GAIN Opens Funding Applications for Startups

The Ghana Angel Investor Network, the foremost angel investment group in Ghana has opened up applications for Ghanaian owned startups to apply for funding. The application is open to startups for all industry segments in Ghana. To apply, visit www.gain.com.gh to complete the application process. Application for this quarter is open from now till the end of June, but priority will be given to those who apply early.

The Ghana Angel Investor Network (GAIN) is a network of Angel investors with a passion for investing in early-stage businesses with significant growth prospects and the potential to generate superior returns. GAIN is a body corporate limited by guarantee and established under the laws of Ghana. As a Network, GAIN is not-intended for profit. However, members and beneficiaries seek to derive significant returns on their investments.

The team at GAIN pride themselves on providing a full range of services for both entrepreneurs and investors. They are responsible for coordinating on behalf of the Angels and act as the liaison between entrepreneurs and Angels ensuring that the lines of communication are constantly open.

  • Identify, evaluate and develop investment opportunities
  • Adherence to defined Network processes, deal flow etc
  • Coordinating due diligence
  • Manage communications and relationships
  • Handle publicity and public relations

Ghana Angel Investor Network (GAIN) recently made their first investment of GHS 350,000 in Revo local Edutech startup providing solutions for the education sector. GAIN, a network of high net worth individuals, was established by the Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF) to bridge the funding gap for very early-stage companies. VCTF recognized the need to provide a platform for established entrepreneurs to assist aspiring entrepreneurs with capital and mentorship. GAIN launched with only 6 founding members and today has an impressive network of 24 investors, with a keen interest in startups. The GAIN network is diverse with investors having interests in sectors such as technology, agriculture, education and healthcare.

Following the investment, the founders are still working closely with the team at GAIN and the Angel investors and will continue to do so for at least 12 months. Leticia Browne, in charge of Investor Relations at GAIN, said added,

“This is one of the key benefits of working with GAIN as through the GAIN network, entrepreneurs can tap into a wealth of resources via the pool of investors and mentors who are dedicated to assist in building innovative and sustainable businesses.”

If you know of any startup which will benefit from such an opportunity, do well to share this good news with them.

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DEMO Africa Opens Startup Applications for 2015 Edition

The application window for DEMO Africa 2015 is now open and entrepreneurs can apply from today. The application process will be hosted by DEMO Africa’s partner VC4Africa. The application window will remain open throughout the months of March, April to close by end of May. This will be followed by all the qualifying applications being taken through an adjudication process after which the top thirty will be invited to pitch on the DEMO Africa stage in September during the DEMO Africa event in Lagos, Nigeria.

Commenting on the announcement, Ben White, Co-Founder and CEO of VC4Africa said: “We are looking forward to having even more mature applications this year. This means that competition will be stiff and I would encourage start-up entrepreneurs to present their best.”

Harry Hare, Executive producer for DEMO Africa observed that each year since the first DEMO Africa event was held in 2012, the number of applications keep going up. “We expect these numbers to go up again this year which is extremely encouraging as it clearly shows that more and more African entrepreneurs are getting enthusiastic about being part of Africa’s entrepreneurship revolution.”

To qualify for DEMO Africa 2015, start-ups must ensure that their products have the ability to impact the marketplace of introduction. A clear business plan and a team capable of delivering the product are also vital. The product must be ready for launch and the business must be legally registered. Preference is given to disruptive innovations that have massive potential for scale.

The 12 application categories include: Agriculture, Health, Education, Manufacturing and Retail. Others are Media and entertainment, Communication, Transport and Logistics, Energy, Finance and Banking, Water and Sanitation, Waste Management and recycling.

The applications will be vetted by an executive panel comprising experts in business and tech. The best thirty start-ups will have a chance to launch their products to an ecosystem of VCs, investors, tech acquisition specialists, IT buyers and media from across the region and around the globe.

The DEMO Africa Alumni have confirmed that they have been able to find valuable partnerships and learned useful business lessons through interactions by their participation. Last year, DEMO Africa presented 6 start-ups with a chance to tour the Silicon Valley to meet mentors and share with peers. These included; SpacePointe- Nigeria, Chura- Kenya, Nerve- Nigeria, Paysail- Ghana, Jifunza- Rwanda and Saisai-Zimbabwe. Recently, participants in VC4Africa research indicated they successfully raised USD 27 million, many of them being DEMO alumni.

