Here are the 11 startups that MEST invested a total of $1.1m in

Featured image: MEST Class of 2019 (MEST Africa)

MEST Africa has invested $100 000 seed rounds in each of the 11 startups formed by the graduates that participated in its 2019 cohort.

The Meltwater Foundation backed pan African incubator runs a year-long entrepreneurial training programme which is centred around business, communication and software development.

Participants of the programme are provided with in-depth training and mentorship, access to a global network and the opportunity to build the next generation of global software companies alongside other successful graduates.

MEST is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year

The programme was first run in 2018 and MEST is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year. MEST held its Class of 2019 graduation in Accra, Ghana on Wednesday (21 August).

The cohort’s 51 graduates hail from The Gambia, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ivory Coast, and Zimbabwe.

US tech publication TechCrunch said in an article on Wednesday that the cohort’s graduates will launch their startups in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa.

The 11 startups and their founders are:

Launching in Ghana:

  • Adi+Bolga: This platform leverages the power of technology and community to gather data and create conversations around black skin and black skincare. The founders are Abimbola-Kofoworola Oladeji (Nigeria), Oluwaferanmi Ogundipe (Nigeria), Millicent Koranteng-Yorke (Ghana) and Amanda Williams (Nigeria).
  • BezoMoney: This digital savings platform for traditional savings groups was founded by CEO Mubarak Sumaila (Ghana), CMO Diana Osei (Ghana) and CTO Kenneth Simpson (origin unconfirmed).
  • Massira: The startup runs a women’s social support network and healthcare service aggregator. The startup’s founders are team lead Samirah Maison (Ghana), team lead Micael Die (Ivory Coast), operations lead Ada Tapily (Mali) and marketing lead Favour Barde (Ghana).
  • Niqao: This financing platform connects merchants and lenders to enable them to offer customers the option of paying in instalments. Its founders are product lead Osborne Saka (Ghana), tech lead Kwadwo Agyapon-Ntra (Ghana), business lead Oreoluwa Akanni (Nigeria) and team lead Jacques Amatcha (Ivory Coast).

Launching in Kenya:

  • Farmula: The startup offers a web and USSD platform that uses an automated process to increase order efficiency between farmers and businesses. The founders are CPO Jacky Kimani (Kenya), COO Ibrahm AbdulMalik (Nigeria), CTO Ahmed Kamal Madani (Sudan) and CEO Vivian Opondoh (Kenya).
  • Nadia: This startup has a personalised automated health companion that provides quick medical attention and prescriptions. The startup’s founders are CTO Victor Okech (Kenya), COO Olamide Akomolafe (Nigeria), CPO Funsho Olaniyi (Nigeria) and CEO Ahmed Elmi (Somalia)
  • Saada: Offering a messaging and mobile money ticketing service for increasing digital sales and data collection, this startup was founded by tech lead Eugene Musebe (Kenya), business lead Gerishon Mwaniki (Kenya), product lead Joel Ulrich Mabou Fene (Cameroon), and team lead Faderr Johm (Gambia).

Launching in Nigeria:

  • CoFundie: CoFundie is a platform for crowd-sourcing funds for the development of buildings using cost efficient and time-saving techniques. Its founders are CEO Chukwuemeka Ndukwe (Nigeria), CTO Kwadwo Amo-addai (Ghana), COO Zahra Faye (Gambia).
  • CoVibes: This startup pairs verified studios and producers, allowing them to list their profiles and manage bookings while enabling artists to find and collaborate with them and each other. The startup’s founders are CEO Kayode Daniel (Nigeria), CTO Victor Yunusa (Nigeria) and CMO Stephen Nderitu (SA).
  • Zuri: This platform helps beauty professionals manage their customers and provides an easy way for people to find and book beauty services. The startup’s founders are team and product lead Onyinye Nnedolisa (Nigeria) and growth lead Aaron Ejeme (Nigeria).

Launching in South Africa:

  • Kweza: The startup enables informal retailers to order products at the best price and receive deliveries directly to their stores. The founders are tech lead Ngunyi Macharia (Kenya), marketing lead Gloria Kaguo (SA), team lead Ropafadzo Musvaire (Zimbabwe) and finance lead Bekithemba Ngulube (SA).

MEST last month appointed of Ashwin Ravinchandran as its new managing director, he takes over from former head Aaron Fu (see this story).

Ravinchandran told Ventureburn yesterday (22 August) that the startups plan to use the investments to set the companies up in their respective markets and launch their minimum viable products (MVPs).

They’ll also spend the grants on making customer acquisitions, as well as on growing their respective brands, while setting up a base for raising further rounds of funding.

Read moreMEST Africa appoints Ashwin Ravinchandran as new head

Featured image: MEST Class of 2019 (MEST Africa)

Daniel Mpala


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