These Ten Ugandan Startups Have Been Selected To Pitch At This Year’s Seedstars Kampala

Flat6Labs Tunis Unveils Its Second Cycle Of Graduating Startups

Nzekwe Henry July 17

Recently, Flat6Lab Tunis; the Tunisian leg and fifth program in the Flat6Labs regional network, graduated seven startups from the second cycle of its accelerator program for the 2018 fiscal year. This new development comes in the wake of a successful first cycle which featured the graduation of six promising Tunisian startups drawn out of various niches.

Following a successful first cycle, Flat6Labs appears poised to consolidate its position as a national cornerstone founded on the ideals of supporting entrepreneurs in Tunisia, as it maintains its pedigree with this latest batch of graduating startups. 

Flat6Labs: a regional startup accelerator with a focus in the MENA region, was launched in Tunisia in partnership with Meninx Holding, the Tunisian American Enterprise Fund, and the Banque Internationale Arab de Tunisie (BIAT). In the same vein, Flat6Lab Tunis; a startup seed program and early-stage fund aimed at accelerating the growth of Tunisian startups and providing a pathway to the opportunities that lay in wait in the growing Tunisian venture capital industry, was birthed in 2016, in collaboration with Le15. What has now come to be regarded as the fifth program in the regional network is looking to keep up with the mandate of fostering the growth of promising startups in the North African nation by investing in bright and passionate entrepreneurs with scalable, cutting-edge solutions.

The Flat6Labs accelerator program seeks to bring together entrepreneurs and startups that have channeled efforts toward the development of innovation-based and knowledge-driven industries, with such sectors as education, energy, transport, financial services, ICT, electronics, manufacturing solutions and green technologies being the usual suspects. By virtue of the program’s blueprint, Flat6Labs selects entrepreneurs from across Tunisia every six months to participate in its program which incorporates a combination of such essentials as seed funding, strategic mentorship, a competitive curriculum focused on knowledge gathered from the local market, one-on-one coaching, office space, and a number of other benefits and incentives in one fell swoop. All these provisions are geared toward helping the target companies incorporate in Tunisia and scale to both regional and global markets. Typically, the Flat6Labs program culminates in the hosting of a Demo Day event which affords participating startups the opportunity to bring their products, traction, and vision to the fore.

Beyond Demo Day, the Flat6Labs accelerator program seeks to support these enterprises to scale, include them in the program’s community as alumni, and offer access and connections to a network of businesses and partners. As spelt out in a press release put out by the program’s facilitators, central to its mandate is the bid to create a deep engagement with its community and mentors to whom it doles out support and encouragement to create a thriving environment for entrepreneurship in Tunisia.

Following in the footsteps of a similar event organized by the Egyptian arm of the program, Flat6Labs Cairo; a development which was reported by WeeTracker in May 2018 as having featured the graduation of ten startups in the tenth cycle of the accelerator program with each receiving up to USD 28 K in seed funding, Flat6Labs Tunis initially unveiled six startups as graduands in its first cycle in the winter of 2018. The six startups selected in the initial cycle included Dabchy; an online fashion marketplace for pre-loved clothes in the MENA region, Echo; a startup that is in the business of aeronautics design, GST; a mobile business solution and ERP for the agri-food industry, Naviacom; a platform that offers machine-to-machine connectivity solutions with focus on Fleet Management and GPS Tracking, Vynd; a online community platform that connects people with local businesses, and Wattnow; an energy-monitoring and control solution for businesses and homes.

The second batch of graduating startups which were showcased earlier this month brought together a dynamic group of entrepreneurs with innovative products and services that they are eager to develop across Tunisia and beyond. The startups that made up the second cycle were quite varied in their fields of interest which cut across such areas as healthcare, logistics, eCommerce, education, and a  number of others. Among the startups in the latest cycle are:

Chantier: An online platform connecting homeowners with verified and qualified service professionals for home improvement and repair projects.

Healup: A mobile and web platform connecting doctors and patients with a patient-centered approach.

Logis: A real-estate portal, CRM, and property management software for industry professionals.

Jibly: An on-demand, multi-service delivery platform for food and immediate delivery needs.

Optimalogistic: A web and mobile marketplace for logistics services connecting truck drivers and transportation companies with customers.

Ptitchef.tn: An online marketplace enabling people to buy and sell homemade food.

