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After successfully completing two rounds of pitching, SA entrepreneur Shaney Vijendranath, co-founder of analytics startup Momsays and parenting blog You, Baby and I says she is “thrilled” to have been selected to join the 2018 cohort of the Collective Global Accelerator (CGA).
“We had to go through two rounds of pitching before we were accepted. I am extremely thrilled to be chosen to represent South Africa globally, most importantly I think represent women in tech from Africa,” said Vijendranath (pictured above) in an email to Ventureburn yesterday (7 May).
Vijendranath is one two African entrepreneurs selected for the London-based accelerator which aims to assist social entrepreneurs who use technology to tackle challenges in their cities scale their businesses.
Malawian Charles Lipenge, founder of Maestros Leadership Team was the second of two Africans chosen for the cohort. In a tweet in January, the accelerator said it had received over 4000 applications for this year’s cohort.
Shaney Vijendranath along with Maestros Leadership Team founder Charles Lipenge are the only two African entrepreneurs in the CGA’s 2018 cohort
The four-week long programme matches entrepreneurs with mentors in their respective fields. As part of the all-expenses paid programme, participants will also attend exclusive entrepreneurship workshops.
Last year, CGA’s first cohort of 10 entrepreneurs included entrepreneurs from Ethiopia, Ghana and South Africa. This year’s cohort of 11 startups includes entrepreneurs from Latvia, Chile, Vietnam, and Colombia.
Vijendranath founded You, Baby and I in 2014, motivated by her experiences as a first-time mother at 21 years old.
“There just did not seem to be enough support for new moms especially when I was trying to filter out the top baby products on the internet. There were so many choices to make. Everything seemed great, but I wanted real advice from the everyday mom who isn’t working in the industry,” she said.
“After two years of blogging I realised that You, Baby and I was more than just a blog. It became of tribe of moms who trusted each other’s opinions,” she added.
The parenting blog has gone on to win several awards including the Advice and Parenting category at the 2016 African Blogger Awards, and more recently the Best Parenting Blog at the 2017 South African Blog Awards.
“I’ve been lucky to collaborate with some of the biggest brands in the world like Mattel, Disney, LG, Volvo, Samsung and Unilever,” said Vijendranath.
In 2016, upon seeing an opportunity in the baby industry, she along with her husband Vije Vijendranath decided to launch Momsays. The analytics company helps brands engage and sell more effectively to new moms by utilising the collective knowledge of thousands of experienced moms in South Africa.
“Momsays offers mompreneurs and brands an opportunity to engage directly with consumers, connect and collaborate with other mompreneurs and learn from the best in the industry,” she explained.
Vijendranath recently secured an equity investment from Identity FutureFund, details of which she said she could not disclose. Prior to that, she had bootstrapped the business.
She is now in the process of launching the first phase of the platform. “We’ve been in beta for the last couple of months,” she said, adding that mothers from across Africa have been signing up on the platform daily.
“The business is revenue positive and has received great feedback from moms and brands who tested out the platform in beta,” she added.
Vijendranath said she is looking forward to networking with other startup founders, mentors and investors at the accelerator in the run up to its Demo day at the end of June.
“Secondly, to learn more about the startup culture in the UK and how I can bring that knowledge back home to build on what I have. Lastly, I am looking forward to exploring London and making new friends,” she said.
Featured image: Momsays, and You, Baby and I founder Shaney Vijendranath (Supplied)