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Startups aim to secure $1.5m as World Bank’s XL Africa kicks off in Cape Town

Twenty promising African tech startups today began an 11-day residency in Cape Town at the World Bank’s XL Africa accelerator. The programme  runs until 17 November and startups have a chance of securing up to $1.5-million.

The accelerator was launched in April by the World Bank Group’s infoDev program.

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While in the programme, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from their mentors and peers, increase their regional visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors.

XL Africa will help the startups attract early stage capital between $250 000 and $1.5 million

In a press release today the World Bank said the residency will conclude with the XL Africa Venture Showcase, an event organised in association with the African Angel Investor Summit, in which the entrepreneurs will present their business models to a select audience of corporations and investors.

Read more: Angel investing has seen ‘phenomenal growth’ in Africa says SABAN co-founder

With support from African investment groups, XL Africa will help the startups attract early stage capital between $250 000 and $1.5 million.

Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialise in digital solutions for the African market, including fintech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B. All companies provide a digital product or service currently available in one or more African markets and show potential to scale across the region.

Klaus Tilmes, the director of the trade and competitiveness global practice at the World Bank, said many of the firms attracted to the programme have female co-founders, have already raised early stage investment, and have demonstrated significant market traction.

The selection for XL Africa was conducted by a panel of industry experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), IMC Worldwide, Koltai & Co, and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A), as well as investors from prominent African funds including Knife Capital, 4Di Capital LLP, Singularity Investments, TLcom Capital LLP, Goodwell Investments, Nest Africa, and Africa Tech Ventures.

“We encountered very strong companies, particularly in the transportation, HR, and data analytics sectors,” said Danai Musandu, investment associate at Goodwell Investments. “We also observed signals of a nascent pipeline of digital companies beyond the traditional hot spots of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.”

The selected startups participating in the event are:

The cohort comprises startups from Senegal, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. The 20 are:

Aerobotics (SA): On demand satellite and drone analytics startup launched in 2014

Asoko Insight (Nigeria): Corporate data and analytics platform

CoinAfrique (Senegal): Peer-to-peer mobile marketplace launched in 2015

Electronic Settlement Limited (Nigeria): Payment solutions and mobile financial services startup which owns CashEnvoy and Paypad

Jamii (Tanzania): Insurtech startup focusing on mobile micro-health insurance, it aims to cut down administration costs and sells health insurance at $1 per month

Lynk (Kenya): Job site catering for the informal sector

Max (Nigeria): Mobility platform applying machine learning on on-demand transportation and delivery

Ogavenue (Nigeria): Events booking platform founded in 2015

Ongair (Kenya): Customer relationship management platform for conversational and social commerce through instant messaging

Pesabazaar (Kenya): Comparison platform for financial products and services

PrepClass (Nigeria): An elearning platform offering test and exam preparation launched in 2014

Printivo (Nigeria): Online printing company founded in 2013

Rasello (Tanzania): Enteprise software company founded in 2011

Rensource (Nigeria): Distributed energy company employing a Power-as-a-Service model where it rents out and maintains solar systems

Sendy (Kenya): On-demand delivery platform founded in 2014

Snapplify (SA): Digital content distribution platform specialising in educational content and ebooks

Sokowatch (Kenya): Last-mile ordering and distribution platform for small retail shops in emerging markets

Talentbase (Nigeria): Human resources platform for small businesses

Timbuktu (SA): Interactive travel platform that enables tourists to design and customise trips to Africa

Tizeti (Nigeria): Wireless network provider using a network of Wi-Fi solar base stations

XL Africa is funded by the governments of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and administered by the World Bank Group with implementation support from IMC Worldwide, VC4A, and Koltai & Co.

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