The Apps4Africa program has come a long way since late 2009 when it was conceived. For one, its evolved from a series of annual competitions into a full-fledged acceleration program. This was to address the primary feedback we got from the first few classes of participants funded by the program that the funding was great, but they really wanted ongoing mentorship, and opportunities for more funding.
As we focused on this on-going relationship with our companies, we realized that was one of the best ways we could help these portfolio companies to continue to accomplish much more, which they did! Entrepreneurs like Eric Mutta went on to raise over $300,000 for his startup Minishop, Alloysius Attah has traveled the world speaking about his company Farmerline, while other companies have found successes in other areas. The biggest need these guys have is maintaining a relationship with advisors and mentors like us as they grow and establish Africa’s next generation of game-changing services and organizations.
Announcing our 2013 Participants
So this year rather than continuing the tradition of our challenges, we’re doubling down on this aspect of what we do by launching an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program! This program will work on behalf of four new companies who will join the ranks of our Apps4Africa participants, to benefit from the relationships we’ve established for our community of entrepreneurs. Similar to the previous ranks of A4A winners, these groups are social entrepreneurs using technology to solve challenges for Africa and, in some cases, the world.
These companies will receive funding, support and mentorship in varying degrees. You can read more about the Apps4Africa EIR program here.
The 2013 EIR inductees are:
- Remit.ug (Uganda/USA)- A competitor of sorts to Western Union and MoneyGram aiming to facilitate transactions from the African diaspora to relatives in Africa. There are over $62 billion dollars in remittances sent to Africa by the diaspora annually. Remit’s mission is to try to capture a portion of that market.
- Upstream Analytics (Congo/USA)- An analytic platform used by multinational corporations to ensure the resources they source from Africa are compliant with international standards for avoiding corruption, bribery and illegal operations. This, for example, might help organizations like Google, Samsung, Shell and others to ensure that the minerals and commodities they source from African countries are not fueling conflict, illicit, or immoral activity.
- SiftDeck (Kenya) - A customizable application that alerts organizations and businesses to how social media and mobile conversations relate to and reference offline interests. (For example: The recent attacks in Kenya, and subsequent discussion affects countless businesses, places, people, and institutions. This tool catalogs this information and aims visualize the contextual relationships between these things.)
We’re proud to welcome them all to the family!
So what of the Apps4Africa challenges? Well traditionally we visit anywhere between three and sixteen countries in an effort to find and engage with as many young entrepreneurs as possible. We then run a competitive funding initiative that allows them to compete for $10,000 seed capital. The ones that make it through the rigorous vetting and judging process go on to receive awards, funding and attention.
We haven’t ended this program, but due to the costs associated with the EIR program and maintaining the other aspects of the accelerator for our 2010, 2011, and 2012 participants, we’re putting off the Apps4Africa Challenge to early 2014. If you’d like to learn more, you can follow this blog, @apps4africa on twitter or join our mailing-list here.