bank Ghana (Ongoing), BitPay (USA), InfoBip (SMS), First Data UK, Authroze.net (UK), PayMill (UK) and WorldPay (UK), and with FastCashier Payrol they are in the process of partnering with Ghana’s Revenue Authority and Social Security and National Insurance Trust to become the official payroll software used in the country. See their VC4Africa venture profile >>
Kiro’o Games – MADIBA Olivier – Cameroon
Kiro’o games is a local video games producer for consoles and PC based on African story telling traditions. Made in Africa, but via e-commerce accessible for the entire world. They are seeking a total of $215K and have already raised $55K from international investors.The company exists for more than 5 years and has 25 customers. The founder created his own video game concept 14 years ago and steadily worked to start local production of video games for consoles and PCs based on African story telling traditions. See their VC4Africa venture profile >>
LPM (Le Petit Marche) / L’Espace – Isoken Ogiemwonyi & Wonuola Okoye – Nigeria
L’Espace is a multi-brand concept store in Lagos, Nigeria. Le Petit Marche (LPM), its sister brand, is a monthly market that has made a substantial impact on the shopping culture in Lagos. LPM won ‘Best Innovative Idea’ and ‘Best Trade Exhibition’ at the Nigerian Event Awards. Co-founder Isoken Ogiemwonyi won the Lagos Fashion and Design Week Young Creative Entrepreneur Award 2012 and was voted number 11 out of 25 African women achievers by the Guardian UK online. Co-founders Isoken Ogiemwonyi and Wonuola Okoye were nominated for the Future Award in Enterprise Support. The Future Awards has been described by the World Bank as ‘the Nobel Prize for Young Africans’. Le Petit Marche announced their first owner-managed venue in November 2013. See their VC4Africa venture profile >>
Mellowcabs – Neil du Preez – South Africa
Mellowcabs manufactures and operates attractive high-tech electric pedicabs. MellowCabs now has 8 prototype cabs in service. Their main revenue stream will be advertising. Mellowcabs partners with an advertising firm (with 46 million rand turnover in cinema advertising) who tested the concept with major clients like Unilever, KFC, and a number of hotel groups. Based on this experience the team made their financial projections. The government shows support for the no-emission no-noise vehicle. Most importantly, the vehicle is roadworthy – a major barrier to entry for new players to the market. Mellowcabs has been selected as an official World Design Capital Cape Town project. See their VC4Africa venture profile >>
MMABON’ – Elizabeth Ido – Nigeria
MMABON produces affordable casual and custom apparel for men, women and children, produced locally in Lagos at international quality standards. MMABON has businesses and private customers buying their products. MMABON won the tender to be the official Shirts merchandiser for the Nigerian Calabar festival. They will produce 10,000 T-shirts for the festival in 2014. See the business plan for detailed marketing strategy, competitor analysis, SWOT, etc. The founder has a legal background which comes in handy as the company grows their business. The company has been funded by the founder till date. Looking for funding to invest in hardware to increase the scale of their operations. See their VC4Africa venture profile >>
MOBILE CHARGING KIOSK – Henri Nyakarundi – Rwanda
Mobile Charging Kiosk provides a kiosk on wheels to provide its customers with its recharging service, calling credit, low cost phones and more. A pragmatic solution for the day-to-day problems of many people. The CEO works with RRP cooperative group in Rwanda to indicate the right franchisee for a kiosk. The team follows Henri since the summer of 2012. The pilot was successful and Mobile Charting Kiosk looks forward to mass production of the kiosks. See their VC4Africa venture profile >>
My eCampus – Cecil S. Nutakor – Ghana
MyeCampus.net is an online teaching and learning platform with social networking options that allow users (teachers & students) to interact and compare test scores. MyeCampus was established in 2006. They started building the technology, the curriculum and the community. The venture reached 1 million hits in October, which was their internal KPI to start selling advertising space. The education material is freely accessible for anyone who wants to study for their exams and improve their chances of passing. Previous funding totals up to US$338,600 (from UNDP, Government of Ghana and a Ghanian angel investor). The funding requested will be used to scale up activities (mostly servers, staff, and a bit of marketing). See their VC4Africa venture profile >>
Rethink Education – Douglas Hoernle – South Africa
