The Pan-African training program which also doubles as a seed fund and incubator; Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) has announced seven start-ups that will receive $700,000 in funding as part of its plan to celebrate its 10th anniversary of investing in African tech start-ups.
Based in Accra, Ghana, MEST became one of the earliest tech incubators in Africa in 2008.
However, the start-ups were picked from across Africa including; Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Cote d’Ivoire and each start-up receives $100,000 as well as support and mentorship from MEST.
These start-ups were selected after completing MEST’s 12-month training program.
MEST is part of Meltwater, the global social media monitoring firm. Founder and CEO Jorn Lyseggen started it with $15,000 in Norway in 2001; and it’s now believed to be a $300-million a year business.
“It’s been an exhilarating ride scaling MEST in Africa and this year has absolutely reaffirmed my conviction that MEST is truly unique in Africa in both approach and perspective.” MEST Managing Director Aaron Fu told Forbes.
“Our primary pathway to both our incubators and our seed fund uniquely begins pre-idea and pre-team, we equip our Entrepreneurs-In-Training (EITs) with a baseline of skills and industry exposure both most importantly with a cohort of 59 other handpicked individuals driven to create Pan-African, if not global, technology businesses. We also de-risk a year of learning and testing with a full scholarship and rigorous, practical curriculum.”
The start-ups range from a fintech platforms for small business, an on-demand storage marketplace, a cargo booking platform and a technical recruitment service for programmers.
Delving deeper, Jumeni from Ghana is starting with waste management as a cornerstone sector, but has already seen interest from all forms of businesses requiring remote workforce management.
Judy in Nigeria uses AI to empower lawyers in Africa. Judy, which is just weeks into launch has already secured a customer in one of the continent’s largest law firms. With a big potential to expand internationally.
CodeIn solves a problem everyone in the tech industry in Africa is keenly aware of: that is, efficiently and consistently testing and hiring software developers by providing an end-to-end testing and hiring platform, CodeIn hopes to unlock work opportunities for freelance software developers in Africa and the world.
Bace brings cutting edge facial recognition technology to bear on the problem of identity and KYC in Africa, beginning with financial institutions that have some of the strictest KYC requirements of any industry, the founding team hopes to scale this provide identity verification universally on the continent.
ShareHouse, kicking off in Kenya, is on a path towards being the Airbnb for warehouses. Their founders are driven by a mission to democratize and bring efficiency to warehouses that have been out of reasonable reach for many SMEs.
Nvoicia, which is launching almost simultaneously in Lagos and Accra, will use machine learning to unlock liquidity for SMEs via accessible and consistently assessed invoice discounting.
Truckr has a founding team obsessed with ground logistics. They’ve spent the last few months in cross-country trucks, parked trucks, with trucking unions, in the ports, an din warehouses. Now armed with these insights are bringing efficiencies to an industry with so much spare capacity in Africa, utilising robust and affordable software and hardware tailored for the land freight ecosystem in Africa.