Savannah Fund, a Nairobi-based seed fund investing $25,000-US$500,000 into Africa-focused early stage web and mobile startups yesterday launched t the public its four startups from its second accelerator class.
The four startups selected from a bunch of over 80 were from Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. Two of their startups Zatiti and InstaAid, were founded in Kenya, while Zished was founded in Ghana and is built for West Africa while the Kampala-founded Inforex Africa is East Africa-focused and is launching in Nairobi in a few days. The startups are also seeking investments to scale their operations across the continent.
Investors present their launch was William Paladino of MIH Internet Africa (Naspers) and 88mph’s Nikolai Barnwell.
Erik Hersman, Savannah Fund’s Managing Partner, speaking on the launch yesterday said the startups had been mentored by teams from Silicon Valley and from Across Africa and that the three-month acceleration took the startups through market positioning, product and business development, PR, strategy among others. Some of them emerged with completely different business models. The fund now has a total number of nine startups to its portfolio including Binu, Kola Studios, Ahonya, Eneza Education and SafariDesk.
The startups also attended Afrikoin, an Africa-focused event on the future of payments and eComerce in Africa.
The startups include;
- Zished: A gifting e-commerce platform enabling the African diaspora to remain connected and able to share in moments with loved ones back home. Currently piloting in Ghana, Zished was founded in 2013 by Kojo Ayirebi (B.A. Economics, 4 years financial services and consulting experience – Citigroup N.A. and RSL) and Christiane Koenig (B.A. Economics & French, 2 years marketing and sales experience – Wells Fargo and Diageo). Truston Ailende (B.Sc. Systems Engineering, 6 years software development experience) serves as CTO. Zished is headquartered in Accra, Ghana.
- Inforex: A platform connecting Forex Bureaus within Africa allowing them to check and trade currencies, and enabling them to trade currency with private companies at the best available rates. Inforex also offers a mobile and web solution for individuals interested in locating Bureaus and with the best rates. The company Inforex Africa, headquartered in Kampala, Uganda, was founded in 2012 by Allan Amayo (B.A. Comms, 1 year Forex Bureau experience), Samuel Odeke (6 years dev experience), Christine Nafuna (B.IT, 2 years sales & marketing experience), Tony Rukera (B.IT, 3 years project mgmt experience), and Kenneth Manana (2 years advertising & marketing experience).
- InstAid: A secure SMS and USSD solution that enables organizations to create and manage distribution of e-vouchers for medical and nutritional supplies to reach 100% of their intended population. InstAid also enables individuals to purchase and send specific medical and nutritional vouchers to friends and family members. The company CardPlanet Solutions, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, was founded in 2012 by Rodgers Muhadi (B.S. Electronics Engineering, four years of payments industry experience) and Sam Masinde (B.S. Computer Science).
- Zatiti: A web and mobile site builder and e-commerce platform enabling small merchants in Africa to have a presence and ability to sell online. No technical skills are needed to create a site that is search engine optimized and can reach customers on mobile phones, tablets, and desktops. The company Gereji Limited, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, was founded in 2013 by David Njuguna (Bsc. Computer Science, 11 years Web Software Development Engineering) and Grace Kiburi (B.Sc. Information Technology, 5 years in online marketing and customer relations).