Three days ago, we reported that Ventures Platform, a Pan-African venture capital network that is based in Nigeria, had partnered with government in a bid to find tech-enabled solutions to address the current coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Ventures Platform had opened applications for the #COVID19InnovationChallenge, calling on techies to submit tech-focused ideas around heat mapping, preventative or information bots, solutions to assist with lifestyle adjustments, COVID-19 reporting and more.
The #COVID19InnovationChallenge offered USD 2 K equity-free grant, opportunity for further funding, as well as access to virtual workspace and mentorship from some of Africa’s top tech leaders to 6 successful applicants. Extended applications closed on Monday, March 23.
Well, it turns out things have, pretty much, been wrapped up swiftly and the #COVID19InnovationChallenge has actually gone one better by selecting 7 tech projects instead of the initial 6.
The results are in! Congratulations to the following winning teams of the #COVID19InnovationChallenge!
We had a tie and decided to select 7 projects instead of the initial 6. These winners will receive funding, access to mentors and premium services from partners. 🎉 pic.twitter.com/rxA3lCV9Xl
— Ventures Platform Hub (@vplatformhub) March 26, 2020
Video pitch interviews were held today with reputable personalities like Tomi Davies, Dr. Femi Kuti, Tunbosun Alake, Bunmi Akinyemiju, Mimshach Obioha, representatives of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and Ventures Platform founder, Kola Aina, among the judges.
After sifting through 500+ applications, Ventures Platform selected the top 33 projects and startups who proceeded to the next phase of the program.
Acting swiftly as the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t showing any signs of letting up, the top 33 startups/projects were emailed to submit a video pitch. The submission deadline was Wednesday, March 25, at 6:00 pm WAT.
It is from the video pitches received that these 7 tech projects have now emerged as the successful interventions that will now be further developed and deployed promptly to bolster the efforts of the NCDC.
Last week, Mayowa Ayodeji, who leads the team at iQube Labs, told WeeTracker that MyServiceAgent is a tech solution that can help the health authorities to effectively entertain inquiries about the pandemic and respond to calls for tests. And it’s good to know that this solution caught the eyes of the judges.
“We understand that they are struggling with hundreds (if not thousands) of calls a day round the clock, Ayodeji had told us.
MyServiceAgent can be set up for Nigerians to call the NCDC anytime and get good feedback. As Ayodeji said, this could lift the human capital burden for their call centre and the software will also harvest, store and present the data for NCDC to act on.
“This service will be able to communicate with hundreds of callers simultaneously and intelligently. We had Nigerian businesses in mind when we started building this solution, then COVID-19 came. We are always ready and willing to support our country to provide quality life to the citizens, so why not,” he had remarked.
This solution provides for a more robust and intuitive method to determine risk and control contact with the general population, health personnel, and facilities while encouraging social distancing and personal hygiene.
It was developed by Wellvis Health and the team is led by Wale Dash.
Prunedge is a technology company that develops innovative solutions to improve the efficiency of processes, the livelihood of people and aid decision-making within organizations.
The team is led by Joel Ogunsola.
Led by Nestor Inimgba, who himself is a medical doctor, Infodemics uses existing social hierarchies in a community to efficiently and effectively communicate health risks.
Wella Health’s Driage is a digital triage bot that provides guidance based on NCDC guidelines and logs responses for follow up by public health as needed. The team is led by Ikpeme Neto.
Led by Okorie Tochukwu, INNOVER Technologies says it is committed to using technology to solve problems. Their solution for the project is named COVID-19 Nigeria.
The team is led by Abiri Oluwatosin Niyi. They have developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) and data visualisation software that helps to analyse geospatial data and its variables and also visualise it. It also studies data variables concerning the coronavirus pandemic and how it can be tracked and visualised so that predictions and accurate.
For the projects that didn’t make it the first cut, Ventures Platform says it will extend support by providing Amazon Web Services (AWS) Credit, plus access to its team and a community of other innovators working on COVID-19 through a slack channel.
The VC network has also kept the application link open, urging continued applications to make sure the best solutions are not missed out on.
These 7 tech projects/startups will now be further fine-tuned for immediate deployment by the NCDC in the fight against COVID-19.
Nigeria’s COVID-19 statistics currently reads 65 infections, 1 death, and 2 recoveries.
Earlier, it was reported that only 153 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in Nigeria since the outbreak. For perspective, South Africa has conducted up to 15,500 tests, of which 709 are confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far. There are comments flying around that Nigeria has much fewer confirmed cases mostly because very few tests have been conducted.
Yesterday, 54gene, a Nigerian health-tech startup, announced that it had raised USD 500 K from donations within 24 hours to help scale COVID-19 testing in Nigeria by an additional 1,000 tests per day.
Like Ventures Platform, CcHub is another tech ecosystem player that has launched a programme calling for COVID-19-related tech interventions while offering funding and other useful resources.
Featured Image Courtesy: Accounteer