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.
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.
What do Richard Branson, David Cameron, and Apps4Africa 2012 winner William Senyo have in common? Aside, from all being dashing gentleman, they all played a role in the 2013 G8 Innovation Conference last week in London!
William was one of 130 brilliant minds selected by IDEO and British Airways to participate in the world’s first ‘innovation lab in the Sky’, UnGrounded. UnGrounded was made possible by a chartered 747 provided by British Airways which took these 130 individuals from San Francisco to London for events surrounding the 2013 G8 Summit. The UnGrounded flight culminated in a private tour of Britain’s House of Lords and a trip to The Siemen’s Crystal for the G8 Innovation Conference (where Mr. Branson and Cameron spoke) which was followed by the DNA Summit.
Baroness Scotland prepares to address her audience.
William Senyo (Co-Founder of SliceBiz) and Jon Gosier (Apps4Africa Team)
Working together on the UnGrounded flight!
Arriving at the Summit
William and Kimberly Bryant of BlackGirlsCode.org
It was an exciting weekend and we’re glad SliceBiz was selected to participate. For more on the British Airways/IDEO UnGrounded initiative, visit http://ungroundedthinking.com
Those of you interested in entering the Apps4Africa competition have a few extra days, our deadline has been extended to Dec 31st at 11:59pm EST! All entries past that date/time will be automatically deleted. Make sure you enter by that time!
We were in Geneva at the Africa CEO Forum where we met Dr Hischam El Agamy. He shared some tips on how to be a Great Leader. We caught him at the Casablanca room! Here what he has to say! Enjoy!!
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.
This morning at Africa Gathering London 2012 the winners of the Southern Africa portion of the Apps4Africa competition were announced!
1st $15,000 - myHealth (Botswana) - Donald Taboka Masole, Patricia Motsumi, Mosetsanagape Motlhabane
Helps users take precautions by providing information about weather and diseases related to the weather like diarea and malaria. Then it helps the user schedule an appointment with a doctor to receive appropriate care.
2nd $7,000 - Service Anti Cyclone (Madagascar) - Andrianomanana Endrehina, Marie Laure Rahaingomalala, Jean Baptiste Paul Joseph Arsène, Fenitra Andrianomanana, Miora Sarobidy, Haingonirina Marie Violette, Faniry Andriamampianina
Alerts users to pending cyclones, which are very common, and cause significant damage to the area.
3rd $3,000 - UnsApp (Zimbabwe) - Hugh Sado, Mercy sado, Tinashe Marshall Sado, Tonderai Marshall Sado
Spreads awareness through a web forum where adaptive management techniques maybe be considered in improving food security in the future.
Honorable Mention - Varimi - Tanaka Mutakwa (Zimbabwean), Chido Warambwa (Zimbabwean), Chanda Pwapwa (Zambian)
Varimi Portal pushes out key farming information to its registered users to help them adapt, for instance weather projections or answers to commonly asked agricultural questions.
Honorable Mention - Oraniq (tie) - Tonderai Shamuyarira
Promotes information about using chemicals to farmers in hopes that they will produce organic foods instead of chemical enhanced crops.
Honorable Mention - AgriLife (tie) - RAMAROSON Rindra Harifidy, RANDRIAMIADANA Derasoa, RASOLOARITAFIKA Mahefa Nirina, RAVELOARISOA Noro Lalao
Urges users to participate in reforestation projects to help locals recover from cyclone damage in Madagascar.