Africatwenty10 Accelerator Launches

— PRESS RELEASE — 

Africa now has a $2 trillion economy, with a third of the continent’s countries growing at 6% or more. It has 60% of the world’s arable land and we will soon have the world’s largest workforce and the youngest continent with 75% of population under 25 years.

Earlier in 2014, GEM published its annual report looking at the state of entrepreneurship globally. It found that sub-Saharan Africa is the region with by far the highest number of people involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity with Zambia and Nigeria leading the world rankings. In light of these great strides of Africa in entrepreneurship many accelerators have being established to catalyze the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa.

The AfricaTwenty10 Accelerator is looking to solve the problem of the growth of very few truly large African companies (e.g. Seven Seas, Mara Group, Naspers) due to the fragmented and small market size in the different countries. This affects the continents ability to create strong companies and ecosystems.

Africa Twenty10 is an accelerator which will provide a three (3) month intensive program for startups to enable them launch in multiple markets to access bigger market sizes. We aim to balance the companies that we accept to include a fair balance of female led startups, social enterprises along with other profitable and impactful startups.

The Program is supported by Microsoft 4 Afrika Initiative, Appfrica Venture Capital Fund, Expand HR Services and innovation spaces across Africa including iSpace in Ghana. Application opened on 31st October 30 and Closes December 10th , 2014 .Please visit www.AfricaTwenty10.com to apply.

— END —

Kirusa Acquires Ghana’s Mobiile Messaging Platform, Saya Mobile

PRESS RELEASE (source: http://www.kirusa.com/media-news/press-release/2014/20140819)

— BEGIN —

Voice Messaging and Social Media Innovator Kirusa has acquired the technology, workforce and intellectual property of Saya 

New Providence, NJ and Accra, Ghana, Tuesday, 19th August, 2014 —Kirusa, the leader in voice messaging and social media mobile apps in emerging markets, today announced that it has acquired Saya Mobile, a Ghana-based provider of instant messaging apps geared specifically for African consumers.Representative of the company’s increasing commitment to the region, this acquisition enhances Kirusa’s expertise and the reach of its InstaVoice mobile app across the African continent. As per the deal, Kirusa has acquired the technology, intellectual property, and workforce of Saya, which will now be working on Kirusa’s mobile applications.

“Africa remains a top priority for our business,” says Inderpal Singh Mumick, CEO of Kirusa. “While there has been astonishing progress of the mobile industry, the biggest impact of mobile in Africa is yet to come. We believe there are advantages to building products specifically for this region and have made the strategic decision to acquire Saya in line with that thinking. Since its inception, Saya has focused on delivering compelling messaging applications that enhance the mobile user experience and are tailored to the mobile consumers in emerging markets, and more specifically, in Africa.”

Founded in 2011, Saya has received wide exposure for its real-time “Street Chat” messaging application.  Based on highly scalable backend architecture, Saya’s platform includes social network integration, location-based and group chat across multiple phone platforms including J2ME, Android and iOS.

“In launching Saya, we wanted to create a world class product but that was made by Africans, for Africans,” says Robert Lamptey, CEO of Saya. “Joining forces with Kirusa is a natural and exciting next step for our team. We remain focused on our goal of placing this technology into the hands of and empowering millions of mobile subscribers. We look forward to realizing this vision together with Kirusa.”

“It was a true pleasure working with Kirusa on the acquisition. The professionalism and understanding displayed by their team during this process has been exceptional. Having known Kirusa’s management for years and supported Saya since its launch, MEST couldn’t be more supportive of Saya becoming a part of a company led by such industry visionaries”, says Neal Hansch, Managing Director of the MEST Incubator program in West Africa.

 “We are thrilled to have Saya’s talented team join Kirusa,” says Mumick. “Robert’s vision for mobile-first solutions in emerging markets matches that of our company and we believe this collaboration will continue to foster more creativity and innovation for the benefit of our customers.”

About Kirusa
Kirusa is the leader in voice messaging and social media mobile apps that enable mobile subscribers to “Have a Voice!” and share their stories with their family and friends across the globe.  Kirusa’s solutions include InstaVoice®, Celeb Connect™ and Sports Connect™ apps, which are offered in partnership with more than thirty-five mobile carriers in Africa, India, LatAm, and Middle East, as well as via the app stores, and are used monthly by over 80 million mobile users in four continents.  Kirusa solutions are built on its patented technology, and its highly reliable and scalable multimodal and cloud platforms, which process over one billion events a month. Kirusa has been recognized as one of top 20 most promising technology companies by Silicon India, and one of top 25 emerging technology companies by Smart Techie magazine. The InstaVoice app won first prize at NJTC Mobile Apps Forum.  Headquartered in New Jersey and led by an experienced team of wireless telecom executives and technologists, Kirusa has offices in four continents. InstaVoice is a US registered trademark of Kirusa, Inc.

For more information, visit: www.kirusa.com

About Saya Mobile
Saya is a mobile messaging company with services that cater to high-growth mobile markets worldwide. It’s application has brought cheap mobile messaging to people who do not have smartphones in emerging economies. Saya Messenger is used in over 35 countries worldwide with Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, India, and Indonesia being it’s biggest markets. Saya Messenger cuts the cost of messaging for people in these markets by over a 1000 times allowing the people that need cheap messaging to enjoy it. Saya’s  Streetchat feature which groups people in the same location into a chatroom was used by feature phone users during the Syrian and Egyptian uprising for communication. The company was a TechCrunch Disrupt finalist in 2012 and has gone on to win other awards both locally and internationally. Saya was founded by Robert Lamptey and Badu Boahen, both graduates of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a program that provides training, investment and mentoring for aspiring technology entrepreneurs in Africa. Saya’s investors include the Meltwater Foundation, Forward Partners and Progress through Business.

