Four Startups selected to represent the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Africa Regional Summit

Kinshasa’s finest startups that will represent DR Congo in Maputo

During Seedstars Kinshasa that took place on Friday the previous week, four promising startups were selected to represent their own country at the Seedstars Africa Summit which will be held in Maputo, Mozambique. The event will happen in three day conference along with other startups from 20 African countries which proved to be the best in their respective countries.

Seedstars World the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes brought its DR Congo round to a successful close during Seedstars Kinshasa. The event took place at Béatrice Hotel, and seven selected startups were invited to present their ideas in front of the local jury panel.The four startups which were selected to represent the Democratic Republic of Congo at the regional summit taking place next month in Maputo, Mozambique from 12-14th of December are:

  1. Youdee, an online platform specializing in the real estate industry represented by Jean Louis Mbaka,Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, and Thomas Strouvens the Executive Director.
  2. Ufumbuzi, a mobile data storage and sharing platform represented by Nathan Ntshimba Bolongo, founder and executive director;
  3. Eteyelo, an online educational platform represented by Archippe Araza, Chief Operating Officer;
  4. Benda Photo, a photo printing and delivery app represented by Albenise Balala, co-founder and COO

The four winners will fly to Maputo, Mozambique where they will participate to an intensive bootcamp and to an Investors day. One of them will be selected by the Seedstars team to represent the DRC at the Seedstars Africa regional final on December 14, 2017 in Maputo.

The other startups invited to pitch were:

McShop, represented by Mike Bondo, CEO. McShop is an online platform that allows local and international brandsto sell their products online to customersin DRC and deliver them to their home.

U-Cash by M. Developer, represented by Anthony Kahindo Mumbere, CEO and founder. Ucash is an innovative platform which aims to facilitate and accelerate mobile money companies’ activities in DRC.

SOGELEC, represented by Tony Bintu, CEO and founder. Congo-Light Energy of SOGELEC aims to supply Congolese households a reliable and eco-friendly energy source at an affordable price.

The event was made possible thanks to the support provided by our main partner Elan RDC, UK Aid, and our local ambassador Konnect, as well as our regional partners Orange, Enel Green Power, Merck, VC4A and Microsoft 4Afrika.

ELAN RDC is a private sector development program in the DRC, funded by UKaid and managed by Adam Smith International. ELAN RDC tackles the root causes of market failures by working with the private sector in six sectors, predominately with Congolese businesses, to design and disseminate new business models that increase incomes, create jobs and reduce prices for the poor.

Konnect supports tech businesses and helps Congolese startups from different sectors in the development of viable business models. Konnect provides in-depth operational support to entrepreneurs and helps them better understand and penetrate their target markets.

Analyzing TSTV Africa’s “5000” Penetration Strategy; will it crown them King of Satellite TV in Nigeria? {cont’d}


Continuing our analysis of TSTV Africa’s “5000” penetration strategy, we conclude by looking at the second part of the strategy below.

2. Gifting 5,000 Decoders

Though the satellite TV launched on the first day of October, it won’t however be available till November. But come November 1st, the Cheif Executive Office who is also the Managing Director, Bright Echefu have made it known that five thousand (5,000) decoders and satellite dishes will be given out for free to selected individuals in different regions across all 36 states in the country. Keyword here being FREE.

As it mostly is with every new brand, it is understandable to want to give out gifts or offer services to customers at a discounted price for the sole purpose of attracting customers. But trust me when I say 5,000 is a lot. Subjection this to calculation, giving out 5,000 Decoders for free is equivalent to the company giving out 25 million naira (given that a decoder is worth 5,000 naira).

If one cue can be taken from the above information, it would be that TSTV is not here to play. To further shows how thirsty TSTV is to dominate the Nigerian Pay TV market, the C.E.O in a chat with people of the press about 2 weeks ago made it known that the 5,000 recipients of the free decoders will also enjoy free installation in their respective homes.

Meanwhile, while the “lucky” 5,000 recipients of the free decoders will be all smiles, happy and most definitely promote TSTV via recommendation, TSTV as a company also stands to benefit from the as it provides an avenue to test the ​strength of their signal and better their services; typical example of a win-win scenario, with TSTV being the bigger winner.

3. Employing 5,000 Nigerians

While TSTV revealed that a total of 3,000 person’s and companies have applied to be their agents, a Vanguard NG post also disclosed that the Satellite TV company has plans to hire 5,000 Nigerians. This move aims at reducing unemployment rate in the country as well as ensuring full coverage, presence and forceful penetration in all states of the nation.

In a nutshell, the low 5,000 naira purchase price tag, the gifting of free decoders to 5,000 individuals, employment of 5,000 individuals, free installation, the inherent curiosity and naive nature of Nigerians to try new things, as well as the mouth-watering complementary packages of TSTV all boils down to providing revolutionary Pay-As-You-Consume Pay TV to Nigeria.

But will the above strategy make them the favourite Satellite TV of the Nigerian people? Will they penetrate deep into the Nigeria Pay TV market? How soon can they trump the rivalry and dominance of other satellite TV brands? Can they sustain the cheap service price and subscription fees? Will the Pay TV company provide quality service? Will TSTV become King of Satellite TV in Nigeria? Time, they say, will definitely tell.

Analyzing TSTV Africa’s “5000” Penetration Strategy; will it crown them King of Satellite TV in Nigeria?


It wasn’t too long ago that Telecoms Satellites (TSTV) Africa launched in Nigeria and we also reported the incredible services they proposed to offer and the unbelievably juicy complementary bonuses and attractions that followed. One of the highlight attraction was the affordably cheap price of the Set Top Box and entire TSTV setup (compared to other Satellite TVs) which was pegged at N5,000. And while we were still dangling in the web of the affordability euphoria, TSTV pulled up another “5,000” stunt (will be discussed below).

