Thirteen international startups have been selected by the VentureOut Challenge, an initiative of infoDev and CRDF Global, to compete before a live audience and a panel of mobile experts in Chisinau, Moldova on November 1, 2013. The winners included Apps4Africa 2012 Challenge winner ProWork.
Top mobile app entrepreneurs from 33 countries competed in the VentureOut Challenge. The goal: Internationalization of their mobile applications — entering new countries, continents, or going global with their amazing apps. Stakes are high: $10,000 seed funding; Mentorship with international and regional mobile experts; Dragon’s Den exposition in Chisinau, Moldova; and TechCrunch Disrupt Europe Scholarship to Berlin.
The VentureOut initiative was launched to help mobile app entrepreneurs to expand internationally. The finalists include ventures from Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia and represent mobile applications ranging from mobile health focusing on patient-centric health applications to location-based services and different sorts of entertainment including music, gaming and television.
The 2013 VentureOut Mobile App Competition Finalists
- GoMetro is a transit app for emerging markets that combines trains, buses, rapid transit and taxis into one app using multiple data sources. Alicia Ernstzen, South Africa, gometroapp.com
- Grikly is a business networking application that allows users to share contact details easily. Dwayne Samuels Jamaica, grik.ly
- Idram Mobile Wallet empowers users to make payments and transfer money using only their phone. Narek Vardanyan, Armenia, mobile.idram.am
- M.A.D.E. is a disaster and emergency focused native mobile app providing users with information about what to do before, during, and after natural disasters and national emergencies faced by the Caribbean. Ade Inniss-King, Trinidad & Tobago
- Manifesto instantly records video or audio with one tap and shares it seamlessly. Dorian Postevca, Moldova, seemanifesto.com
- Marodi.tv is a replay TV platform for mobile and web playing TV programs from channels in Senegal and Cameroon. Jimmy KUMAKO, Senegal, marodi.tv
- Nearest Locator helps you easily find the nearest ATMs, banks, eateries, hospitals, pharmacies and more. Ayoola ajebeku, Nigeria, getnearest.com
- Prowork empowers businesses by bringing project management and collaboration together on one platform. Francis Onwumere, Nigeria, prowork.me
- SweetSOA offers web services to businesses. Jerome Campbell, Jamaica, sweetandsoa.com
- Teddy the Guardian is a teddy that uses state-of-the-art medical sensors to capture, report on and share a child’s vital signs like heart rate, body temperature and oxygen saturation. Ana Burica, Croatia, teddytheguardian.com
- Tuning Fork is karaoke with real-time pitch verification. Dilara Rustam-Zadeh, Azerbaijan, tuningfork.az
- Waabeh is Africa’s audio market place helping with discovery and distribution of audio content from the continent. King’ori Maina, Kenya, waabeh.com
- X-Rift is a location-based augmented reality game for mobile devices. Daniel Tonkopiy, Ukraine, x-rift.com
All finalists will receive ongoing mentoring from exceptional entrepreneurs and investors from around the globe who have experience building companies and taking them global.
Beyond mentoring the finalists, infoDev and CRDF Global will offer resources for any growing mobile startup to learn necessary skills, make connections, and find inspiration to go global. The conference in Moldova will also include hands-on training sessions to help entrepreneurs identify and develop their customer base and learn other critical aspects of business modeling.
infoDev is a global partnership program within The World Bank Group. Its Mobile Innovation Program supports growth-oriented mobile app businesses by enabling entrepreneurship, building mobile innovation communities, and researching the app economy of emerging and frontier markets. www.infodev.org
About CRDF Global
Founded in 1995, CRDF Global is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, training and services. www.crdfglobal.org
Congrats to Apps4Africa 2011 Challenge winner Farmerline and the other teams from Kenya and Senegal who have been named winners in InfoDev’s mAgri Challenge. Winners will receive a spot at InfoDev’s Mobile Startup Camp as well as other resources aimed at helping them grow their businesses.
The four winners, along with fourteen of the best startups from infoDev’s business incubator network, will be invited to November’s Mobile Startup Camp. The Camp is designed to accelerate the growth of early-stage entrepreneurs. A five-day program of lectures and hands on workshops will provide participants with an opportunity to refine their product strategies, business models and marketing pitches, sharpen their negotiating skills and network with investors and peers.