Neal Silverman, Senior Vice President, DEMO Conference observed that Africa’s technology hotbed is simmering.” I am glad that the scene keeps heating up with each passing DEMO Africa event. The next challenge is to see a widespread consumption of locally manufactured solutions. Then Africa will have satisfactorily joined the league of world greatest economies.”

DEMO Africa 2015 is scheduled to take place on 24th and 25th September at the Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos. This year’s event is being organized in collaboration with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies and LIONS@FRICA partnership. As has been witnessed in the previous years, the September event is expected to attract top-notch African investors. Keep to http://www.demo-africa.com/ for updates on participants’ registration.

Submission of applications that meet the above requirements will be accepted online through https://vc4africa.biz/demo-africa/

For more information please contact:

Evelyne Wangui | Project and Communication Manager
Office:+254  20  404 1646
Mobile:+254  726 087 451
Email: evelyne.wangui@demo-africa.com

Miguel Heilbron| Director of Outreach-VC4Africa
Office:+31 20 233 63 25
Email: miguel@vc4africa.biz

LendingSquare Digitizes The Money Lending Sector In Ghana

Lending and borrowing is part of every business environment. A lot of individuals borrow from friends and family when they fall into debts of all sorts. However, sometimes you may run out of options, and banks may not be so friendly towards you. LendingSquare has found this problem, and has created a solution for it.

Product
LendingSquare was created to offer a more efficient, transparent and customer-friendly alternative to the traditional banking system that offers creditworthy borrowers lower interest rates and investors better returns. An alternative that gives more control to money owners and decision making to those it affects the most.

We operate fully online with no branch infrastructure, and use technology to lower cost and deliver an amazing experience. We want to help individuals to save more, businesses expand, investors earn better returns and the economy grow. Today, individuals and businesses can borrow directly from a wide network of lenders.

LendingSquare allows people to invest in each other in a way that is financially and socially rewarding — it offers a web platform and framework that helps individuals and small businesses access to fast and simple finance for personal and business related purposes. 
Value

  • Unlike the traditional financial institutions, LendingSquare does not lend money. The decision to lend or borrow exclusively depends on the lender and borrower respectively. The interest rate, loan amount and the payment term of the loan is determined by the lender and borrower. LendingSquare services all payments and transfers.
  • LendingSquare’s business model also offer social and marketing benefits that are unique in the P2P Lending community, which is creating awareness of, and interest in, the Businesses that borrow on the platform among prospective and participating customers and using social media to reach such customers.
Bragging Rights
Prior to going live on 17th November, LendingSquare was a finalist in the 2013 The indus Entrepreneur (TiE) business plan competition in Dubai and also an 88mph accelerator applicant. 
Team
  • E.I.MBALAM, Co-Founder/ C.E.O
  • MARK APPIAH KUSI, Co-founder/ COO
  • BENJAMIN OPPONG-KYEKYEKU, Chief Risk Officer
  • RICHMOND DUAFAH, Chief Commercial Officer
  • Hope Avalon Gagodo Little, CTO
  • MICHAEL DUGAH, Backend Developer
Development Stack
Confidential
Contact/Social Media/Job Openings
We are located at iSpace Foundation, F618/2 Anumansa, Lokko St.146 East X’borg Estate, Osu, Accra – Ghana.
Email: contactus@mylendingsquare.com or Call us +233 (0)26 871 0270 || +233 (0)506 776 108.
Facebook: lendingsquare

Accra to Host West Africa’s Top Entrepreneurs at Tech Camp W.A.

Several young people in Africa are making impact in the various sectors of the economy. Entrepreneurs, innovators, activists, etc. all contribute greatly to the growing economies of some of Africa’s fastest growing economies.

In its efforts to harness the young brains and in the spirit of sharing information for social good, the US Embassy in Ghana, in collaboration with GhanaThink Foundation, is organising West Africa’s premiere Tech Camp dubbed “Tech Camp West Africa”. The tech camp, similar to others which have been organised by the US State Department in several other countries will host about 100-150 participants from West Africa.