Toufoula: A new-age education publisher for children mixing digital and paper content with AR technology.

As an incentive, each of the graduating startups is entitled to around USD 50 K in seed funding in exchange for 10-15 percent equity, as well as other perks and benefits.

5 Ways To Gain Brand Exposure On Social Media

Are you gaining enough brand exposure on social media? Do you know that you can achieve maximum exposure on social media if you are equipped with the right tips and insights?

 

It is not enough to be on social media; your audience needs to constantly engage with your brand and you also have to reach more people you were not able to reach before now.

The more brand exposure you have, the more leads you are likely to generate. If customers are not aware of your brand, how would they buy from you?

Credit: Giphy

Most times, lack of quality and accurate information hinder people from gaining the right exposure on social media. In this article, we will equip you with 5 ways you can easily do so.

  1. Dish out valuable content: Your content has to offer value; this is when people would be compelled to follow you and even share your content with their friends and families. Your content has to have the right impact on your audience. Your content should be educative, informative, or entertaining. Once your audience sense value in your content, then they would be motivated to share your content with others, and as they share the content, you begin to gain more brand exposure.
  2. Advertise: One of the easiest ways to gain more brand exposure on social media is by advertising. When you advertise, your brand reaches more people beyond those people who are currently following you online. For instance, with Facebook and Instagram Ads, you can specify the kind of people who should see your adverts.
  3. Build your community: Don’t just build your community, you need to interact with them regularly. Communicating with your community would foster the right relationship with your community, and you get to understand them better and even serve them better. In addition, once your community understands you better, it is easier for them to recommend your brand to their friends and families.
  4. Be consistent: For you to stay relevant on social media, you have to be consistent; you have to keep showing up. Consistency would help you get seen your target audience on a daily basis, and they would not forget your brand among the sea of many competing brands available online.
  5. Have a consistent branding across all channels: Once you maintain a consistent form of branding across all social media platforms that your brand is present on, you are able to catch the attention of your target audience. It is easy for your customers to recognize a consistent brand than an inconsistent brand. Make your tone, colors, typography, and other brand elements consistent.

What ways are you ensuring the right brand exposure in your startup? Do drop your comments below!

Danish Startup Spektral Gets Acquired By Apple, Finnish Startup Varjo Raises USD 31 Mn In Series B And More..

Team WeeTracker October 15

Here is the snapshot of last week’s biggest news from the startup ecosystem from around the globe [ 08-12 October 2018]

EUROPE

Apple acquired Danish visual effects startup Spektral for USD 30 M. The deal was closed at the 2017 but disclosed only now.

Fashion chain H&M acquired stake worth USD 20 Mn in Sweden based fintech startup Klarna’s. This is close to 1% stake in the Swedish company.

Finland based Varjo, a reality tech startup, announced USD 31 M Series B round led by Atomico, and participation from Next47, EQT Ventures, and Lifeline Ventures.

Swedish startup Artificial Solutions landed USD 15.7 M. This will be used to develop its Teneo platform further.

CRM platform Pipedrive secured additional USD 10 M Series C funding, which brings the round total to USD 60 M. The funds were raised from Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP).

 

USA

Allbirds, a sneaker startup, entered the unicorn club with fresh USD 50 M Series C funding from Fidelity Investments and Tiger Global Management.

Berkeley based baby food startup Once Upon a Farm closed USD 20 M Series B round led by CAVU Venture Partners.

San Francisco based Netlify secured USD 30 M Series B funding led by Kleiner Perkins with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Slack and Flickr cofounder Stewart Butterfield.

AllTrails, a startup for hiking enthusiasts saw USD 75 M investment. This was the company’s first fundraising round and the control has been acquired by Spectrum Equity.

San Diego based e-commerce and payment solutions startup Zebit Inc. raised a USD 75 M debt. Route 66 Ventures was the lead investor.

ASIA

TabSquare, a Singapore-based provider of AI-powered in-restaurant solutions, today announced it has raised USD 7.2 M in series B financing led by Japanese comparison shopping website operator Kakaku.com.

Singapore based HealthX Capital has launched a USD 25 M healthcare focused early stage fund. It would be investing in Pre-series A funds and series A startups in Southeast Asia and South Asia, with check sizes ranging from USD 500K to 3 M.