It will also include a Demo Day – a pitching competition before a panel of industry experts and angel investors.
“We were looking for prototype-stage startups in a niche market, and were surprised to receive so many applications of high quality,” says Maja Andjelkovic, Mobile Innovation Specialist at infoDev. “These entrepreneurs are showing not only the potential impact mobile agri applications can have in Africa and around the world, but also the considerable talent behind innovation driven startups on the continent.”
Members of the jury representing leading private sector players in the mobile industry were also impressed by the entries.
Ernest Akinola, West Africa Government Relations for Blackberry said “The winners demonstrated robust and well thought through concepts, but many more entries showed niche applications for specific needs within the agri sector. I wish the best of luck to all of the founders who entered.”
Echoing Akinola’s remarks, Arjun Thomas, Global Product Manager for Nokia Life said, “The competition unearthed very interesting applications. As these startups grow, adapting the business case to ensure steady and versatile revenue generation streams will be critical to their success.”
We would like to congratulate all of the applicants, including the four winners and six runners-up below.
mAgri Challenge 2013 Winners
- Farmerline, Ghana: uses voice and SMS to collect data, share new farming techniques, and better link smallholder farmers to other actors along the agricultural value chain. Its survey tool allows agricultural workers and NGOs to conduct immediate surveys with thousands of farmers at a fraction of the cost of traditional techniques.
- Intellect Tech, Kenya: helps farmers and insurance firms track compensation claims in real-time. The platform improves transparency and facilitates faster processing of farmers’ insurance claims.
- mLouma, Senegal: connects farmers to food purchasers by displaying real-time market prices and localizations. The service will improve the efficiency of the agriculture supply chain, helping farmers to get a better price for their produce.
- Price Calculate, Kenya: aids agricultural producers to calculate the competitive price at which they can offer their products. The app educates producers on the market structures between them and their final consumer (local or international), helping them make more informed price decisions.
In a very short period of time, Francis Onwumere has lead Prowork to become one of Africa’s hottest startups. With offers coming from investors in Silicon Valley as well as Africa and being named one of the Top 50 Global Entrepreneurs by Global Forum, one might wonder what makes them such a prize. In an interview recorded late last year, Francis shares a bit of the ProWork story!>
In 2012, the Apps4Africa: Business Challenge asked young tech developers to submit their business ideas aimed at solving local problems through a series of brainstorming sessions held in six countries across Africa. The brainstorming events, which engaged local stakeholders, partners, and local US Embassies, focused mainly on engaging and encouraging the next young tech CEOs and teams of change makers that could innovate, create, and transform their technology businesses to provide more employment opportunities and strengthen the economy of their region.
We’re excited to announce that of the near 300 submitted applications, from nearly 1000 people, three winners have been elected for funding:
Team - Titus Mawano
Country - Uganda
Award - $10,000
Website - http://ffene.com
Ffene is a low cost business management platform that enables small and medium businesses to leverage technology to reduce overhead costs incurred due to administrative tasks, freeing up resources that can be redirected to growth initiatives. Currently, Ffene can be used for accounting, customer relationship management, product management and generation of reports.
Team - William Edem Senyo, Heather Cochran
Country - Ghana
Award - $10,000
Website - http://www.facebook.com/SliceBiz
SliceBiz, is a disruptive crowdsourcing web and mobile investment platform providing alternative funding for startups. Our mission is to unlock a whole new funding market for startups to access finance by creating the framework that will make it easy and appealing for middle class Africans to invest small amounts of their disposable income into high-growth startups with proven potential to give high return on investment. The solution SliceBiz is offering is to leverage web/mobile (& offline) platforms to create a connection between startups looking for funding and business-savvy young professionals/middle class looking to invest.
Team - Francis Onwumere, Opeyemi Obembe, Ernest Ojeh
Country - Nigeria
Award - $10,000
Website - http://prowork.me
Prowork is a mobile first enterprise class project management and collaboration solution for businesses. It’s like Basecamp or Atlassian’s confluence but mobile and easier to use, more powerful, with real time collaboration everywhere, anywhere. Prowork is accessible via mobile, the web, SMS and a robust API to allow developers to extend the functionality.