Happening from 6th – 8th February, 2015, the program aims to connect “civil society organisations across the globe with new and emerging technology resources to solve real world problems and build digital literacy through a two-day program.” The program will host regional speed-mentors from different sectors in governance, education, technology, and communications.

“The various sessions will empower about 100 entrepreneurs from the West African Sub-region as they share knowledge, and learn essential skills for disrupting the local tech and startup scene in their respective countries.”, Donald Ward, the Media and Marketing Chair for GhanaThink Foundation added.

GhanaThink Foundation is a Ghanaian youth development NGO that seeks to identify and groom young Talents for the greater benefit of Africa as a whole. For more details, write to info@techcampwestafrica.org or call +233-233-301-389, +233-272-413-200.

Applications for the event have already closed and the participants duly selected. The program promises to be a re-energizing time for the participants and for the social good, eventually. Find out more on techcampwestafrica.org or Global Tech Camps [http://techcampglobal.org]

Are you a part of the participants for the program? What are your expectations as the program comes off soon?

Ready To Build? Join Startup Weekend Accra [November 21 – 23]

Every year, as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week Celebrations, a Startup Weekend event is held in Accra. Startup Weekend, as always described, is

an intense 54-hour event designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs.  Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations

Over the years, Startup Weekend Accra winners have received notable mentions with Dropifi becoming the first African startup to be a 500 Startups alumnus. From Dropifi, all the way to Chillax, Startup Weekend has been a great event to meet developers, designers, business minds, and other great tech enthusiasts who are serious about building an MVP within 54 hours.

This year, Startup Weekend comes off from 21st to 23rd November, 2014, starting at 6.30pm on Friday. The event will be held at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology over the weekend. It’s always a joy to see dreams and ideas come alive. To register for the event, visit their event page on Eventbrite and pay the GHC20 fee on entry.

Come share ideas, build products, have fun and win! See you there!.

Top 40 Startups For DEMO Africa 2014 Announced

— BEGIN —

DEMO Africa has released the names of the forty start-ups that have qualified to launch their product on the DEMO Africa stage in September 2014.Topping the list is Nigeria with a total of 14 start-ups qualifying followed by Kenya, Ghana and Egypt. Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa and Ethiopia will each have two representatives while Tunisia, Benin, Cameroon, Uganda and Zimbabwe have earned their space at the DEMO Africa platform.

More than 400 hundred applications were received but only 242 had met the threshold for the adjudication. Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana recorded the highest number of entries.

Out of 12 categories for application, Communication attracted the highest number of applications with a total of 76 applications received, and it’s no wonder that this category will have the highest number of representation with 14 projects of the final forty being in this category. Finance and banking will also have a good representation of 8 out of 18 entries received. Other categories that will have high representation on the DEMO Africa stage include retail, health and education. Start-ups, however, shied away from Water & Sanitation, and Waste Management & Recycling. No entries were recorded for these two categories, an indication that stakeholder still have to work on entrepreneurs’ confidence to encourage homemade solutions across all sectors.

Commending the African entrepreneurs, the Nigeria Minister for Communication Technology, Honourable Mrs Omobola Johnson, stressed that; “This presents another opportunity for African tech startups. Africa may have missed out on the industrial revolution, but we surely will not in the ICT revolution. Through innovation, we will put Nigeria and Africa in general on the ICT map. Realizing the huge potential of the software industry, we have put in place a set of initiatives that will assist the tech startups to create successful businesses, which will directly create jobs and wealth.”

The DEMO Africa Executive Producer Harry Hare, acknowledged the efforts by all the participating start-ups and called upon the investors to support the work of these young entrepreneurs. ”We had really amazing entries this year, but unfortunately the DEMO Africa team can only accommodate forty for now. The high number of entries is inspiring. It only shows that entrepreneurs have risen above the fear of venturing into new waters to create new products. This in itself shows that confidence levels in Africa made solutions are steadily rising. I am confident that we will get to levels where we can generate solutions that can be applied globally.”

VC4Africa Founder, Ben White, observed that the standard of applications continues to rise each year with Victor Okigbo one of the DEMO Africa’s jurists supporting him by commenting that the judges task to shortlist the final forty was not easy.