We will therefore do some breakdown to see if TSTV can penetrate deep into the heart, mind and soul of Nigerians to the point of loyalty.

1. The 5,000 Naira Purchase Price

TSTV boasts of over 200 channels ranging from Sport, to Entertainment, to Kiddies Channels, Religion, Movies and many more. But to have access to this, the entire TSTV Set Top Box which comprises of the square-shaped decoder, Satellite Dish, Remote and some cables is required to be installed in one’s home. Now to the best part; it all costs N5,000 only (well, according to TSTV).

The N5,000 price tag puts TSTV right at the bottom of all other Satellite TVs in the region putting price as the basis of comparison.

The Cable TV that can come close to rivaling this price is StarTimes. The StarTimes Set Top Box comprises of a decoder, an indoor antenna, a remote, and one month of free subscription, all between N3,900 – N6,400. But (yeah, there’s a but) if you live in an area in the country where StarTimes frequency or network reception is poor, you will purchase and outdoor dish which will cost you additional fee and take purchase to a total of N8,800. So, TSTV wins.

GoTV (also run by MultiChoice, the same company that runs DSTV) can also rival TSTV. GoTV’s Set Top Box comprises of a decoder, remote, an indoor antenna and comes with one month of free subscription on purchase. Interestingly, GoTV does not require an outdoor dish but comes in at N6,900, N1,900 higher than what TSTV is offering. However, asides the price factor, it is only logical for Nigerians to pick TSTV over GoTV because the latter is offering access to over 200 channels, while the former, 38.

Therefore, going by the “The lower the price, the higher the demand, and vice versa” primary rule of Economics, I believe the N5,000 price tag strategy will snowball the demand for TSTV, or even maybe abnormally but that is only if the low price is accompanied by great, stable, charming and enticing contents. And if TSTV can pull that off, it is only normal for positive feedbacks and recommendations to follow, and before you know it, the Satellite TV will ride comfortably to the throne of dominance.


How to find Investors for your Startup




Africa has experienced a rampant rise of inventions and startups that have gone a long way from the minds of inventors to disrupting the Sub Saharan ecosystem solving very many problems that have been a setback to the growth of the continent for ages. From the rise of startups in fintech helping in payment related challenges, innovations in media and advertising mechanisms, health sector, eCommerce and so many others. It is evident that through technology Africa will unleash its potential as a continent on the rise with new opportunities coming up thus entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas have the chance to bring them to life.

Starting a startup and scaling it up has not been a walk in the park to many African change makers due to so many prevailing factors and conditions. One of the biggest factor is the struggle to have a sustaining financial muscle that makes it possible  for startups to develop their products and services and growing their customer base. The ability of a startup to attract a pool of investors is one of the ways of ensuring a startup survives  its initial stages. Investors who believe in an idea have the power to determine the success of a startup but the big question remains on where to find the suitable investors who will pump in finances and advice. Here are several primary strategies startups can use to meet investors.

Cold Call Submissions

There are countless lists of Angel Investor groups online over the internet where you can research and find out what firms do deals in what industries and then send them a proposal to them for review. Be sure that your chances of even getting an answer is at best one percent and your chance of that answer being a yes is about the same as that of getting hit by a car crossing the street while reading this article. The main point is that you really need to have your idea pitched at its best since you are using email to reach out to investors.

Using a Deal Broker

Way back before the internet when dinosaurs roamed the earth, If you wanted to get the attention of an Angel Investor, Venture Capital firms or Private equity firms you had to go to a broker pay a good sum of money to have them develop a plan for you and then use their connections as a broker to introduce you to deal makers. Most of these ‘plan sharks’ as I would call them, are just looking to take money and have no more chance of getting your startup funded than one percent and above.

Online Communities

There are so many online communities such as Gust, SeenInvest and Crunchbase which are a den of high profile investors that out lay what each of the investors are looking to invest in. It is therefore hard to go wrong with a strategy like that and often has a good chance of hearing from the investors

Local Angel Investor Network

Some investors prefer to invest locally. Local investors have access to inside data on local business startups and can plug in you into a good number of opportunities. Most of these networks have a range of the amount of funds they are wiling to put in startups but they offer a good chance for entrepreneurs. A good example is Kenya’s KCB Lions Den.

Retain a Business or Patent Legislator

The best way to get introduced to ‘people who know people’ is to hire the best lawyer or attorney that money can buy, pay the retainer, take them to lunch once in a while then have them introduce you to other clients of theirs that are in a similar industries that can help you move your deal forward. This has a high chance of success and lunch is always good.

Crowdfund It

This happens to be one of the widely used means of funding startups where many small amounts of money are raised from a large number of people over the internet. It involves  three parties: The project initiator who proposes the project, individuals or groups who support the project as see it being viable and a moderating organization which brings the parties together Kickstarter being an example

Private Investors

The best chance of getting funded are private investors who are actively seeking and building opportunities. This is a much better odds if you have your act together. If you have something that is ready then it is the best chance of moving forward you will find.


Branch confirms its $2m funding & officially launches in Nigeria


Mobile financial services firm Branch has confirmed it raised KSh200m through a commercial paper arranged by Kenya’s Nabo Capital as TechMoran had earlier reported.

The firm has officially launched in Nigeria too, after reaching 450,000 customers in Kenya who have collectively taken out 2m loans totalling KSh 4 billion.

“Branch has achieved something unique in the Kenyan market. Despite being a startup that’s less than 3 years old, they have managed to issue a competitively-priced paper without relying on any external guarantees”, said Teresia Muthoni, General Manager of Advisory at Nabo Capital.