Rethink Education allows learners to access engaging content using a social platform, while giving teachers the ability to track, monitor and observe user progress: “the ultimate teaching and learning tool”. The company approaches new markets with a proven technology. Rethink Education sees technology replacing school books and schools getting learning systems for a competitive price versus text books. The CEO is a serial entrepreneur with a solid network in this customer segment. The curriculum for high schools will change next year in South Africa, so there is a need for schools to get new content (book or system) for their students. Rethink Education claims to be the only provider of interactive education for high schools in South Africa. They are also approached by a principle in the UK to provide parts of the UK curriculum. St. Cyprians School, a top Cape Town based eduction institution, has purchaced the platform for 2014. This is the first paying customer for Rethink Education. See their VC4Africa venture profile >>
Save & Buy – Hugo Obi – Nigeria
The CEO of this company was a finalist of DEMO 2012 (with company Maliyo Games) and DEMO 2013 (with Save & Buy). In the last three months Save & Buy (S&B) has seen tremendous traction in the run up to launching their innovative savings platform. Most recently, they received $10,000 in funding from Microsoft Ventures as part of an ongoing partnership. S&B’s pilot is being launched with an initial batch of 800 participants sourced from Stanbic IBTC – a popular retail bank in Nigeria who are also acting as S&B’s banking partner to provide the payment infrastructure on the platform. Stanbic is making NGN 6.4 million ($40,000) in contributions to discounts for the selected employees. Furthermore, three merchants are signed up with S&B, including Jumia and Konga; two of the most popular online retailers in Nigeria. See their VC4Africa venture profile >>
Cohort Peer-review: Venture selected for ‘Best Performance’
VC4Africa strongly supports the peer-to-peer structure of the community and the idea that entrepreneurs are actually best positioned to help one another. In VC4Africa’s September Cohort program, participants were also trained to look at their ventures from the investor perspective, and have judged each other’s pitches as if they were the ones making the final decision. Cecil S. Nutakor of MyeCampus was selected by their fellow participants and is recognized as the entrepreneur with the best pitch!
Cecil shares how he benefited from the Cohort program. “The use of online tools, such as Google Hangout for holding cohort sessions, demonstrated the power of the internet. I enjoyed it and we have adopted it for our meetings and in-house training sessions at MyeCampus.net as well. The interactions and pieces of advice received from the various trainers and coaches during the cohort were valuable and informational. I have adopted and implemented most of this advice already, especially the input concerning deal structure and how to facilitate the negotiations process.”
Cecil also recognizes the exposure his venture received by being part of the Cohort, “The VC4Africa publications about MyeCampus.net have positively boosted our brand, image and credibility as a start-up business that requires scale-up investment. The exposure to different opportunities in different geographical areas within the African continent is enormous. I made a deal with Henri from Uganda to franchise his mobile charging technology to make them available on school campuses across West Africa. I have also expressed interest in Kiroo Games for the development of educational games to be hosted on MyeCampus.net. I met up with the FastCashier founder at the VC4Africa GEW Meet-up in Accra and we are discussing using FastCashier to manage our eCampus Money payment portal for shopping content on MyeCampus.net. It is incredible the magnitude of what can be achieved in a short period of time with every one of these companies onboard as partners! The impact will be unbelievably exceptional!”
VC4Africa’s cohort provides entrepreneurs an opportunity to improve their skills and documentation as they prepare themselves for fundraising. Investors registered as part of the VC4Africa Investor Network have recognized the graduates are top quality and have expressed their appreciation for the output from this program. For investors, VC4Africa essentially helps screen ventures up front and cuts down on due diligence cost. In the September cohort, an extra emphasis was placed on tangible traction, in both documentation and level of the team’s understanding for the market.
Accredited investors who are interested in the above mentioned ventures should register a VC4Africa Pro Account to get access to full details. Registered investors are also able to follow hundreds of other ventures gaining traction in over 40 African markets, network with fellow members, coordinate due diligence, and co-fund deals with fellow investors.
Follow the VC4Africa blog for the announcement of the next cohort!