The application for this year’s DEMO Africa opened in March 2014 closing in June. The applications were then fine combed by a panel comprising top minds in business and tech leaders from across Africa. The criterion for adjudication was the ability to link creativity, innovation, effectiveness and scalability.

The selected forty start-ups will have a chance to launch their products to an ecosystem of VCs, investors, tech acquisition specialists, IT buyers and media from across the region and around the globe. They will also benefit from one and a half month coaching and mentorship program to be spearheaded by DEMO Africa and the US State Department. The Mentorship program will be coordinated by Dr. Susan Amat, CEO, VentureHive and will include both local and international mentors and coaches.

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.

— END —

The 40 Startups are:

Shamba Technologies
mergims
Prepclass
SmartPesa
Kitiwa
Cube
LocName
TrafficBytes
Oradian
MyeCampus.net
Nerve
SokoNect
IroFit
NiKweli
MobileJobs (mjobs) powered by SOMTEC
Online Hisab
PieRide
Hutbay
VOTO Mobile
Pliby
Jifunza
SpellAfrica Initiative
ASiM
Feedbackplus
SpacePointe
VIGO
Valuraha Group
Cribpark
Saisai
Chura
matibabu
Paysail
Integrated Medics
.CONNECT FINANCE
MuZik
What’sIn™
Foodstantly
Telecosys
The Pearl Dream Inc
InstaCare


For more information please contact:

Evelyne Wangui | Project and Communication Manager
Office:+254  20  404 1646
Mobile:+254  726 087 451
Email: evelyne.wangui@demo-africa.com

Mr. Yele Okeremi | Chairman, Nigerian Local Organising Committee

Mobile: +234 803 304 1049

Email: yele@thepfs.biz

Mbugua Njihia| DEMO Africa Event Director:Email:mbugua@demo-africa.com 

Deadline for DEMO Africa Extended To June 22

June 16th 2014

Press Release

DEMO Africa extends application deadline to June 22
In startup land, getting through the starting blocks usually takes double the time; molding, tweaking, and playing around with ideas before finally having a ready product. Cognizant of this “universal” truth, DEMO Africa is keeping the application window open for one more week from Sunday June 15 to Sunday June 22, 2014.
Harry Hare, executive producer, DEMO Africa, said the extension has been motivated by the need to allow start-ups who have been working hard to meet the application guidelines but had not managed to do so by the initial June 15 deadline.
“From experiences, there is always a last minute rush by start-ups to comply. By extending the deadline, we want to give more time for innovators to ensure that their efforts do not go to  not waste, thereby boosting their confidence which is what we are about,” said Hare.
The VC4Africa founder Ben White supported the move to extend the deadline. He observed that the standards set by the applicants are really high and explained, “It’s always thrilling to see how hard entrepreneurs work on their applications and the jury has a tough job ahead of them. That said, many entrepreneurs have asked for more time to put their best foot forward. It’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurs on the sidelines to still get their hat in the ring, but they are going to have to move fast”.
VC4Africa is hosting the application window on http://demoafrica2014.com.
This move comes even as curtains fall on DEMO Africa’s innovation tours 2014. The tours which have been concluded in Lagos, Nigeria at the iDEA hub, have seen the DEMO Africa team visiting various countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ghana. This provided an opportunity for the team to meet Africa start-ups and coach on how best to apply for DEMO Africa 2014.
The applications will be looked through by an executive panel comprising experts in business and tech. The panel is tasked with the responsibility of shortlisting the best forty from the hundreds of applications submitted from across the region. The final forty will be based on the ability to link creativity, innovation, effectiveness and scalability. Names of the panel members will be released in the first week of July and Harry Hare assured continental representation in the selection panel.
The best forty start-ups will have a chance to launch their products to an ecosystem of VCs, investors, tech acquisition specialists, IT buyers and media from across the region and around the globe.
This history-making event is scheduled to take place between 22nd and 26th of September at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. Delegate registration is already open and those wishing to attend can take advantage of the early bird registration here http://bit.ly/1iwGWQb
This year’s event is being organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners (which include Microsoft, Nokia, US State Department, DEMO, USAID, African Development Bank, VC4Africa among others) and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.