Since launching in the Kenyan market in the spring of 2015, Branch has seen strong demand for its unsecured loans. Applications for up to KSh 50,000 can be made via the Branch Android app, with successful applicants receiving their loans via M-Pesa in seconds.

The mobile lender has reached a monthly disbursement run-rate of KSh 400m and is growing its loan book by 15% every month. Branch used its loan book as collateral for the facility in one of the first deals of its kind.

Daniel Szlapak, Director of Africa for Branch, explains that the company will look to debt funding to expand its business worldwide.  “We expect to raise close to $50 million dollars in both equity and debt funding in the months ahead as we take the Branch App to emerging economies across the globe.”

The company expanded to Tanzania in 2016 and has recently started lending  in Nigeria.  Other markets across the globe will follow. Branch uses proprietary machine learning algorithm to make lending decisions. It uses advanced data science to calculate a credit score for its customers by analysing the information on their phone. Branch’s toughest competitor is Silicon Valley-based and heavily funded Tala formerly known as Mkopo Rahisi.

In December 2015, Branch became the first African company to raise investment from US firm Andreessen Horowitz, whose portfolio includes Facebook and AirBnB, closing a $9.2m Series A round. The mobile-based financial services company has since raised over $15m in equity and debt funding to date.

Application For The Second Edition of Digital Africa Challenge Now Open


Application for the second edition of Digital Africa challenge, a startup competition and digital innovation to support sustainable development in Africa has opened.

The first edition of the Digital Africa challenge, launched in October 2016, received more than 500 applications and rewarded 10 startups.

Building on this success, the brains behind the challenge, Agence Française de Développement, Bpifrance and La French Tech have decided to renew the experience with the objective of offering a long-term support to the emergence of mature and solid digital ecosystems, catalysers of new economic opportunities.

Commenting on the Digital Africa challenge,  Rémy Rioux, AFD Executive Director said: “Digital innovation is abundant in Africa. Africans are making a technological leap that accelerates the emergence of the continent. Through Digital Africa, AFD supports emblematic start-ups of the digital African ecosystems, and fulfils its mission of development in the service of education and innovation, in the digital age. Development is now moving in both directions, between the two shores of the Mediterranean” –

On his part, Nicolas Dufourcq, Bpifrance Executive Director claims: “We are proud to participate in the Digital Africa challenge and to support 5 French start-ups in their development on the African continent which nowadays offers great opportunities. This challenge represents a straight continuation of our action for the internalization of enterprises and their cooperation with the African continent”.


  1. All the startup winners of this second edition of the Digital Africa challenge will benefit from a high visibility and access an international network of partners, clients and investors.
  2. They will be part of a community that gathers the best talents of digital innovation in Africa and for Africa, in order to share experiences and good practices.
  3. The 5 African winning startups will be accompanied by the AFD through an “acceleration pack”, a customizable, technical and financial support up to a 30.000 euros value.

The 5 French winning startups will be accompanied by Bpifrance up to a 10.000 euros value support pack to strengthen their expertise and develop new opportunities on the African continent: Bpifrance Université training, networking and discovery trip to Abidjan and Cape Town with the French entrepreneur’s community in the French Tech Hubs.

What are the selection criteria?

For the second edition of Digital Africa, startups are invited to propose innovative projects linked to the following themes:

  • Territory (urban challenge, rural transformation, and Smart City etc.)
  • Citizenship (e-government, civic engagement, activism, and alternative media etc.)
  • Knowledge and creativity (education, formation, creative and cultural industries etc.)
  • Environment and climate (green tech, clean tech, sustainable transportation, blue economy, and renewable energies etc.)
  • The relevance of the solutions proposed, their feasibility, sustainability and potential impact will be key criteria in the selection process divided into several steps:


A review of the pre-selected projects by AFD and Bpifrance experts;
A final selection by a jury composed by experts of the technological and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa.

*Pauline Mujawamariya, Director of the Innovation Prize for Africa – African Innovation Foundation;

*Tidjane Deme, General Partner of Partech Venture;

*Emeka Okofore, TED Global, for Africa;

*Aissatou Sow, Director of Development in Africa, Intel Corporation;

*Erick Young, CEO Greentec Capital Partners.

The submission deadline is 22 October 2017. Click here to apply.

Société Générale Set To Disrupt Africa’s Mobile Payment System With The Launch of YUP


Société Générale has announced the launch of YUP, a mobile money solution that provides access to financial services even without having a bank account.

Deployed in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, YUP already has more than 30,000 open wallets and nearly 600 agents. YUP will continue its development by launching in Ghana and Cameroon by the end of the year and in 2018 in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Togo before being extended to the entire network.

Société Générale hopes to open 1 million wallets within 3 years, doubling its customer base in sub-Saharan Africa, and building a network of 8,000 agents to serve their users.

Commenting on the launch, Alexandre Maymat, Head of the Africa/Mediterranean Basin & Overseas region said: “Africa is inventing the future of banking. The project’s key ambition is to be a part of this revolution by offering a simple transactional tool that’s accessible to all residents of the countries in which Societe Generale does business, be they individuals or corporations, Group customers, account holders with our competitors, or customers without bank accounts. This last category makes up 80%-90% of the population depending on the country, and it’s a major financial inclusion challenge in which the Group wants to take part through YUP.”

The wallet, built on technology from French start-up firm TagPay, allows customers to transfer money, receive cash and pay bills with a mobile phone. It is targeted at both banked and unbanked customers and is available to any mobile phone user, regardless of its telephone operator.


