In celebration of its 10th-year in Afrika, MEST Africa (Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology) will be investing a total of $700,000 in the 7 startups that graduated from its recent 2018 cohort. The startups, from Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria, will each receive a $100,000 investment and the opportunity to join the MEST incubators in their respective countries.
MEST says the 7 startups were selected from a group of 17 teams, composed of 58 entrepreneurs that come from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe.
“The seven teams we are investing in today represent the strength of the incredible diversity within our cohorts. Not only are they immediately launching all across Africa, but each of these startups are also born with Pan-African co-founders, opening up the possibilities of rapid subsequent expansion into other markets across the continent. Investment from MEST will help fuel their growth across some of the most exciting markets in Africa in industries ranging from logistics and identity to law and recruitment,” said Aaron Fu, Managing Director at MEST Africa.
Different model to empowering Afrikan startups
Launched in 2008 in Afrika, MEST has taken a somewhat different approach to incubating and empowering technology and digital startups across Afrika. Apart from making investments in the startups it selects, MEST provides them in critical skills such as software development, business and communications. This, in addition for providing the entrepreneurs with access to a variety of experienced industry specific mentors.
The organization is funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of Meltwater, a global leader in AI-driven media intelligence and Outside Insight, which has invested $20 million into MEST.
Startups developing solutions to address local problems
The tech startups from Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria who graduated from MEST's 2018 cohort and received funding are:
- Sharehouse, a marketplace for on demand storage space, launching in Kenya.
- Nvoicia, a FinTech platform for SMEs that enables financial liquidity via invoicediscounting, launching in Nigeria.
- Truckr, a truck and cargo booking and monitoring platform, launching in Ghana.
- Jumeni, a field management and payments collection platform, launching in Ghana.
- Judy, an AI-driven search engine for Commonwealth Case Law, launching in Nigeria.
- Codeln, an end-to-end technical recruitment platform, launching in Ghana.
- Bace, a client onboarding application for financial institutions that secures KYC data viaOCR and facial recognition technology, launching in Ghana.
Since inception, MEST alumni have developed digital and technology solutions addressing local and global markets and have received follow-on funding from global investors. Some of the startups have gone on to be admitted to accelerator programs such as Y-Combinator, 500 Startups and TechStars.
Cover image credit: Graduation event for the 2018 cohort of MEST Africa startups.