Appfrica and the U.S. Department of State, with the support of the World Bank, would like to extend our congratulations to the 30 final innovations that have been selected from the Apps4Africa 2012 Competition!
Our expert judges are now voting on the innovations that should be invested in this year. BIG thanks to The U.S. Department of State, The World Bank (Africa), Nic Haralambous, Liz Ngonzi, Loren Treisman, Makhtar Diop, and Wayne Sutton for your participation in the judging process!
TYAN - OpenApp (Zambia)
The Business Planner (Zimbabwe)
Ama Sampo (Zambia)
Spell Africa (Nigeria)
Alsvas (Central African Republic)
Prep-hub (South Africa)
Youth Village (South Africa)
Click Tradex (Ghana)
Opportunity Pour Tous (Cote d’Ivoire)
What Happens Next?
Out of these finalists, 3 innovations will be selected and funded with $10,000USD each. Appfrica will continue to engage these innovators, providing mentorship, additional exposure and additional funding opportunities.
Look out for our (3) selections to be funded in the coming weeks!
The Apps4Africa 2012 team: (L to R) Marieme Jamme, Thomas Genton, Barbara Birungi, Jon Gosier, Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson
We’re excited to learn that winners of last year’s Apps4Africa competition, Farmerline, have announced support from IndigoTrust, one of our longtime partners. IndigoTrust has funded Apps4Africa winners in the past, including 2010 winners iCow and NotinMyCountry.
From IndigoTrust’s website:
Farmerline provides access to agriculture information, communications expertise and advisory services for smallholder farmers and other agricultural stakeholders. Their goal is to empower smallholder farmers using information and communications technologies (ICT), by increasing their crop yields and opening up trade networks and opportunities.
Through their activities, Farmerline aim to grow smallholder farm management and production capacity, contribute to improving processes, encourage new skills acquisition, and build local and regional knowledge bases and relationships. Farmerline believe that providing best practice information and access to market are crucial to the success of building the capacities of farmers in Ghana and elsewhere. To test this, they will be deploying a six-month pilot programme aimed at reaching 500 fish farmers (or one twelfth of Ghana’s fish farming population). Farmers will be provided with aquaculture best practice information, advice on record keeping, access to input suppliers and market access information in an attempt to bolster their productivity and incomes. The information will be made available via SMS and farmers will also be able to call a local call centre where operatives who speak Twi, Ga, Fanti, Nzema and Ewe will be on hand to offer advice and support. Farmerline will hold workshops with new users to guide them through the platform and agricultural outreach workers will also be trained in using the platform and demonstrating it to new farmers.
For more, read this recent essay by Farmerline’s co-Founder Emmanuel Addai.
Sitting at the first Africa CEO Forum this week, in the heart of Geneva, I asked myself if this was the right time to open the debate on Africa’s private sector future. Was Geneva the right place? Critics will rightly argue that this sort of event should have been held in Africa.
Over two intensive days, top African chief executive officers shared with attendees from all over the Africa, Europe and Asia, some latest trends and best practices, discussed the future of the continent’s private sector, and received awards and accolades.
Speakers such as the outspoken Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim tried to boost the narratives of Africa’s position compared to China and India but with little solutions to offer. When I asked him why the event was not held in Accra or Johannesburg, Ibrahim replied by stating that the reasons were more infrastructural and logistical than anything else.
Emmanuel Owusu Addai is the co-founder of Farmerline the Apps4Africa 2011 West Africa 3rd Place Winners. Farmerline was selected as one of two former A4A winners who would present at the first ever DEMO Africa. Here, Emmanuel tells his story and offers advice to those wishing to win funding in the 2012 Competition!
by Emmanuel Addai
DEMO Africa was a whole week of learning and experiencing what it takes to sell your business ideas to the world. Being part of the first ever DEMO on the African continent has strengthened me and our app, Farmerline, as well as wiped out all manner of perception and doubts about what the young African entrepreneurs are capable of. There they were - young men and women from across the African continent with great vision, ideas and creativity - seeking mentorship and investments for their start-ups.