General Electric Signs Three Year Partnership Agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise To Provide Digital Solutions Across Africa, Middle East And Turkey


GE signed a strategic partnership agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise that will bring GE Digital’s breakthrough digital industrial solutions at scale to the Middle East, Africa & Turkey. The three-year agreement worth  $25 million with HPE is the first collaboration of this scale and scope in the region and will focus primarily on cyber security solutions in Operational Technology, with the potential to move into other digital solution in the future.

One of the first solutions this partnership will focus on is OpShield from GE Digital. OpShield was created specifically to protect critical infrastructure, drawing on years of embedded device testing and assessments of hundreds of industrial facilities. The solution reduces the risk of cyber related unplanned downtime; improves asset protection from cyber-related damage; helps safeguard protected health information (PHI); reduces the risk of damage to reputation and intellectual property theft due to cyber incidents, and increases customers’ confidence to connect and optimize assets.

In the first year of the partnership, GE Digital Cyber Security solutions will be distributed through the HPE Channel Partner Network across the MEA &T region, with a particular focus on the Gulf, Levant, Northern Africa, South Africa, and Turkey. By using this existing Partner Network with more than 1,500 partners in the region today, HPE and GED together will bring critical digital and cyber security solutions to industrial controls and infrastructure networks. To enable this outreach, the HPE Partner Ready Program (recognized as the industry’s number one partner program in EMEA will ensure that more than 340 HPE specialists and Channel Partner technical and sales resources will be trained and certified on GE Digital solutions to deliver the solution on HPE storage and server infrastructure. In addition, HPE’s own security capabilities for information technology infrastructure will complement the solutions provided by GE for the operational technology environment.

Ali Saleh, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for GE Digital MEA said, “This partnership will enable our most important customers and partners in the region to begin the journey of digital transformation in a secure environment. HPE has the strongest partner program among peers to manage a partnership of this scope and scale, to bolster a secure digital ecosystem, and reach customers quickly through an innovative business model.”

Johannes Koch, Managing Director, Middle East and Africa for HPE said, “This agreement for the Middle East, Africa & Turkey builds on our global partnership with GE to help our customers and partners take advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things and drive digital transformation across their business. The requirement for security in both information technology and operational technology environments, and the need to protect critical infrastructures makes this an ideal opportunity for our partners.”
GE Digital and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have also agreed to discussions around bringing Predix-based applications to the market. Predix is the platform for the Industrial Internet of Things – connecting machines, data, and people to power the digital industrial companies of the future. It is the foundation that enables industrial businesses to securely collect and analyze data in real time so they can operate faster, smarter, and more efficiently. Specifically, GE Digital and HPE will look at “on premise” Predix-based applications. Predix is the only platform that provides connectivity capabilities from machines to full premises, and all the way to the cloud for a complete, integrated view of a company’s devices, processes, and people.

GE has introduced its advanced digital capabilities in the Middle East, Africa & Turkey through several landmark agreements announced over the last year. With a presence of over 80 years, GE has more than 20,000 employees in the region driving the Aviation, Digital, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, Power and Transportation businesses.

See the List of 2017-2019 Next Einstein Forum Fellows, Africa’s Top Scientists Solving Global Challenges


The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) has announces its second Fellows Class, 16 scientists, all under 42 years of age, who are solving Africa’s and the world’s challenges. An initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the NEF will hold its second global forum for science in Kigali, Rwanda, under the patronage of H.E. President Paul Kagame.

Central to the NEF’s vision of propelling Africa onto the global scientific stage, the NEF Fellows will present their groundbreaking research at the NEF Global Gathering 2018, to be held on 26-28 March 2018, and help craft an exciting, high impact forum.

“Two years ago it was my great honor to announce the inaugural Fellows Class. Today again, I am excited to announce a brilliant NEF Fellows Class. The selected Fellows, six of whom are women, are doing cutting edge research in renewable energy, nanomaterials and nanotechnology, food security, regenerative medicine, cognitive systems related to fintech, cosmology, seismology etc. Beyond just theoretical research, our Fellows have developed impressive technologies from their research. We strongly believe their discoveries and initiatives, current and future, will solve global challenges in health, energy, climate change, education, agriculture to name a few,” said Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS and Chairman of the NEF.

NEF Fellows are selected by a prestigious Scientific Programme Committee using a rigorous process that looks at academic and scientific qualifications including a strong publication record, patents, awards, and independently raised funds for research. Fellows also have to demonstrate the relevance and impact of their research/innovations to society as well as a passion for raising Africa’s scientific profile and inspiring the next generation of scientific leaders.

Meet the 2017-2019 NEF Fellows:

