Africa-focused seed capital fund Savannah Fund specializing in US$25,000-US$500,000 investments in early stage high growth technology (web and mobile) startups has today announced its third accelerator class with BIGxGh from Ghana, UniSmart from Nigeria and Zevan Limited from Kenya.
According to the fund, BiGxGh.com (which is more like a Vimeo or RapGenius for Africa) founded by Prince Boakye is Ghana’s number one music website and gives Ghanaian musicians a platform to display their art to Ghana music fans worldwide. BiGxGh and is at the moment the go-to online destination for Ghana music related content and a promotional powerhouse for both established and up-and-coming artists. In 2013, the site had over 20 million site views. With the largest communities of Ghana music enthusiasts online and Ghana’s “Top 4 YouTube Channels in Ghana.” according to Google, BiGxGh.com has a great future. It’s most downloaded song has over 523,000 downloads.
The second startup in the funds 3rd accelerator class is UniSmart, a Nigeria-based student loyalty platform, connecting verified Nigerian students with local and national discounts and deals. UniSmart was founded by Frederik Obasi and launched in February this year and has already worked with international brands, such as Nike, Puma, Levis and United Colors of Benetton and has over 1000 users. Allowing Nigerian students to redeem perks at the point of sale both on line and in store, UniSmart has partnered with leading Nigerian institutions, such as University of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest university with over 45,000 students.
The third and final startup in the funds third accelerator class is Kenya’s Zevan Limited founded by Stephen Kimiri. Zevan is running SokoShamba, a product that enables farmers to access affordable delivery transports by rerouting empty return trips to pick up deliveries and send crops to populations that purchase them. So far, the return-trip systemization and optimization platform (RTSOP) has 3 major logistic companies using it and has rerouted 177 trips.
In a blogpost, Savannah Fund says the three startups were chosen from 95 total applications. As its requirement, 54.25 percent of these applications have a technical co-founder while 71.27 percent already had a URL presence which is a 4.6 percent increase compared to its second accelerator class.
With 13 startups under its name, Savannah Fund, initially focused on East Africa invests around $25,000 into the startups for a 15% equity stake It’s portfolio includes education, gaming, eCommerce, agriculture, financial services and payments among others. It’s 3rd class ends at the end July.
Last year, the fund invested in four African startups and trained them through marketing, PR, product development among others. Savannah Fund says it aims to bridge the angel and venture capital investment gap that currently exists in Africa by combining capital with mentor networks both in the region and from Silicon Valley via an accelerator program and a follow-on independent seed fund. Just last month, Ahonya, a startup from its second accelerator class received follow on funding from Rio Partners.
When TechMoran reached out to Mbwana on why they are investing in less startups each year, he said, “We do 3-5 startups depending on the capacity of the team. We are not a sausage factory for startups, we would rather have a smaller class and focus on helping them than a bigger class and diluting our teams across too many startups for the sake of “living up the hype”.