Facebook Accelerator Startups in Nigeria raises over $500,000 in investments – The Eagle Online

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Startups participating in the second season of the Facebook Accelerator Programme have recorded significant achievements, including raising over $500,000 in committed investments and grants in just three months (halfway through the programme).
Within the same period, they have also made significant product pivots, sealed key partnerships and made progress towards creating unique products with world-class business processes.
These results were recently revealed by Facebook and CcHUB, following its 2019 programmes and training, which took place to support and empower students and entrepreneurs to build locally relevant solutions using advanced technologies at NG_Hub, Facebook’s flagship Community Hub space in partnership with CcHUB.
So far in the programme, the startups have been introduced to multiple venture capitalists and corporate executives and also matched with advisors within the CcHUB Global Advisory network.
These advisors include c-suite executives and experts from companies like Dell, Oracle, IHS Towers, Stanbic IBTC, Cellulant, Old Mutual, Axa Mansard, among others.
Six of the startups contributed to the $500,000 total raised so far, with highlights including:
Chekkit, the only African company to be accepted into a global accelerator, cementing a key partnership for their organisation. They also sealed a partnership with the Fantom foundation for their blockchain product and received a grant from Umdasch Challenge at World Summit Awards 2020.
Haulr emerged second place in the recently concluded Zenith Bank’s hackathon securing N6 million.
Simbi interactives sealed key partnerships and have so far received $35,000+ in investments and grants.
Student team, Vinsighte has completed its prototype that reads books to the visually impaired using computer vision.
AirSynq, completed its balloon satellite prototype and has enterprise clients on the waiting list for its product launch in February.
Gradely launched the beta version of its product, and received its first set of customers, whilst increasing the number of schools they are present in by 200 per cent.
These startups and many more will be showcasing their products and solutions aimed at tackling problems across multiple sectors to corporate executives, multinationals and other potential partners during the annual Facebook Accelerator Programme Innovation Showcase week in February 2020.
Speaking on the development, Adaora Ikenze, Head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa at Facebook, said: “The numbers speak for themselves, and further reinforces that the work and investments we are undertaking here in Nigeria are having real impact. At Facebook, we are passionate about helping developers and entrepreneurs to grow. We believe in empowering small businesses through our platforms to help more people launch and grow their businesses, which translates to real impact for their communities and local economies.”
Also speaking, Bosun Tijani, Chief Executive Officer, CcHUB, said: “This is yet another extremely brilliant cohort of startups from the Facebook acceleration programme which we are deeply proud of. This goes to further highlight the readiness of innovators across Africa to leapfrog development on the continent with technological innovation. We are delighted to be part of this journey with Facebook in its desire to inspire African entrepreneurs to be among the best in the world.”
With three months remaining, the cohort of season two of the Facebook Accelerator Programme will be undertaking workshop sessions, faculty one-on-ones, growth planning, Industry Advisor Sessions and mock pitches, rounded off with a demo day in April, the end of the programme.
For more information on the Facebook Accelerator Programme Innovation Showcase, visit www.bit.ly/isw-2020.

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Y Combinator-backed Trella brings transparency to Egypts trucking and shipping industry

Y Combinator has become one of the key ways that startups from emerging markets get the attention of American investors. And arguably no clutch of companies has benefitted more from Y Combinator’s attention than startups from emerging markets tackling the the logistics market.

On the heels of the success the accelerator had seen with Flexport, which is now valued at over $1 billion — and the investment in the billion-dollar Latin American on-demand delivery company, Rappi, several startups from the Northern and Southern Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia have gone through the program to get in front of Silicon Valley’s venture capital firms. These are companies like Kobo360, NowPorts, and, most recently, Trella.

The Egyptian company founded by Omar Hagrass, Mohammed el Garem, and Pierre Saad already has 20 shippers using its service and is monitoring and managing the shipment of 1,500 loads per month.

“The best way we would like to think of ourselves is that we would like to bring more transparency to the industry,” says Hagrass.

Like other logistics management services, Trella is trying to consolidate a fragmented industry around its app that provides price transparency and increases efficiency by giving carriers and shippers better price transparency and a way to see how cargo is moving around the country.

If the model sounds similar to what Kobo360 and Lori Systems are trying to do in Nigeria and Kenya, respectively, it’s because Hagrass knows the founders of both companies.

Technology ecosystems in these emerging markets are increasingly connected. For instance, Hagrass worked with Kobo360 founder Obi Ozor at Uber before launching Trella. And through Trella’s existing investors (the company has raised $600,000 in financing from Algebra Ventures) Hagrass was introduced to Josh Sandler the chief executive of Lori Systems.

The three executives often compare notes on their startups and the logistics industry in Northern and Southern Africa, Hagrass says.

While each company has unique challenges, they’re all trying to solve an incredibly difficult problem and one that has huge implications for the broader economies of the countries in which they operate.

For Hagrass, who participated in the Tahrir Square protests, launching Trella was a way to provide help directly to everyday Egyptians without having to worry about the government.

“It’s three times more expensive to transport goods in Egypt than in the U.S.,” says Hagrass. “Through this platform I can do something good for the country.”

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