  • Vinet Coetzee (South Africa) is working on affordable and non-invasive methods to screen children for nutrient deficiencies and inborn conditions, by training computer models to recognise the links between physical features and these conditions. For instance, Vinet’s team developed an affordable 3D camera at one tenth of the price of comparable commercial systems.
  • Abdigani Diriye (Somalia) is developing, together with his team at IBM Research Africa, new approaches to mine, model and score people, identifying the right amount of credit and appropriate products. Last year, they developed a machine learning approach that leverages new data sources (mobile phone behavior) to evaluate the financial profile and credit score of millions of people in East Africa.
  • Kevin Dzobo (Zimbabwe) is leading an inter-university collaboration between ICGEB/University of Cape and the University of Pretoria on developing a ‘stem cell-ECM’ bandage or patch which when fully developed can be used on injured tissue.
  • Jonathan Esole (DRC) introduced, while at Harvard University, a new topological invariant known as the orientifold Euler characteristic, which is now used daily by physicists working in F-theory. Jonathan also solved problems in supergravity open for more than twenty years.
  • Yabebal Fantaye (Ethiopia) investigates the statistical properties of the Universe using the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) data from the Planck satellite. More practically, his research focuses on developing machine learning and other advanced statistical methods for harnessing the African GIS and social Big Data for extracting actionable insights to help Africa meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Aminta Garba (Niger) is interested in finding key policies, technologies and applications relevant to the development of ICT, particularly in rural and underserved areas. As well, she is interested in methods that allow increasing the data rate of communication systems by shaping and reducing the interference.
  • Mamadou Kaba’s (Guinea) research projects led to better understanding of the risks of transmission of hepatitis E virus (HEV) from animals to humans. He is currently conducting a prospective longitudinal study on how the composition of the respiratory tract and gastrointestinal microbial communities (microbiota) influences the development of respiratory diseases in African children.
  • Rym Kefi (Tunisia) is mainly involved in research on human genetic disorders, genetic diversity in North Africa and the impact of consanguinity on health. As well, she is strengthening research on ancient DNA and providing genetic profiling for paternity tests and human forensic identification at Institut Pasteur de Tunis.
  • Aku Kwamie’s (Ghana) research is in the area of health system governance, looking at how and where within health systems decisions get made, applying complexity theory to issues of management and leadership, accountability and organizational innovation.
  • Justus Masa (Uganda) leads several research projects in the field of electrocatalysis and energy conversion, focused on the development of advanced low-cost catalysts and electrode materials for electrochemical energy systems, including fuel cells, electrolyzers (power to gas energy conversion), rechargeable metal-air batteries and other modern battery systems.
  • Sanushka Naidoo (South Africa) is dedicated to plant defense in the forest species, with an emphasis on Eucalyptus. Her research is focusing on mechanisms that can confer broad-spectrum, long lasting resistance by dissecting gene families and responses to pests and pathogens.
  • Maha Nasr (Egypt) focuses on advanced technologies such as nanotechnology based drug carriers and composite delivery systems. She is currently investigating the possibility of creation of novel carriers for treatment of diseases, mainly cancer and Alzheimer’s.
  • Sidy Ndao’s (Senegal) research group has recently developed the world’s first high temperature thermal rectifier, a building block for future High Temperature Thermal Memory and Logic Devices, i.e., thermal computer. He is also the founder of the Pan-African Robotics Competition.
  • Peter Ngene (Nigeria) developed a strategy which is now widely used to make complex hydride nanocomposite materials for reversible hydrogen storage applications and solid-state electrolytes for rechargeable batteries. He has also developed inexpensive eye-readable hydrogen sensors for the diagnosis of lactose intolerance via hydrogen breath test.
  • Tolulope Olugboji (Nigeria) builds sophisticated computer models and designs novel remote sub-surface imaging techniques to improve the understanding of the architecture and composition of the solid Earth interior.
  • Hamidou Tembine’s (Mali) research investigates game theory and aims to contribute significantly to existing knowledge on the interactive decision-making problems with incomplete information, and in the presence of self-regarding, other-regarding, altruistic, spiteful, risk-sensitive, and irrational agents.

VC4A Launches Startup Academy


Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A), African platform for startup funding, has launched VC4A Startup Academy, an online resource designed to empower founders to take their business to the next level.

Founders can take their business to the next level by learning about the latest insights, download tools and listen to advice from 35 experts active in the emerging African startup ecosystem.

The VC4A Startup Academy is broken down into three learning courses, each focused on a different life-stage of a starting business.

The first course is called, ‘Start your business’, and introduces participants to main themes to consider during the founding stage of a startup. Course two is ‘Grow your business’, and covers what’s needed after a startup finds its feet and is ready to scale up. And course three, is ‘Finance your business’, introducing different funding concepts and tips on how to raise capital.

The theoretical content is presented by Andile Masuku (African Tech Roundup), and among the experts are the likes of Tomi Davies of the Lagos Angel Network, Rebecca Enonchong of the African Business Angel Network, Brett Commaille of AngelHub Ventures, Fatoumata Ba of Jumia, Emeka Afigbo of Facebook and Wim van der Beek of Goodwell Investments.

Content on the platform is available free of charge and can be accessed by members registered on VC4A.com. After each module, participants can test their learning by taking a quiz and unlock a personalized certificate that can be downloaded, and to recognize the entrepreneur for successfully completing the course. Graduates from the VC4A Startup Academy gain access to the VC4A Mentorship Marketplace, select startup opportunities and fundraising tools.

According to the VC4A founder, Ben White, “We are committed to helping entrepreneurs enhance their capabilities by providing knowledge and expertise that will empower them to successfully grow their business. Industry insiders pass on wisdom earned over the course of their careers as they’ve built companies, invested in startups, and raised venture capital. With this Academy we are working to unlock this knowledge in a way that makes it more accessible to a new generation of founders coming up across the continent.”

Six Ways Autonomous Vehicles Will Benefit Africa


Self-driving cars are no doubt the future of the automobile industry. Although autonomous vehicles are yet to hit African roads, it has been tested and used severally in the US and other countries. In fact, the billions of dollars being spent on making self-driving cars a reality should even convince doubters that these cars will soon become a reality. Thus, whether we like it or not and even if a Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer study found that 47% of South African consumers desire limited self-driving technology, with 39% interested in full self-driving vehicles, self-driving cars are here to stay As such, we share some of the benefits of self-driving cars.

Fewer accidents

The leading cause of most automobile accidents today is driver error. Alcohol, drugs, speeding, aggressive driving, inexperience, slow reaction time, inattentiveness, and ignoring road conditions are all contributing factors. All this will be avoided if autonomous vehicles take over the roads.

