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

Ugandan Startup Tugende Secures USD 5 Mn Loan From OPIC

Nzekwe Henry August 2

Ugandan motorcycle taxi startup, Tugende, has secured a loan valued at USD 5 Mn from US-based Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). The loan is expected to facilitate increased small business lending and bolster the expansion plans of the Ugandan transportation enterprise.

Since coming into existence six years ago, Tugende has made remarkable strides in empowering locales by bringing about the economic emancipation of communities through the provision of lease-to-own financing to motorcycle taxi riders.

To its credit, the business has witnessed significant growth since its inception as it now claims to have over 150 employees on its payroll, all of whom attend to a customer-base that is believed to exceed 12,000 motorcycle taxi riders currently – of which 5,000 have been able to purchase their motorcycle taxis outright. Tugende is also known to provide other services which include training on safety, financial planning, and customer service to motorcycle taxi riders. Its business model effectively allows for riders to typically take full ownership of motorcycle taxis in 20 months.

The Ugandan startups’ benefactors; OPIC, is a foremost and self-sustaining United States Government agency that is focused on providing a means through which American businesses can invest in emerging markets.

With presence in more than 160 countries worldwide and mechanisms put in place to cater for such details as financing, political risk insurance, advocacy and partnerships with private equity fund managers, OPIC is known to facilitate the growth of businesses in select regions through the provision of tools that are instrumental to the management of the risks associated with foreign direct investment. By weighing in with these inputs, the agency is well-placed in its bid to foster economic development in emerging markets.

As indicated in a press release issued by OPIC, the Ugandan startup’s vision to scale up its successful operations to other parts of the Eastern African nation is expected to receive a significant boost in light of the recent development. Also, its expansion plans going forward – which is geared towards offering a path to ownership and higher income for many more of the estimated one million full-time motorcycle taxi riders in the sub-region – looks set to be buoyed considerably by the loan.

‘Bodas’ or motorcycle taxis are commonplace in Uganda, and they form an important arm of the country’s transportation infrastructure. The birthing of Tugende; the brainchild of its CEO, Michael Wilkerson who is an American that had already spent some time in Uganda as a Fulbright scholar and journalist prior to the startup’s establishment, was inspired by the recognition of the social, commercial and economic importance of motorcycle taxis in the Ugandan setup.

Michael’s creation, Tugende – which literally translates to “let’s go” in a Ugandan local dialect – is believed to have been borne out of the need to bring economic emancipation to Boda drivers who worked long hours but still had financial security out of reach due to their inability to access credit that will facilitate purchase of their own Bodas.

In the press mentioned above release, the CEO further buttressed that point as he is quoted as saying; ‘Bodas are a key source of transportation in Uganda, but for Boda drivers and many other small business operators, access to capital has always been the biggest challenge.” He went further to reiterate the importance of the loan to Tugende’s operations as he believes such perks will accompany it as financial security, asset ownership, and higher income for many more Boda drivers; a feat that should translate to improvements in the standard of living for many families that will become self-sufficient and financially-secure.

“By supporting Uganda’s Boda drivers, we are empowering local entrepreneurs while also helping to strengthen a key mode of transportation in Uganda,” said Ray W. Washburne, OPIC President & CEO, when he commented on the development. He further stated that the project would further the course of OPIC’s new Connect Africa initiative which is looking to impact such areas as technology, transportation and value chains in various regions of the continent.

The latest injection of capital into the Ugandan startup is coming in the wake of earlier funds raised in equity and debt from a number of firms including the Segal Family Foundation, Echoing Green, a number of private angel investors, as well as some impact-oriented investors drawn to Tugende in the aftermath of advances from the Unreasonable Institute.

 

Image source: opic.gov

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

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

Nzekwe Henry October 14

It’s that time of year again in North Africa when temperatures start to drop and the weather begins to get cooler, but it’s not like summer season in the startup ecosystem ever means taking a break. In any case, the past week did not offer much by way of entrepreneurship/startup-focused events and workshops. But nevertheless, lots of African startup events took place throughout the continent.

So if you were on a trip that took you away from the region this past week, you probably didn’t miss much — and that’s mostly because there was not much to be missed. However, we did keep tabs on a few notable events which took place in the ecosystem in the last seven days. And as always, WeeTracker’s Startup Events Glimpses has got it all covered and we now bring you excerpts from some of those.

A Workshop Tagged ‘Monetizing Innovation’ Was Held In Egypt

This event was focused on providing information and answering questions associated with the development of smart fintech business models in the digital age. It drew attendance from a number of business executives, industry players, investors, budding tech entrepreneurs, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs and fintech enthusiasts.

Also featured were some notable names in the ecosystem who furnished the audience with knowledge with regards to building working fintech business models that are in tune with the specifications of the digital age. Amongst the speakers at the event were Martin Janzen; Managing Director of Simon-Kucher and Partners, as well as Todd O’Brien; CEO of Startupbootcamp MENA. Both individuals spearheaded discussions at the event.

The three-hour-long event which took place on Tuesday, 9th October 2018, at the Greek Campus in Cairo, Egypt, also featured an interactive session and it winded down with a networking session.

A Seminar On ‘Science And Economy’ Took Place In Egypt

On Thursday, 11th October 2018, Omar El-Shenety; renowned Egyptian economist and General Director of Multiples Group, anchored a seminar on how startups can use every science and knowledge they encounter to enhance the economical state as a community. The event was also aimed at giving startups the opportunity to share their experiences that is, relate their challenges and successes with a view to promoting purposeful knowledge-sharing.

Marry Cross Hall at the American University in Cairo (AUC) hosted the event which can be thought to have done a good job of provoking thoughts and tickling reservations. The event also entertained comments and questions from the audience amongst whom were entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, industry players, and enthusiasts.

Feature image courtesy: YouTube

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