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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Facebook-Backed VentureBuilder Launches to Help Struggling Off-Grid Solar Startups Reach More People in Africa

In a bid to increase access to off-grid solar electricity in parts of Africa that currently lack it, a startup called VentureBuilder launched yesterday.

VentureBuilder wants to provide capital to off-grid solar startups that cater to the African polulace. The venture is backed by Facebook, USAID, DOEN Foundation, and Shell Foundation.

According to Saskia Werther, program manager at the DOEN Foundation, the foundation has supported dozens of energy access initiatives over the years.

“We believe VentureBuilder can be a gamechanger in supporting and scaling indigenous enterprises across Africa, in areas most in need.”

Saskia Werther, program manager at the DOEN Foundation

Advisors

VentureBuilder has been in development since 2017. Facebook provided one of the major supports at this stage, alongside Open Capital Advisors and Catalyst Off-grid Advisors.

Together, the companies brought years of experience gathered in advising, building and financing solar startups to the project.

Raising a new type of capital for startups

The capital offered by VentureBuilder operates a new investment model. It is called a “patient” capital.

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Solar powered solutions for Africans

With over 600 million people in Africa living in off-grid zones and lacking access to electricity, there is an obvious market for these off-grid solar startups. However, the solar startups often experience a variety of challenges, one of which is distribution.

Here is how VentureBuilder wants to solve this challenge.

The Facebook-backed company will liase with key distributors of off-grid solar products. This is to help local solar startups widen their distribution and reach more people.

VentureBuilder also recognises that capacity building is one challenge faced by solar startups which prevents them from expanding.

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VentureBuilder aims to solve this capacity challenge through trainings. The company will help the existing solar startups to scale by providing technical training and support that is relevant to the startups.

“We’re excited to partner with these local businesses and provide them with the human and financial resources they need to sustainably and profitably scale their impact”.

Dan Murphy, Managing Director of VentureBuilder.

More and more off-grid solar startups are individually innovating products that can help Africa have sufficient and clean electricity. VentureBuilder’s launch could increase their chances of survival.

The post Facebook-Backed VentureBuilder Launches to Help Struggling Off-Grid Solar Startups Reach More People in Africa appeared first on Technext.

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