Reduced traffic congestion

One of the leading causes of traffic gridlock is self-centred behaviour among drivers. It has been shown when drivers space out and allow each other to move freely between lanes on the highway, traffic continues to flow smoothly, regardless of the number of cars on the road. Perhaps, this will be a perfect solution for the traffic imbroglio major African capitals like Nairobi, Lagos, Cairo, Addi Ababa, Kigali, Accra, and Johannesburg.

Lower fuel consumption

With car-to-car communications systems enabled, self-driving cars would know the next action of the cars in front of them. Consequently, the road will be free and as a result, car owners will spend less on fuel. In fact, it has been rumoured that some of the autonomous vehicles may not need fuel but batteries.

Improved productivity

With you not driving your car, you can focus on work and other things on your way to work. This will definitely boost your productivity.  Thus, you will be able to finish up a project, type a letter, monitor the progress of your kid’s schoolwork, return phone calls, take phone calls safely and enjoy the ride.

Better mobility for children, elderly, and disabled

If you are visually impaired, can’t walk, or you’re older, self-driving cars can ease the burden of transportation for you considerably. So, the aforementioned people can get to work just as easily as sighted people.

Little or no presence of traffic officers

If every car is plugged into the grid and driving itself, then speeding,—along with stop sign and red light running will be eliminated. The traffic officer will become redundant and have little or nothing to do.

Co-working space Nairobi Garage moves to bigger premises as demand skyrockets


Office, co-working and event space provider  Nairobi Garage has moved to a 33,000sqft premise as demand for shared offices skyrockets in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy.

Now taking up three floors of an entire office development, the new Nairobi Garage is located on Ngong Road’s Pinetree Plaza, just a few minutes away from its previous premises.

“We’re thrilled to unveil the all-new Nairobi Garage // Ngong Road today. With our old premises at full capacity, we embarked upon an ambitious project to design and create a state-of-the art headquarters for Kenya’s entrepreneurs and business leaders.  Today we’re excited to open the doors to the new and improved Nairobi Garage, and look forward to welcoming old and new faces,” said Hannah Clifford, director of Nairobi Garage.

The new space also has a club membership model allowing entrepreneurs, creatives and investors to walk in, use the space on-demand whenever they need to instead of paying for a full-time office space. The development highlights the growing demand for serviced shared offices and co-working spaces in Nairobi and globally as tech hubs and incubators look to new business models. Nairobi Garage began as a tech hub complete with a startup fund but its accelerator arm has since been quietly closed after the firm said it would pause fundraising and doing seed stage investments.

iHub went all out for this shared office space model limiting which groups of entrepreneurs access and use the space as a tech hub. Nailab has also intensified its efforts to provide companies a place to work and do their events from. The shift is not just happening in Nairobi,  WeWork,which runs shared office space in the US and various parts of Europe has sold these flexible office dream to hundreds of enterprises and its continuing with its global expansion.

WeWork, now runs in over 200 locations in 50 plus cities and is reportedly worth over $20bn and is among the world’s 10 most valuable start-ups, according to a report by the FT beating oldie Regus which is run in 3,000 locations in 1,000 cities but valued at just $4.1bn. Though Nairobi Garage is yet to launch in as many locations as its global counterparts, it’s targeting entrepreneurial cities such Nairobi and Lagos with plans to expand further. These expansion in Nairobi could be its great start to launching Garages across Africa and probably exiting to WeWork in the near future.

To get your 10% discount on your first three months membership, book your visit now, or contact [email protected].



eBay And Mall for Africa Partner To Bring African Goods To Global Shoppers


eBay and Mall for Africa have partnered to make it possible for shoppers in any part of the world to purchase African goods.The partnership expands upon an existing relationship between the two companies, which allows Africans the ability to purchase items from eBayforAfrica.com or directly through the Mall for Africa app.

The partnership expands upon an existing relationship between the two companies, which allows Africans the ability to purchase items from eBayforAfrica.com or directly through the Mall for Africa app.

Mall for Africa and eBay will now provide Africans in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, and Burundi a new platform to sell their one-of-a-kind artisan products into the U.S. The inventory will be surfaced on the Mall for Africa store on eBay.com, allowing sellers to expand their businesses and increase brand awareness. To start, product categories will include fashion, art & collectables, jewellery, and clothing.  Expansion into other categories and additional African countries will occur in the upcoming months.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with extending our partnership with eBay as we empower, expose, and positively affect thousands of hardworking artisans while making it convenient for US shoppers to purchase African made products that would otherwise be unavailable to them, “said Chris Folayan, CEO of Mall for Africa. “As someone who grew up in Africa became an entrepreneur, and who currently does business in Africa, I know first-hand the importance of cross-border trade and having the opportunity to expand a business internationally.”

Mall for Africa’s long-time shipping partner, DHL, will be responsible for all shipping needs. The seller simply packs the product, prints the label, and drops the package off at DHL’s nearest drop-off location.  Last February, DHL published research that indicated a significant forthcoming increase in cross-border e-commerce sales. It also asserts that in 2020, 1 out of 5 e-commerce dollars will be generated cross-border and the market is anticipated to grow at 25% annually—almost twice the rate of domestic e-commerce.

“eBay’s vision for commerce is one that is enabled by people, powered by technology, and open to everyone,” said Sylvie De Wever, eBay’s General Manager of Latin America and US Exports. “This expanded relationship with Mall for Africa will not only bring great inventory and more selection to our marketplace but will also create greater economic opportunity for African artisans looking to expand their reach.”

Mall for Africa provides African consumers with a platform to purchase items directly from over 200 of the best US and UK retailers in the world. As a leader in the industry, MFA manages every step of the order process, offering its customers a simple, secure and convenient solution to online shopping.


