Two startups from Kenya – FlexPay and Pezesha – are among 12 firms which have been selected to receive funding and mentorship as part of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa program.
The Launchpad Accelerator Africa program was launched last year during the Google for Nigeria event where the firm’s CEO, Sundar Pichai announced that it would come with over US $3 million (Kshs 300 million) in equity-free support to more than 60 African tech startups over three years plus mentorship, working space and access to technology and startup experts from Google and its external communities all over the world.
(TOP: Juliet Ehimuan, Google country director for Nigeria, giving a presentation during the unveiling of the Launchpad Accelerator Africa. Photo: Twitter).
Launchpad Accelerator Africa is tailored around Google’s global Launchpad Accelerator program. Nine African startups have participated in Launchpad Accelerator, the global accelerator for growth-stage startups in Silicon Valley, to date.
“We are delighted to now bring Launchpad to Africa, to benefit African startups on their own continent and wish the first Launchpad Accelerator Africa class all the best for the program and the future. In November 2017 we opened applications for the first class of Launchpad Accelerator Africa, and we’re proud to announce that the first class of Launchpad Accelerator Africa begins today,” states a post on the Google Africa blog.
This inaugural class includes 12 startups from across Africa, including Kenya (2), Ghana (1), Nigeria (6), South Africa (1), Tanzania (1), and Uganda (1). They are:
- Babymigo (Nigeria) – a trusted social community for expecting mothers and young parents.
- Flexpay (Kenya) – an automated and secured layaway e-commerce system.
- Kudi (Nigeria) – payment for Africa through messaging.
- OkadaBooks (Nigeria) – a social platform that allows users easily create, spread and sell their stories/books/documents in a matter of minutes.
- OMG Digital (Ghana) – a media platform which produces hyper-local, engaging and entertaining content that African millennials love to consume and share.
- Pezesha (Kenya) – a scalable Peer to Peer microlending marketplace which allows Kenyans to loan to Kenyans, via mobile money using big data and credit analytics.
- Piggybank.ng (Nigeria) – allows Africans put aside little amounts of money periodically till they reach a savings target.
- Riby (Nigeria) – a peer-to-peer banking platform for cooperatives and their members that allows them to save, borrow and invest, together.
- swiftVEE (South Africa) – a platform for connecting livestock agencies to a network of buyers and sellers.
- TangoTv (Tanzania) – a media streaming and video on demand service for African local content; films and shows.
- Teheca (Uganda) – helps families and individuals find the right health care providers/workers in Uganda.
- Thrive Agric (Nigeria) – crowdfunds investments for small holder farmers, and provide this to them in form of inputs, tech driven advisory and access to market.
As part of its commitment to sub-Saharan Africa’s developer and startup ecosystem, , Google has hosted 13 Launchpad Build and Start events across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa since April 2016, featuring 228 speakers and mentors, engaging 590 attendees from local startups in each country.