Indonesia’s ecommerce furniture and home appliances startup Dekoruma has raised series B funding of “several million dollars.” The investment was led by Global Digital Niaga and AddVentures.

Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur-based venture capital firm Gobi Partners has teamedup with Core Capital, a new Philippine-based VC firm, to launch a USD 10-million fund that seeks to support seed-stage and pre-Series A startups in the Philippines.

Indonesian coworking startup GoWork has landed USD 10 Mn in a series A round of funding. The new capital is led by VC firm Gobi Partners and The Paradise Group.

Singapore-based mixed martial arts promoter One Championship has raisedtotal capital of USD 100 M following new deals with two major investors. The round was led by Sequoia Capital.

India’s foodtech giant Zomato has signed an agreement to raise a USD 210 Mn from Alibaba’s payment afiiliate Alipay Singapore.

Online logistics marketplace BlackBuck has picked up USD 23 Mn, in a venture debt funding from Innov Capital. This has come within six months of raising USD 70 M in a Series C round.

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10 Ways To Use Social Media To Promote Your In-store Company

Social media is a useful tool for brand awareness, brand visibility, lead generation, increased sales, and so on. As a retailer with an in-store location, social media is an effective tool to help drive people to your store.

 

Credit: Giphy

 

 

Here are some ways you can use social as a retailer:

  1. Offer coupons and discounts for in-store purchases: Make it known to your customers that they can gain more by shopping physically in your store. This can encourage them even to bring their friends along and have the opportunity to find out about other items you sell.
  2. Offer free Wi-Fi: One of the easiest ways to attract people to your store is by offering them something they can get from you when they purchase from you online. When you offer something like free Wi-Fi, you have the opportunity to bring more people into your store and also get more information about them such as their names and email addresses.
  3. Offer in-store contests: You can also offer in-store contests such as having customers take selfies in your store and posting them online in your store for a discount on their next purchase.
  4. Host physical events in your store: Hosting events in your store encourages people to visit your store. They get to go beyond social media and have a feel of your store and your wide range of collections.
  5. Give your customers reasons to shop in-store: Make it known to your customers that they can pick up their items in your store. Some customers would love this option because they would want to authenticate your brand and one of the ways they can do this is by visiting your brick and mortar store.
  6. Share behind-the-scenes moments: When you share captivating behind-the-scenes moments, you make your customers feel among and long to visit your store. Behind-the-scenes moments can also give your customers an idea of your brand personality.
  7. List your store on online directories: Research useful online directories and yellow pages you can list your physical store. Listing your stores on this directories can help you get more customers to visit your store.
  8. Massively promote your store online: Use your digital platforms to promote your brick and mortar store massively. Don’t forget to include your address in your bios and sometimes in your captions as well.
  9. Leverage influencer marketing: Influencer marketing is one of the ways to get your target audience interested in your products or services. Partner with an influencer who can come to your store and do videos and take pictures to get your target audience interested in coming to your store as well.
  10. Leverage referrals: Get creative and offer giveaways to customers who bring their friends or other people to shop in your store.

East Africa This Week: Startup Events Glimpses [October 8th – October 14th, 2018]

Kevin Gachiri October 15

Skills-enrichment was a dominant theme in East Africa tech space this week. With the prediction of data science becoming a core requirement for developers over the next 10 years, Outbox held a Data Science Career workshop at its Lumumba Avenue location in Kampala, Uganda.  As the name suggests, data was at the center of the session with a focus being given to career entry points into data scientist roles,  data mining and Predictions, data policy, protection and privacy as well as the launch of a mentorship program for Data Science and Web Development.

The panel speakers were Shakirah Nakalungi who is a Data Scientist with Strongminds, Nelda Limilimi who is a Data Analyst with WeFarm and Mark Okello who is the Lead and Organizer at Kampala R Users Group. The evening ended with the launch of DevCKla mentorship program over networking conversations and pizza. The event was organised by Facebook Developer Circles.

Outbox panel discussion – image source: Outbox twitter

In the evening of the same day at a different venue, The Innovation Hub together with Microsoft and Liquid Telecom held the Azure Accelerator Conference. Azure cloud solution could be deployed to provide software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) while supporting many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems. This event that was attended by close to 100 entrepreneurs exposed them to practical ways they could tap into this solution portfolio to empower their IT solutions infrastructure.

