New initiative aims to grow African startups

Launched by Asia Africa Investment & Consulting Pte. Ltd. (AAIC) in collaboration with Rakuten Group, the AAIC-Rakuten Africa Innovation Project aims to promote the growth of African startups addressing social challenges with technical and management mentoring. 

The launch of the AAIC-Rakuten Africa Innovation Project aims to assist the growth of African

In a press release, Toby Otsuka, CEO of Rakuten Europe, explained that African startups participating in Rakuten and the Africa Healthcare Fund, led by AAIC, will share information and expertise to assist with solutions that efficiently solve social challenges

“Since the day Rakuten was founded, we have always believed in the power of innovation, and throughout its history, our company has always been dedicated to contributing to society. In recent years, many startups in Africa have achieved tremendous growth and are using technology to change people’s lives in significant ways. By collaborating with AAIC and engaging in dialogue with startups that are confronting local challenges head-on, we hope to solve social challenges with our partners as a team leveraging Rakuten technology and business assets.”

Founded in 2013 and based in Singapore, AAIC is a Japanese growth equity fund and consulting firm that aims to improve the performance and expansion rate of rapid growth companies in the healthcare sector in Africa. 

AAIC provides capital growth and an increase in long term value for companies they decide to invest in. 

Rakuten, an eCommerce and online retailing company that offers services including fintech, digital content, communications, and more, launched in 1997 in Tokyo. 

The company aims to empower entrepreneurs and businesses to optimise their performance in the market.

AAIC and Rakuten came together to launch their collaborated innovation project that aims to assist local startups who are wanting to solve social issues in the fields pertaining to agriculture, nutritional value, and clean drinking water. 

Addressing healthcare issues

AAIC established the Africa Healthcare Fund in 2017 to invest in startups within the healthcare sector with the objective of growing businesses in developing countries, using strategic consulting, funds, and human resources. 

Shigeru Handa, Director of AAIC, comments on the social issues present in the healthcare sector and how important the collaboration with Rakuten is to grow technology-based businesses.

“Scaling up for further growth is a big challenge as we invest in and support companies that are driving innovation in the healthcare sector, which is one of Africa’s social challenges. We expect this collaboration with Rakuten to provide opportunities to promote synergies and business growth for startups, particularly in the area of technology.”

By September 2020, the AAIC had invested in 21 companies that strive to eliminate healthcare services related issues by making use of healthcare ecommerce, fintech for international money transfers, an ambulance dispatch platform, online mental health counseling, teleradiology platform, advanced imaging centers, dialysis centers, and maternity hospitals.

Initiative details

Focusing on practical measures to address and solve social challenges faced in Africa, the initiative plans to take place from October 29 to December 2021. 

The project will assist participating African startups in improving their business model, offering products with mentoring, and providing support in business operations. With experts providing one-on-one mentoring to participating entrepreneurs and African startups, the project aims to develop innovative solutions to social challenges faced in Africa and the healthcare sector. 

Read more: 2020 African App Launchpad Cup applications open
Read more: Winners announced for the 2020 ITU Innovation Challenge

Featured image: fauxels via Pixabay 



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