For more information, visit: www.saya.im

For further queries, please contact

For Kirusa
Alchemy Corporate Communications
Anju Makin
India Tel: +91-9810170135
USA Tel: +1-973-536-2652
E-mail: anju_makin@alchemycc.com

— END —

First Pan-African Women In Tech Meetup Happening 2nd August

Press Release
19/07/2014

First Pan-African Women in Tech Meetup

Working in technology can, at times, be an isolating experience for women, especially in Africa. The impact of this can limit women’s professional growth in the sector. Women need mentors, role-models and a network to share their experiences, challenges and skills.
Some Women in Technology clubs exist already, but to date, no-one has attempted to build a pan-African network, allowing us to compare our challenges, learn from other countries and connect across borders to expand our influence.
Therefore, we are pleased to announce the first ever pan-African Women in Tech meet up. This will take the form of a virtual event, supported by simultaneous live viewing events in selected cities: [Kampla, South Africa  and Ghana ] 

We’d like to invite you to join us for a day of learning, food and fun!
When: 2 August 2014, Time :12pm GMT:2pm CAT :3pm EAT – [1 hour]
Register for live stream event or viewing parties at https://womentechafrica.wordpress.com

Speakers:
Wabei Walusiku – Accenture (Zambia) 
Victoria Mbabazi(Uganda) 
Enyonam Kumahor CEO – Thoughtworks Africa ( Ghana) 
Please join us, whether you’re already working in technology or aspire to. Men are welcome if they bring at least one woman with them.

The first Pan-African Women in Tech meet up has been organised by Women in Tech Ghana, Women in Tech Zambia, Women in Tech Uganda, and Girls in ICT Rwanda. 

Planning team:
Ethel Cofie (Ghana) – A tech entrepreneur who is the founder of women in tech Ghana. She runs an IT consultancy and is working on launching accelerator program for tech startups. [ethel@ethelcofie.com]
Ethel (Ella) Mbewe (Zambia) – She is the  Co-founder of AsikanaNetwork,. A motivated, accomplished and versatile IT technician know for Android mobile development, web design.
Akaliza Keza Gara(Rwanda) – She is the founder of Yambi Animation Studios and a member of Girls In ICT Rwanda. She loves open source software, animated films and chocolate milkshakes! She is also the Advisory Council Member for Microsoft 4Afrika.
Barbara Birungi (Uganda) – Social Entrepreneur, ICT4D activist, Zero technological gender balance focused, woman activist mother, consultant .Founder of women in tech Uganda ,Director of hivecolab and board chair of Afrilabs
Chisenga Muyoya (Zambia) – She is an ambitious and highly motivated young woman with experience in the IT industry. Eager to learn and work with emerging technologies and runs women in tech Zambia.

The AMPION Venture Bus (formerly Startup Bus) Scheduled for DEMO Africa 2014!



Press Release
18th July 2014

AMPION Venture Bus Destined for DEMO Africa, Lagos

DEMO Africa is getting even fierier after a confirmation that the AMPION Venture Bus 2014 will land at the venue of the DEMO Africa event in Lagos, Nigeria. The collaboration will see the best start up team that emerges from this bus earning a chance to pitch at the opening session of DEMO Africa 2014.

The AMPION Venture Bus journey to DEMO Africa will begin on 19 September 2014 in Abidjan. Over the next five days Ampioneers will be travelling to Takoradi, Ghana; Lomé, Togo; Accra, Ghana; and Cotonou, Benin before arriving in Lagos on 24 September 2014. The trip is open to all tech designers, developers, mentors and investors and application is ongoing on http://www.ampion.org/#!info1/cfg6. The seats are highly subsidized and are going for as low as US$50.

Commenting on the new collaboration, DEMO Africa’s event director Mbugua Njihia emphasised the importance of joint efforts by various parties in boosting the start-up scene in Africa. “We are all working hard to raise the awareness among stakeholder on the importance of innovations across Africa. Joining hands gives us and even louder voice thus making better our chances to be heard.”

Excited about the move, Fabian Guhl, Managing Director of the Berlin and Harare based AMPION, commented that being able to participate at DEMO Africa is a double win. “We share a lot of the same vision and goals. I am very pleased that our Ampioneers will have the opportunity to access such a high calibre audience, particularly so soon after their awesome trip from Abidjan”

The AMPION Venture Bus will operate in the week preceding the DEMO Africa event ending its journey in Lagos on the 24th September 204. The Ampioners will then join the other participants at DEMO Africa, one of the most successful tech events in Africa,with an estimated US$10 million of investment and business value being raised in previous  iterations of the conference.

As has been witnessed in the previous events, the September event is expected to attract top notch African investors. Participants’ registration is already open on https://www.eventbrite.com/e/demo-africa-2014-tickets-10936486325. The secretariat has put together a special package for investor delegates which comprises: 15% discount on a DEMO Africa ticket, 15% discount on a VC4A Pro Account, Access to the companies’ financials, Ticket to the Investor Cocktail on DEMO Africa’s opening evening, Ticket to a special Investor Boomcamp as well as access to a special Investor Lounge and Deal Room at DEMO Africa. More information on this package can be found at http://vc4afri.ca/h6j8u

DEMO Africa 2014 is scheduled to take place between 22nd and 26th of September at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. This year’s event is being organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners (Microsoft, Nokia, US State Department, DEMO, USAID, African Development Bank, VC4Africa among others) and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.