Norwegian Accelerator Pangea Smells Vibrance in African Tech, Selects 3 Kenyan Startups for Funding
Pangea, a Norwegian accelerator that launched trade in the East African nation of Kenya only early this year, is being seen to be in action already. The African chapter’s 3 month acceleration programme, organized in partnership with Strathmore University’s @iBizAfrica, saw participation from over 40 startups hailing from Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria that were selected from an application pool of 400.
The programme recently culminated with the ‘Pangea Demo Day’ which saw the accelerator selecting three Kenyan startups for a USD 50 K funding. The winners, Onesha – a digital marketplace for with over 700 creatives, Biasharabot – a social media management system and customer service chatbot, and Tozzaplus – a cloud-based accounting & payroll system, will not only received financial backing but will also receive 12 months follow-up mentorship alongside other participants of the acceleration program. The prizeman trio is currently in talks with investors on the details of the deal, which shall be finalized shortly.
Chisom Udeze, Pangea’s Chief Investment Officer, reckoned, “It has been an inspiring journey for us. We could never have imagined the vibrance, dynamism and sheer guts that these startups have.”
Onesha CEO, Bernard Momanyi Nyagaka, said in all his vim and vigour, “The Pangea experience couldn’t have ended better. Onesha comes out more energized, refreshed and ready to face the exciting journey ahead, equipped with insights from the program.”
Apart from the winners, following were the finalists pitching at the Pangea Demo Day.
Acacia Innovation (Kenya): supplies biomass briquettes to schools and small businesses giving an almost smokeless alternative to charcoal and firewood made from sugarcane waste. It operates through a “cookstove + briquette subscription model”.
HelpMum (Nigeria): is a healthtech startup that aims to tackle maternal and infant death in Africa. Through an automated SMS and voice messaging platform, it is bridging the information gap and distributing health services for pregnant and nursing mothers.
Lakeview Fisheries (Kenya): is a cold chain solution that has created a network of micro franchise fish vendors deployed in some of Lakeview Fisheries’ 500 locations within Nairobi. It enables transport and storage of fish at the correct temperature, taking into account constraints such as lack of electricity, and is backed by a cloud based GPS tracking system.
SaveKubwa (Kenya): is a motor insurance platform where users can get personalized quotes from multiple insurance providers, compare them and buy from the platform itself. On the other hand insurance companies can access user data and set up motor policies using a proprietary policy generator.
Skolera (Egypt): is a unified edu-tech platform, providing a suite of tools for the different actors involved in the educational process, viz. the student, parent, school admins, teacher and the department head. It digitizes and enables monitoring, assessment, collaboration, communications and more.
Sure Corporation (Kenya): runs a pre-booked shuttle service known as Safiri Express in Nairobi. It has created transit routes based on demand and operates by activating entire neighborhoods, estates and business districts to offer point to point connections wi-fi enabled shuttles and vans.
Usalama (Kenya): is a platform that connects users with emergency service providers such as ambulances, security, police, roadside assistance, utilizing real time user data. It is an android application combined with a back-end portal for the provider.
Yusudi (Kenya): is an edu-tech startup that provides life skill development programs aimed at enabling people to fast-track their career as employees or entrepreneurs. The online courses come with an algorithm that identifies needs of the learner to combine various kinds of contents, based on best style of learning and motivational factors for each user.