Promising African Startups Can Now Apply For The Second Batch of The In2Korea Accelerator


The Korean government has launched a second batch acceleration programme to lure African and foreign startups to the Asian country. Tagged In2Korea, it aims to assist foreign startups to relocate to Korea.

The programme, which is managed by Korea’s National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA), is open to all tech startups with a minimum viable product that is keen on developing their business in Korea. Only 30 spots are available.

In In2Korea’s first batch 31 teams from 18 countries including South Africa, Russia, India and Singapore were selected. The cohort will kick off next week on 21 August.

Guillaume Parvaix, the programme’s media liaison, said three African startups had been selected to join the first cohort. They are Hello Denim Africa, and digital wallet company, Jump Queue, both from South Africa as well as a Ghanaian startup, True West Media Consult.

“In2Korea helps startup entrepreneurs, professional job seekers and investors succeed in Asia’s hottest startup hub, Korea,” said DJ Kim, Vice President of NIPA, the National IT Industry Promotion Agency in charge of this program. “We’ve already recruited some of the best mentors and area experts in Korea, and they’re eager to get started working with the startups.”

Full perks for startups include:

  • Access to Experts: Legal, accounting, marketing and other professional services to help you take your business from a concept to corporation
  • Free Office Space: Work from Korea’s $160 million Startup Campus in Pangyo, within walking distance of Korea’s tech giants and 15 minutes from the glitz of Gangnam
  • Access to Talent: Exclusive access to monthly job fairs where you can meet qualified engineers, marketers and support staff
  • Fast Track Visa Process: Get your Korean Startup Visa within a matter of months, so you can legally do business in Asia’s new startup hub
  • Cultural Acclimation: Learn Korean and get insider tips from expats and entrepreneurs who have spent years succeeding in Korea

How To Apply

All foreign startups and entrepreneurs interested in developing their business in Korea are eligible to apply for the program. Rolling applications are now open. To apply and find more information, visit In2Korea’s website at www.in2korea.org.

One Africa Media, Owners of Jobberman Establishes Pan African Company To Cater For Cross Border Recruitment


One Africa Media Company, the owners of Jobberman and Brighter Monday, has floated a new pan-African company to cater for cross border recruitment in the continent.

The new company named The African Talent Company (TATC) was established due to the clients of the aforementioned companies that were asking for more services across the borders of Africa.

TATC will offer better-bespoke services in terms of recruiting, consulting, in terms research work, salary surveys and more HR involvement.

In addition, TATC will leverage on Jobberman and Brighter Monday which covers East, West and Southern Africa to help its client find the best candidate for African markets. For instance, if an employer in Nigeria wants to hire someone from Kenya all the employer needs to do is to contact TATC and they will get him the best candidate from East Africa through their entity Brighter Monday which operates in East Africa. An African company that is looking to hire from Indonesia for example, can also contact TATC to get the best candidate in from Indonesia.

Commenting on the new company, Lekan Olude, Co-founder of Jobberman and the African partner for TATC said: “Just because we were structured as a job website there were engagements that we couldn’t deliver so we decided to setup this company known as TATC. It is that company that gives clients the opportunity to be able to hire in any African country.”

This is good news for the continent as clients looking to hire staff no longer need to outsource this job to recruitment companies outside Africa.



Tencent Africa Launches Music Streaming Mobile App Launched in South Africa


A music streaming app, JOOX, that allows South Africans stream and download music has been launched by Tencent Africa.

The app comes with features, such as a rich locally curated playlists that provide a soundtrack for every mood. The application offers both a free and paid VIP experience providing offline music listening to save on mobile data. An additional feature allows for three different streaming quality options enabling listeners to manage their data consumption on-the-go.

Commenting, Brett Loubser, CEO of Tencent Africa Services said: “JOOX has seen tremendous success, surpassing its competitors to become the number one music streaming app in all four markets where it has launched. With the combination of a proven emerging markets content model and the experience of our local team, JOOX will provide a truly accessible and mobile-first experience for South African customers.”

JOOX has also secured relationships with all major international record labels ensuring that music lovers are able to stream all their favourite global hits and back catalogue. Two of such international record labels are Universal Music Africa and Sony Music Entertainment Africa.

Speaking on the partnership, Sipho Dlamini, the MD of Universal Music Africa said: “At Universal Music Group, we are working closely with digital distributors around the world to provide more consumer choice and competition in the market. With its intuitive and engaging features, JOOX has created a compelling mobile music streaming service. Working with local artists, Tencent Africa has paid close attention to the listening habits of South Africans and developed a service that has the potential to resonate with music fans across this ‘mobile first.”

“JOOX is differentiated by a compelling feature offering and we’ve observed the service to be both intuitive and engaging,” says Sean Watson, Managing Director Sony Music Entertainment Africa.

Customers who download JOOX will get their first month VIP access for FREE, as well as having access to an ongoing Freemium option. Paid VIP monthly access thereafter will cost R59.99 while two weeks’ VIP access will cost R29.99. JOOX is available from both the Apple iOS and Google Play stores.

Google To Train 10 Million Africans In Digital Skills


Google has announced plans to train 10 million people in Africa in online skills over the next five years in an effort to make them more employable

The U.S. technology giant also hopes to train 100,000 software developers in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa according to a company spokeswoman.

This pledge by Google marked an expansion of an initiative launched in April 2016 to train young Africans in digital skills. It announced earlier in March that it had reached its initial target of training one million people.

Google also announced plans to provide more than $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship and working space access to more than 60 African start-ups over three years.

In addition, YouTube will roll out a new app, YouTube Go, aimed at improving video streaming over slow networks, said Johanna Wright, vice president of YouTube.

YouTube Go is being tested in Nigeria as of June, and the trial version of the app will be offered globally later this year, she said.

