The third Launchpad Accelerator Africa class graduated on Friday the 21st of June in Lagos. Part of a programme run by Google as part of its ongoing efforts to support entrepreneurship on the continent, Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 3 comprised 12 startups from six African countries – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda – 58% of which have female co-founders.
All of the teams participating in Class 3 have been trained in machine learning technologies and are implementing AI in their offerings as a result. “This,” says Launchpad Accelerator Africa, head of startup success and services, Fola Olatunji-David, ”represents an alignment towards building AI-first startups powered by Google technology. The startups in this class have raised close to $9-million in funding, created more than 120 jobs and their products and services have over 270 000 users.”
Fola Olatunji-David, Head of Startup Success and Services, Launchpad Accelerator Africa, Google.
“We know that Africa is awash with entrepreneurial potential,” he says. “If that potential is to be transformed into job creation, startups founded by those entrepreneurs need to grow. This programme is about giving them the best possible chance of achieving that growth.”
The graduating startups now form part of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa’s alumni along with the 23 startups from Classes 1 and 2 who between them have created 385 direct jobs and raised over $19-million before, during and after they participated in the programme.
“The growth of entrepreneurship in Africa is critical to the survival of our continent,” comments Olatunji-David. “We’re currently as a region creating about 3 million jobs per year while more than 11 million job seekers are entering the market. Google believes that empowering entrepreneurs and startups is essential to drive employment growth and enable both economic and social development on the continent. Google thrives when other business thrives,” he adds.
Class 4 will kick off later this year, and see another 10-12 African startup complete the three-month acceleration programme. Applications for Class 4 opened 21 June – and will be open until 26 July.
The 12 startups which graduated, in alphabetical order, are:
54Gene (Abasi Ene-Obong; Francis Osifo) (Nigeria) : Improves drug discovery by researching multiple genetically diverse African populations.
Data Integrated Limited (Mary Mwangi; Peninah Mwangi) (Kenya): Automates and digitises SME payments, connecting the street to high finance.
Instadiet.me (Ahmed Tawfic; Nadia Gamal Eldin) (Egypt): Connects patients to credible nutritionists and dietitians online to help them maintain a healthy and optimal weight.
Kwara (Cynthia Wandia) (Kenya): Not to be mistaken for the state in Nigeria, Kwara provides a rich digital banking platform to established fair lenders such as credit unions or savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), with an open API to enable and accelerate their inclusion into the formal financial ecosystem.
OkHi (Timbo Drayson; Navraj Ghataura; Wes Chege; Henry Ingham; Evans Mutai) (Kenya): A physical addressing platform for emerging markets that is on a mission to enable the 4 billion without a physical address to “be included”.
PAPS (Bamba LO; Rokhaya SY; Papa Madiodio) (Senegal): A logistics startup with a strong client-care orientation, focused on last mile delivery in the domestic market that features live tracking, an intelligent address system and automatic dispatch.
ScholarX (Bola Lawal; Maxwell Ogunfuyi; Damilola Emuze) (Nigeria): An education startup that connects high potential students with funding opportunities to help them advance in their studies.
Swipe2pay (Solomon Kitumba; Buhiire Kenneth; (Uganda) – A web and mobile payments solution that democratizes electronic payments for SMEs by making it easy for them to accept mobile as a mode of payment.
Tambua Health Inc. (Lewis Wanjohi; Daniel Gathigai; Wenyu Ghen; Forbes Keen) (Kenya): The Tambua App turns a normal smartphone into a powerful, non-invasive diagnostic tool for Tuberculosis and Pneumonia. It uses a cough sound acoustic signature, symptoms, risk factors and clinical information to come up with a diagnostic report.
Voyc.ai (Matthew Westaway; Lethabo Motsoaledi) (South Africa): Voyc.ai’s CX Research Platform helps companies understand their customers by turning their customer research into insights, personas and customer journey maps.
WellaHealth (Dr Ikpeme Neto; Bayo Asamu) (Nigeria): A pharmacy marketplace for affordable high-quality disease-care (such as malaria treatment) driven by artificial intelligence.
Zomila (formerly Zelda Learning) (Jasanth Moodley; Caria Wilby; Skhumbuzo Matine) (South Africa): Provides free online career guidance for students looking to enter university and then links them to funding and study opportunities.
About Launchpad Accelerator Africa: Google’s first regionally-based startup accelerator program, Launchpad Accelerator Africa runs out of a dedicated space in Lagos. Announced in 2017, Google has committed to training 60 African startups over 3 years, representing over $3-million in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa. Participants also receive travel and PR support during each three-month programme.