InukaPap beat six other startups to emerge as Kenya’s best seed-stage startup at the Nairobi leg of the Seedstars World Tour. The mobile platform allows subscribers to access free medical insurance by saving and borrowing loans through mobile money.
As a part of the prize, InukaPap will take part in the Seedstars Summit happening in Switzerland in April 2017. The summit includes a weeklong training program for all the 60 winners of Seedstars’ local event, as well as a chance to interact with investors and mentors from around the world. The final day of the Summit will be dedicated to pitching in front of audience of 1000 attendees, with the possibility of winning up to US$1 million in equity investment.
The Kenyan competition was supported by Stanbic Bank, who were the main sponsors, and the local ambassador was Douglas Ogeto of The Founders Hive, who is representing the initiative throughout the year. Other partners include Omidyar Network, Microsoft, Intel and Pawa254. Further support was provided by iAfrikan, Open Capital Advisors, Metta, Nest, VC4Africa and Lionesses of Africa
The event started with a panel discussion powered by Omydiar Network and hosted by official media partner iAfrikan, centered on the state of the African startup ecosystem, specifically looking at the new generation of African startups in Africa, built by Africans. The panel included Clara Wanjiku Odero, who writes about African startups for Africapedia, Trevor Kimenye, CEO and Co-founder at Ongair, and Marcello Schermer, who is the General Manager for Africa at Seedstars World, and was moderated by Eric Mugendi, editor-at-large at iAfrikan.
On the question about the challenges that face African startups, the panel pointed out that regulatory frameworks, lack of proper entrepreneur knowledge, and a heavily fragmented African market make it hard for businesses to grow out of the startup stage.
The Emerging markets and Africa at large provide ample Scaling opportunities and unique clients. Kenyan entrepreneurs should not be left behind in taking advantage of this while at the same time ensuring that they have a solid team to do so. Douglas Ogeto, Seedstars local ambassador
The first runner up was Mobilized Construction, a company that aims to de-mechanize road maintenance by mobilizing local manual labor to build climate resilient dirt roads. Ujuzi Software Solutions, a company providing anti-money laundering solutions for banks, investment firms, forex bureaus and remittance providers as a solution to fight money laundering in Africa, rounded out the top 3. The other startups that pitched at the event were OptiSmart Solutions, Kuza, Flexpay Technologies Mobilized Construction, Farmers Pride, Olivine Technology, and Student Finance Africa (SFA).
The jury consisted of Neil Edward Wood, who is Project Leader at Open Capital Advisors, Jeff Alondo, who is the Senior Business Banking Manager at CfC Stanbic Bank, Tonya Nyakeya, Co-Founder and Director at SuperFluid Labs, Gro Intelligence CTO Nemo Semret, and Marcello Schermer, who is the General Manager for Africa at Seedstars World.
Continuing on its world tour in search of smart startups that solve regional issues and develop profitable products in emerging markets and, Seedstars World’s next stop is Jokkolabs in Dakar, where Senegal's best startup will be named.
Seedstars World has partnered with TRECC to bring the “Transforming Education Prize” which will award the best startup in the education space from around the world with a prize of over USD 50,000. Along with PayU, Seedstars World is also looking for the best fintech startup, which will be awarded the “FinTech Prize” at the Seedstars Summit.
In addition to the Transforming Education Prize, Seedstars World and Intel are collaborating on the “Intel Solutions Challenge” to find the best startups in Hardware, IoT, Cloud and Analytics with the goal of inviting them to a prestigious Demo Day with internal and external partners who will give access to market and funding for the best startups.