Flapmax & Microsoft launch FA23 cohort for African start-ups

Innovators unleashed: The FA23 cohort is ready to transform Africa’s digital future. Photo: Supplied
Innovators unleashed: The FA23 cohort is ready to transform Africa’s digital future. Photo: Supplied

In a move to boost Africa’s digital economy, Flapmax, a pioneering data and AI technology company, has unveiled the 12 companies selected for the highly anticipated second cohort of the FAST Accelerator programme. Developed in partnership with tech giant Microsoft, this initiative aims to fortify and amplify the continent’s digital ecosystem.

FAST, after its intensive two-week online bootcamp, has now handpicked a diverse cohort of 12 start-ups poised for a transformative five-week acceleration journey in the heart of Silicon Valley, California, set to kick off in October.

Microsoft’s commitment to African innovation

Mame-Fatou Gueye, SME programme manager at Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, underscored the significance of this collaboration: “Microsoft believes that African start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are well-positioned to become a bedrock for the African digital economy, with relevant solutions to local societal and economic challenges. Participation in the FAST Accelerator programme will help these entrepreneurs capture growth opportunities and expand their market reach.”

Record-breaking applications from across Africa

The FAST Accelerator programme witnessed an astounding response, with over 1 200 applications pouring in from 35 African countries.

Diverse industries were represented, including financial services, healthcare, agriculture, transportation and logistics, clean technology and energy, and creative media and entertainment. These applications showcased a wide array of cloud-based products and services leveraging AI to drive innovation, boost efficiency, and address critical challenges within their domains.

Flapmax’s vision for a transformed digital landscape

Dr Dave Ojika, founder and CEO of Flapmax, highlighted their overarching mission.

“At Flapmax, our mission is to build societally impactful solutions that harness the power of AI to transform multiple industries through long-term partnerships with start-ups, SMEs, and global enterprises. Our objective is to empower start-ups and underrepresented entrepreneurs to rapidly and sustainably scale their businesses and create new job opportunities using AI as a catalyst.”

Meet the FA23 cohort

The FA23 cohort represents a dynamic mix of start-ups poised to make waves across Africa and beyond:

  • Zeeh Africa: An AI-powered open banking platform connecting businesses to financial data.
  • Sumundi: An intelligent e-commerce platform designed for Africa’s retail businesses.
  • Cotrust Equity: Dubbed the “Uber for micro-lending in Africa.”
  • Trucki: An AI-powered haulage infrastructure connecting cargo stakeholders.
  • Orange VFX: Delivering high-quality animation and visual effects to bolster African businesses.
  • 10mg Pharma: AI-driven cost savings on medications for chronic pain patients.
  • Wallx: A payment and business solution tailored for small business owners.
  • Moosbu: Empowering SMEs with AI for sales and financing.
  • KCG Aquatec Fish Farming: Aquaculture infrastructure that helps fish farmers grow their businesses sustainably.
  • Aibanc: AI-powered Banking for High Earners Not Rich Yet (HENRY).
  • Zendawa Africa: Enabling neighbourhood pharmacies to sell online.
  • Greenbii: An AI-driven asset financing and software management platform for SMEs.

Empowering start-ups with cutting-edge resources

Beginning 23 October, the FA23 cohort will embark on a comprehensive journey encompassing training, AI integration, business development, fundraising, and various other events.

They will work closely with Intel and Microsoft on co-innovation projects, receive sales and marketing support, and gain go-to-market enablement to broaden their audience reach. Flapmax’s engineering team will also provide invaluable assistance in applying optimized Large Language AI models (LLMs) while scaling and fine-tuning these models on Microsoft Azure and Intel platforms.

Ricard Oboh, co-founder and creative director of Orange VFX Studios, said: “It was such a great privilege participating in the FAST Accelerator program! Thank you for the phenomenal classes and the opportunity to build new cross-national networks with other amazing entrepreneurs creating global solutions to local problems with one single aim to make the world a better place for everyone.”

In addition to its cohort announcement, Flapmax has introduced FAST Portal, a digital matching platform aimed at connecting investors with start-ups. FAST Portal will facilitate introductions between investors, partners, and start-ups within the FAST Accelerator community.

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