China’s Didi acquires an undisclosed stake inTaxify to teach Uber a lesson in Europe & Africa


Didi Chuxing, China’s leading mobile transportation platform popularly known as Didi has invested an undisclosed amount in Taxify in Europe and Africa in a move that will see it expand its web of influence across the continent and definitely break Uber’s hold on some of these markets where Taxify is gaining ground.

The two did not specify the details about the deal but said they will collaborate  to support the Taxify’s further growth and innovation across its diversified markets. The 2013 launched firm is headquartered in  Estonia and offers both taxi- and private car-hailing services to over 2.5 million users in major hubs across 18 countries, including Hungary, Romania, the Baltic States, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

Didi brings on board AI technologies and an extensive range of mobility services, including Taxi, Premier, Express, Luxe, Hitch, etc., to over 400 million users in more than 400 cities. In addition to creating over 17 million flexible work and income opportunities for its driver-partners, DiDi leverages its AI capabilities to help cities develop integrated and sustainable smart transportation solutions.

Markus Villig, Founder and CEO of Taxify, said: “Taxify will utilize this partnership to solidify our position in core markets in Europe and Africa. We believe Didi is the best partner to help us become the most popular and efficient transport option in Europe & Africa”.

This is not the firm’s first partnerhip to dominate the world. In December 2015, Didi, then known as Didi Kuaidi, partnered with Lyft, GrabTaxi and Ola to expand their earlier global rideshare agreement formed in September giving them access to nearly all of Southeast Asia, India, China and the United States, reaching nearly 50 percent of the world’s population.

The firms said they would release joint partner products by collaborating and leveraging each other’s technology, local market knowledge and business resources so that international travelers can seamlessly access local on-demand rides by using the same application they use at home. Each company will handle mapping, routing and payments through a secure API, providing the best global experience for the millions of travelers that cross between the U.S., Southeast Asia, India and China every year.

With Lyft making over 7 million rides per month in more than 190 cities, Didi Kuaidi providing 7 million rides per day across 360 Chinese cities, GrabTaxi, the leading ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia with 95 percent market share in third-party taxi-hailing and more than 50 percent market share in private cars and India’s Ola- available in 102 cities across the country with over a million booking requests a day and $7 billion raised collectively, the group had only Uber to worry about until it began burning up with its own internal sexual harassment allegations.

The partnership now gives them an opportunity to have a greater impact on the future of transport in major cities worldwide. To clear the way for its own expansion, Didi acquired Uber’s China unit and gave Uber and its shareholders a 20 percent stake in the combined entity with Kalanick as part of Didi’s board. The Taxify’s investment is set to change Uber’s course in Africa as well as Europe making it a leader only in the US and DiDi the King of the rest of the world.

Will Cheng Wei, Founder and CEO of Didi Chuxing, said: “Taxify provides innovative, high-quality mobility services across many diverse markets. We share a strong commitment to harnessing the power of mobile technology to satisfying rapidly evolving consumer demands and revitalizing traditional transportation industry. I believe this partnership will contribute to cross-regional smart transportation linkages between Asian, European and African markets.”

Didi Chuxing is good for Africa and Latin America and some markets in Europe as apart from its Taxi hailing business, it has Premier, Express, Hitch, Luxe, Bus, Minibus, Chauffeur, Car Rental, Enterprise Solutions and bike-sharing and as many as 20 million rides were completed on Didi’s platform on a daily basis in October 2016. Didi acquired Uber China in August 2016.

Safaricom to Launch eCommerce Platform, Masoko


Kenya’s telecom giant, Safaricom is set to launch e-commerce platform, Masoko in the coming weeks, TechWeez first reported the development.

The platform would provide an avenue for local merchants, including supermarkets, and customers to interact and trade in a bid for Safaricom to boost its M-Pesa payments platform (Lipa na M-Pesa).

Like other general ecommerce platforms, it will stock various items from tech to fashion and food products.

While the internal testing phase for Masoko will be launched today, July 27, with a 50-percent off offer for employees on all fashion items, it would be launched to the public before the end of August.

Masoko comes with a number of advantages that would give it an edge over big players like Jumia and Kilimall.

With Sendy for logisitics, Safaricom’s deep pocket – as it controls close to 70% of Kenya’s stock market, millions of Safaricom subscribers – who will all be turned to Masoko customers, as well as Lipa na M-Pesa for online payments, they are coming fully ready to take on the market. Jumia and Kilimall sure have a lot to deal with in a few weeks.

African Mobile Subscriber to Hit Half a Billion by 2020


According to a new GSMA study, more than half a billion people across Sub-Saharan Africa will be subscribed to a mobile service by the end of a decade.

The report titled ‘The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2017’, was published at the GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa event. It forecasts that the number of unique mobile subscribers1 in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow from 420 million (43 per cent of the population) at the end of 2016 to 535 million (50 per cent of the population) in 2020, making it the fastest growing region in the world over this period. The report also highlights the Sub-Saharan Africa mobile ecosystem’s growing contribution to regional GDP, jobs, innovation and socio-economic development.

“Sub-Saharan Africa will be a key engine of subscriber growth for the world’s mobile industry over the next few years as we connect millions of previously unconnected men, women and young people across the continent,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “Mobile is also offering sustainable solutions that address the lack of access to services such as health, education, electricity, clean water and financial services, which still affect large swathes of the population.”

Subscriber growth is expected to be concentrated in large, under-penetrated markets such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania, which together will account for half of the 115 million new subscribers expected in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.

The report further revealed that growth will also focus on currently under-represented segments such as the under-16 age group, which accounts for more than 40 per cent of the population in many countries, and women, who are currently 17 per cent less likely to have a mobile phone subscription than their male counterparts.