In August and September entrepreneurs were invited to apply to the VilCap Hardware program, hosted by Village Capital and Gearbox. Village Capital is a global firm supporting entrepreneurs solving major problems in society; Gearbox provides investors a space to build and showcase innovative ideas in East Africa.
Village Capital aims to support the next generation of “invention-based businesses” hardware solutions across Africa, with a special focus on inventions that improve access to energy for all, and increase agricultural productivity for small-holder farmers.
Over the next months the VilCap Hardware program will support the 10 selected hardware businesses from across Africa, all improving lives of the underserved. With support from The Lemelson Foundation, Village Capital and Gearbox will provide capacity building to the selected businesses to help these entrepreneurs overcome the challenges unique to inventors in reaching scale. The first workshop will follow this month in Nairobi, Kenya. Other workshops will be held in January and February.
Congratulations to the selected companies! Check them out below and follow the ones you like:
ColdHubs – Location: Owerri, Nigeria
ColdHubs are modular, solar-powered walk-in cold rooms that provides 24/7 off-grid storage and preservation of perishable foods, installed in markets and farms within the reach of farmers and retailers. Cold room temperature of 5°C extends the freshness of fruits, vegetables and other perishable food to about 21 days instead of 2 days without refrigeration.
Enyinam Tech – Location: Accra, Ghana.
Enyinam Tech products include the digital turbine and power system that can completely take domestic and industries off-grid. The patent pending technology uses a virtual turbine instead of a mechanical turbine (that requires coal, fuel, wind, or water to operate) to generate electricity. This means no carbon emissions.
Hello Tractor – Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Hello Tractor, Inc. is an agricultural technology company focused on improving access to affordable farm mechanization for the rural poor. Hello Tractor has developed a low-cost Smart Tractor embedded with GPS and telematics. Their cutting edge Software as a Solution technology platform could reshape the agricultural experience for smallholder farmers.
LiGE (Leaper Innovative Green Energies) – Location: Gauteng, South Africa
LiGE is a disruptive renewable power storage technology which is directly applicable to all forms of renewable energy. LiGE is a patented high compression energy storage device that allows energy, however it is produced, to be stored and used at a later time at unlimited volumes compared to the limitations of traditional storage methods (batteries) and deteriorate at a dramatically lower rate lasting 30 years as opposed to a max of 5.
LishaBora Hydroponics – Location: Nairobi, Kenya
LishaBora is a scalable and sustainable social enterprise using hydroponics to introduce an alternative feed solution for smallholder dairy farmers’ cows in Kenya. Hydroponic barley fodder is grown in a low-cost greenhouse system where barley seeds are germinated, planted and grown for nine days. By selling fodder as a product rather than selling the technology, LishaBora ensures a quality product to a segment of the population that could not previously afford to use hydroponic technology.
PayGo Energy – Location: Nairobi, Kenya
PayGo Energy leverages mobile money and machine to machine (M2M) technology to deliver Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) on a pay-as-you-go basis. Patent-pending tamperproof valve enables micropayment system for residential LPG and biogas usage. Upcoming product enhancements may enable asset management and fleet tracking for large gas distributors.
Strauss Energy Limited – Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Strauss Energy is a start-up energy enterprise that has developed a revolutionary 2-in-1 roofing tile technology that integrates solar cells into the design. It roofs the home and powers it with clean, green solar energy. No other company provides 2-in-1 roof plus solar energy on the continent.
Smart Solar Kiosk (ARED) – Location: Kigali, Rwanda
Smart Solar Kiost has developed a mobile solar kiosk in Rwanda which is a one stop shop income generating business solution for people at the BOP level. We provide services such as charging small electronics, mobile money, and internet hotspot using a low cost franchise business model.
Sure Telematics – Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Sure Telematics optimizes logistics for the agriculture sector by opening up backhaul inventory decreasing the price gap between field price & consumption price. Like an ‘Uber for commodity deliveries’. Using big data to create the most efficient routes for supply and distribution channels. Using sensors on the vehicles, so no human action is needed to capture the data.
UjuziKilimo – Location: Nairobi, Kenya
UjuziKilimo has developed a soil testing device that provides precise, real-time information based on a comprehensive database and soil analysis to enable farmers increase crop productivity. Ujuzikilimo’s technology allows farmers to receive real-time data from a sensor device on their farm about the quality of their soil and where to access the required inputs and fertilizers locally.