The Kenyan-based VC firm, Savannah Fund, has lifted the curtains on its latest class of accelerated startups from the African continent. From Bitcoin to forex enablers, there seems to be a growing trend in the financial tech sector across the African region.
“We are excited to announce our fourth accelerator class selected from over 150 applications across Africa — each startup will get between US$25 000 and US$30 000 investment, graduation and demo day set for end of July 2015,” writes Mbwana Alliy in the announcement. “This class hails from Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Malawi and is an interesting mix of financial services/fintech, marketing and ecommerce, including our first bitcoin related investment, strong B2B startups and half the class has at least one woman co-founder.” Said Mbwana Alliy, Managing Partner of Savannah Fund.
Alliy adds “that since it launched three years ago, Savannah Fund has so far invested in 20 startups across in six African countries.” Below are the latest four:
The company has figured out how to make it easy for anyone to buy and/or sell Bitcoin in Africa. Its flagship product is its Bitcoin exchange called BitcoinFundi which is optimised for remittances. We’ve seen a bunch of startups in this area, but none so far hailing from Zimbabwe.
As described by the Fund, the startup facilitates scalable survey-based research to help businesses obtain data at low cost by paying respondents with mobile money. The argument goes that there’s a lack of reliable data in Africa and no easy means to obtain it. Businesses have a pressing need for an easy way to obtain useful, relevant market data and this is why we are building Djuaji. The company is based in Malawi and Kenya.
Headquartered in Kenya, Forex simplifies this process and makes it affordable for all. The team have so far contracted three Kenyan banks and is actively engaged with enlisting a further 11. The company’s aim is said to be to contract 25 banks by the end of August 2015, charging a fee of 0.1% per currency unit traded.
The demand for foreign exchange in Kenya and immediate addressable market is more than an estimated US$2-billon a month
The company is a beauty technology and content-driven ecommerce startup. Its goal is to become the biggest beauty ecommerce platform out of Africa boasting an unlimited products’ inventory that cut across skincare, makeup, fragrance, bath and body, baby products and men’s products.
Savannah Fund is a seed capital fund specializing in US$25,000-US$500,000 investments in early stage high growth technology (web and mobile) startups in sub-Saharan Africa. Initially focused on East Africa, the fund aims to bridge the early stage/angel and venture capital investment gap that currently exists in Africa. The Fund expects to achieve this objective by combining capital with mentor networks both in the region and from Silicon Valley via an accelerator program and a follow-on independent seed fund.
Since launching in January 2015, the Kenyan startup has listed inventory from over 45 leading international beauty brands such as Maybelline, IMAN, Black Opal, Tara, Neutrogena, Oriflame, Calvin Klein and a host of others. The startup plans to launch its own virtual makeover and shopping app in the coming months.