 

 

Rwanda hosted young people during this year’s Youth Connect Summit from  8th – 10th of October at the Kigali Convention Center. In attendance were 2,500 delegates from 90 countries drawn from government, the private sector, development partners and other players who work with or represent the interests of young people for social economic transformation. The technology and innovation goal of Youth Connect Summit is to nurture 5,000 digital ambassadors in each country to help connect and digitally empower 100 million Africans, allowing skills to be transferred to their local communities.  Isam Chleu who is the managing director of Suguba , mooted the “Made in Africa” clarion to become the first Pan African consumer Activism movement.

With so many lessons learned, Blanchine Mazanga who is CEO of Source Creative in Kinshasa Congo implored on participants to now engage the execution gear after learning so much. This year’s forum was hosted by the Rwanda Ministry of Youth, UNDP, African Development Fund and the African Union with partnership support from over 20 organisations.

Image credit: Sahara Sparks forum in Dar es Salaam: Image credit Sahara Sparks Facebook

South Africa This Week: Startup Events Glimpses [8th-14th October, 2018]

Nzekwe Henry October 14

Startup activity in the southern part of Africa has been on something of an upward trajectory in recent times as the entrepreneurial scene on this front seems to always be buzzing with happenings that are aimed at developing the region’s startup ecosystem. And this past week was no different as a number of events geared toward furthering the growth of the ecosystem were successfully held in parts of the region. Now, here are highlights from some of those events.

TADHack Event Held In South Africa

On Saturday, 13th October 2018, a hackathon which seeks to help people learn about the latest internet, IT, and telecoms technologies kicked off at MTN Innovation Center in Randburg, South Africa. The hackathon which was tagged TADHack drew participation from aspiring tech teams who were looking to build on their skills and expertise by improving their knowledge of how to use technology to solve some of society’s most pressing problems. The event which is expected to draw to a close today is billed to feature a number of keynote speakers, as well as presentations from a number of tech teams.

EduTech Africa Conference Took Place In South Africa

This year’s edition of the annual EduTech Conference was held between 9th to 10th October 2018, at Sandton Convention Center, in Johannesburg. In what could be considered one of Africa’s largest edtech exhibition, the event was essentially a showpiece which allowed for viewing of some of the latest offerings in the edtech space.

The year’s Edutech Conference featured seminars, a coding zone, a robotic zone, an ICT panel, a startup zone, new exhibitors, some networking, and an edtech exhibition. It also showcased interactive experience zones which allowed buyers to touch, feel, see, interact, and use live products — thus making for a social, practical, and captivating experience.

The event offered participants a chance to network with edtech professionals, meet and purchase products and solutions from leading technology suppliers, as well as discover and test some of the most innovative edtech products and solutions on the market. Edtech startups were also afforded the opportunity to advertise their offerings.

Solution Space Hosted An Event In South Africa

Startup consultant and Startupbootcamp (Afritech) Program Manager, Nsovo Nkatingi, was invited to this last week’s Solution Space Learning Lunch to share her insights on putting together a winning pitch deck. Solution Space Learning Lunches are known to provide a platform for entrepreneurs to learn from experts in their field. This it does by inviting guests to speak on a range of topics that address common pain points faced by founders.

Participants are the event were looking to pick the brains of the guest on such aspects as pitching for customers, finance, and partners, building a sales deck for B2B, building a fundraising deck, and delivering excellent presentations. The event took place on Thursday, 11th October 2018 at UCT Graduate School of Business in Cape Town. The audience comprised a number of early-stage startups, as well as corporates and industry players.

Lionesses Of Africa Event Held In Zimbabwe

Melanie Hawken; Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa, alongside Charity Jinya; Managing Director at Nedbank Zimbabwe, brought Lioness Lean In Breakfast event for women entrepreneurs to Zimbabwe for the very first time. Lionesses of Africa is regarded as one of the fastest-growing networks of women entrepreneurs in Africa. This event which took place in TBD, Harare, on 9th October 2018, drew attendance from a number of inspirational women entrepreneurs who shared their startup stories. It also featured the unveiling of some great new initiatives being launched by Lionesses of Africa.

Participants at the event were afforded the opportunity to hear inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses, benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have been there and done that, network with speakers and participants who all share a passion for advancing women entrepreneurs, as well as ask questions and get advice that can help take their enterprises to the next level.

 

Image CreditsHtxt.co.za, Africa.com

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