20 Top African StartUps Enter World Bank Group Digital Acceleration Programme

Updated on 7 November 2017

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Today's Top Entrepreneurship And Business Stories (7 November)

Twenty of the most promising African digital startups will take part in the XL Africa residency, the flagship initiative of the business accelerator launched last April by the World Bank Group’s infoDev programme. From Nov. 6-17 in Cape Town, the 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.

The residency will conclude with the XL Africa Venture Showcase, a regional event organized 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. With support from African investment groups, XL Africa will help the start-ups attract early stage capital between US$250,000 and US$1.5 million.

Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these startups specialise in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, 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.

“We are pleased by the interest infoDev and XL Africa generated across the continent in just a few months,” said Klaus Tilmes, Director of the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group.

“XL Africa attracted firms with high-growth potential; many have female co-founders, have already raised early stage investment, and have demonstrated significant market traction. The number and quality of applications received are a clear testament to the competitiveness of African startups and the key role they play in Africa’s growing digital economy.”

The selection for XL Africa was conducted by a panel of industry experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC); implementing partners 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. These talented entrepreneurs are among those who are going to drive innovation on the continent and offer great opportunities for investors looking at African markets.”

The selected startups participating in the event are:

  • Aerobotics (Data, South Africa)
  • Asoko Insight (Data, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, United Kingdom, and Nigeria)
  • Coin Afrique (Marketplace, Senegal and Benin)
  • Edgepoint Digital (Jamii) (FinTech – Insurance, Tanzania)
  • Electronic Settlement Limited (FinTech, Nigeria)
  • Lynk Jobs Ltd. (HR, Kenya)
  • MAX (Transport, Nigeria)
  • ogaVenue (Venue Platform, Nigeria)
  • Ongair (SME Services, Kenya)
  • Pesabazaar.com (FinTech, Kenya)
  • Prepclass (EdTech, Nigeria)
  • Printivo (Printing, Nigeria)
  • Rasello Company Ltd. (SME Services, Tanzania)
  • Rensource (Energy, Nigeria)
  • Sendy Ltd. (Delivery, Kenya)
  • Snapplify (Publishing, South Africa and Kenya)
  • Sokowatch (Delivery, Kenya)
  • TalentBase (HR, Nigeria)
  • Timbuktu (Travel, South Africa)
  • Tizeti Network Ltd. (Connectivity, Nigeria)

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.

For more information on the program and the selected start-ups, visit www.XL-Africa.com.

To attend the African Angel Investor Summit, visit https://VC4A.com/aais2017/.

Standard Bank Creates R1.8bln Debt Funding Model For SA Agricultural Sector

Standard Bank on Monday announced the creation of a new R1.8 billion debt funding model for the South African agricultural sector.

Standard Bank will go into partnership with agribusiness, Transvaal Wattle Growers Co-operative Limited (TWK), and the Land Bank.

The 77-year-old business, TWK, provides a broad range of products and services to its stakeholders including timber, grain, trade and mechanisation, financial services, and vehicles and tyres.

The transaction is a first in agricultural finance in terms of the collaboration in a syndicated loan to TWK between Standard Bank as a commercial financial services provider and Land Bank as a parastatal financer.

It is also a first in terms of Standard Bank and TWK working together to restructure the co-operative’s balance sheet in a way that enables the bank to apply its financial insight from the corporate business world to agriculture’s operating environment.

Standard Bank head of agribusiness, Nico Groenewald, said that the new debt structure was aligned with TWK’s growth strategies and enhancing the balance sheet of the company. He said it was a perfect balance between the optimal financing mechanism and financing products.

“All credit must go to the visionary approach TWK’s board has taken in initially realising that they needed to structure the business differently in order to capitalise on the growth the company has already experienced and then in approaching us for our input as to how best to achieve that,” Groenewald said.

TWK was prepared to change its financial model which made it possible for a commercial bank like Standard Bank to work together with the Land Bank and in combination create an optimal debt funding structure. The funding model is ideally structured and can be scaled as the TWK business grows.”

Groenewald also said that they had been delighted to work with Land Bank in pro-actively looking for different, more effective ways of funding agriculture.

“In this particular transaction, as a non-commercial entity, Land Bank’s willingness to innovate is a clear indication that the industry as a whole is moving in an extremely positive direction,” Groenewald said. (via African News Agency)

SBG Securities, Africa’s Leading Stock Broker, Approved By A2X

South Africa’s newest stock exchange, A2X Markets (A2X), has approved SBG Securities Pty Ltd (SBG Securities) as a trading member.  SBG Securities is the leading stock broking firm in Africa and a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Bank Group Limited.

The approval follows the successful maiden settlement of an institutional client agency trade on A2X by Standard Bank Investor Services, one of South Africa’s largest CSDPs (central securities depository participants).

A2X CEO, Kevin Brady says, “SBG Securities is one of SA’s leading stock broker firms and was ranked number 1 in this year’s Financial Mail research rankings awards.  We are thrilled to have them on board as an approved broker and hot on the heels of the seamless settlement of our first agency trade with Standard Bank Investor Services.”

Luke Middlewick, CEO of SBG Securities, says, “As a key player in SA’s capital market, it made sense for us to be at the forefront of this initiative bringing competition and the consequent well-established benefits to the South African financial market.”

A2X competes directly with the JSE and provides an alternative platform for companies to secondary list and trade their shares. A2X began trading on 6 October 2017 and now has five brokers on board.  African Rainbow Capital Investments (AIL), Peregrine Holdings (PGR) and Coronation Fund Managers (CML) were the first counters to take advantage of a secondary listing on A2X.

A2X uses technology developed by the UK’s Aquis Technologies, a division of Aquis Exchange, which includes proven exchange matching and surveillance systems and a clearing platform custom-built for A2XAquis Exchange is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The market leading exchange systems are fast and efficient. Its surveillance system is programmed to monitor trading across multiple markets and ensures that any trading anomalies are detected early. This ability to provide cross market surveillance will be a first in South Africa.

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