Before the start of DEMO Africa, I had the rare privilege of attending the [email protected] Summit held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on the ticket of Apps4Africa. It was a day of pure learning. Meeting all the people who matter in the ICT space, discussing about how to push the frontiers of Innovation and Technology using the 4C’s [Capacity, Connectivity, Creativity, Capital], and telling sponsors and participants about Farmerline as well as receiving responses from them, was an experience of a lifetime. They all believe in one thing - Provide the 4C’s to the African youth, and you will be amazed at the innovations they will come up with. It was gratifying to be in the company of all the giants behind this idea [Microsoft, Nokia, infoDev, USAID, DEMO, Appfrica, VC4A, State Department of USA, etc].
More than 40 great presentations were made from 25-26 October, and 5 businesses were crowned as DEMO Africa Lions. My advice is simple - Guys, get your start-up ideas ready. You may be lucky to be a part of Demo Africa 2013! I can’t wait.
A Few Lessons I Learned
First, being a winner of a credible and prestigious competition such as Apps4Africa comes with it a certain amount of responsibility. It is not just about the winning, its about how you will seize the opportunity of all the hype to make it big. Farmerline has got all the opportunity to ride on the wings of the Apps4Africa award to succeed. The credibility that our business has had with this and many other awards is tremendous, and we are poised to convert these successes into a real problem solving machine.
Second, sometimes you need to improvise to save the situation. I accepted to be part of DEMO Africa not knowing how huge the expectation was. Though I was not happy with my presentation, I have come to an important realisation that sometimes I need to respond to situations as it demands. I failed to demo our unfinished application during my presentation only to realise moments after the presentation that people who followed up to see how our application works just loved that ‘unfinished’ app. In hindsight, I should have been bold enough to show it on stage.
Third, never think you are the only repository of good ideas. Others out there have other, sometimes better ideas. Go out there, listen to them, and polish the little you have.
Finally, learn how to break the ice whenever you get on stage to speak, it really helps to diffuse tension. And I will refer to (former Apps4Africa winner) Eric Mutta’s Mini-Shop presentation - people loved to listen to him more and more because they thought they were listening to a story. Congrats to Eric!
My Advice to the Apps4Africa 2012 Applicants:
We (Alloysius Attah and I) entered the Apps4Africa challenge not even believing our own story. After our idea (Farmerline) came third in the West and Central Africa category, we had to put pen to paper, mind to action, and dreams to reality. Everywhere we go, people want to listen to us just because we are winners in a continental competition. Apps4Africa is serious business. Make the best out of this competition, and you will never regret trying.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Appfrica, the organization that facilitates the Apps4Africa competition, for sponsoring Farmerline and Mini Shop to attend the DEMO Africa event, and for believing in me even when I was unsure of presenting.
If I would forget everything that happened in Nairobi, it would never be the inspiring smiles of the Appfrica team (Jon Gosier, Bahiyah Robinson, Marieme Jamme, Thomas Genton, and Babara Birungi) as well as the unending appetite to want to listen to Eric Mutta (Mini Shop) more and more. Thank you all!
We’re frequently asked to share the contact details and other information about the Apps4Africa winners and their various projects. We’ve been offering these details to various interested parties on request but obviously, as demand increases for this information, it gets harder to meet all requests. Today we’re releasing a public listing of all the winners of funding from our competitions to date! Keep checking back as we improve this page by adding details about each project, what the winners are doing now, and what they accomplished post-A4A!
In this archive you’ll find participant email addresses, team participants, names, and descriptions of their various projects.
Our own Marieme Jamme, who helped to execute Apps4Africa 2011′s West and Southern Africa competitions, was featured on CNN’s African Voices. We’re delighted to see the coverage on such powerful and inspirational individual and friend!
CNN — Senegalese-born Marieme Jamme is at the forefront of the technology revolution that is slowly transforming Africa.
As chief executive of Spot One Global Solutions, a UK-based company that helps information technology organizations gain a foothold in emerging markets, she encourages global investment in African IT infrastructure.
Armed with a strong desire to help Africa realize its potential, Jamme is outspoken about what the continent needs and how she can help.