As part of plans laid out for the celebration of its decade-long existence as one of the players in the African tech ecosystem, the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) has announced a total investment valued at USD 700 K into seven African startups. In other words, seven African startups have been selected to benefit from the investment fund set aside as part of activities earmarked for the tenth anniversary of the renowned African incubator.
Having announced its arrival to the African tech ecosystem with the establishment of an entrepreneurial school in Accra, Ghana, back in 2008, MEST could be considered as a member of the elite class of some of Africa’s earliest tech incubators.
The tech incubator which is believed to have started out with a total funding amount of USD 15 K in Norway back in 2001, is the brainchild of Jorn Lyseggen, who doubles as its Founder and CEO. From those modest beginnings, MEST is now reported to handle finances of the order of USD 300 Mn per annum.
Since coming into the African tech scene a decade ago, the Meltwater Foundation is considered to have further cemented its place in the ecosystem by pumping in funds amounting to a reported USD 20 Mn into MEST for funding African enterprises. It has also weighed in with support in the form of its year-long training program and incubator. As a result of its efforts, MEST lays claim to having launched over 50 tech companies since inception by providing seed funding and mentorship.
Only recently, possibly in a bid to expand its reach on the African continent and tighten its grip on the ecosystem, incubators are reported to have been launched by MEST in locations that can be thought to be strategic African tech hubs in the form of Cape Town, South Africa, and Lagos, Nigeria.
The seven African startups that have been selected to benefit from the latest investment fund which will see each receive USD 100 K, were chosen from the recently-concluded 2018 cohort of the MEST Africa entrepreneurship training program which witnessed the participation and graduation of 17 startups; comprising entrepreneurs from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe. Also as part of the development, these seven beneficiaries will now join MEST Incubators in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya.
Speaking about the development, the Managing Director enthused that the cohort is unique in that they are not just poised to launch immediately, but they are also the product of Pan-African co-Founders who are looking to quickly explore the possibility of subsequent expansion into a number of emerging markets across the continent. He also reaffirmed his belief in the ability of the investment from MEST to foster growth and fuel expansion plans across many African markets that are known to hold a lot of potential.
The seven startups that have been selected to receive funding come from such diverse fields as fintech, logistics and storage, recruitment, waste management, and a number of other sectors. They include such names as ShareHouse; a Kenya-based warehousing platform, Nvoicia; a platform that uses machine learning to unlock liquidity for SMEs, Truckr; a ground logistics company, Jumeni; a Ghanaian startup that is looking to create wealth from waste management, Judi; a Nigeria-based startup that uses Artificial Intelligence to empower African lawyers, CodeIn; a recruitment platform for software development, and Bace; a platform that is looking to solve the problems associated with identity and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) in Africa through the use of cutting-edge facial recognition.
The seven startups that are to be funded are expected to join MEST Africa’s existing portfolio of 36 companies across Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya. On the other hand, the 17 startups that were graduated in the 10th cohort will join an alumnus that is believed to encompass nearly 300 startups across the continent.
This development was first reported by Forbes.