Apply – Founder Stock Agreements Training


August 23, 2016

Early last month, iHub partnered with uWakili an online legal services platform to provide specific pro bono legal services to the iHub and m:lab startups. uWakili is an online legal services platform that provides Kenyan businesses and individuals access to cost-effective and easy-to-use online legal services

The partnership entails virtual legal consultation office hours for startups and entrepreneurs in the community and a monthly in-depth training for startups and entrepreneurs on a broad range of issues. The training will be held monthly for the next four month. The first training was held last month. The training was on Legal Structure and compliance.

We will host the next training on 29th August from 5 pm – 7 pm at the iHub. The training will be on Founder Stock Agreements. The training will be facilitated by John Reyes Freeman.

About John Reyes

John Reyes Freeman is a US and Hong Kong licensed attorney versed in corporate and securities law. John is also knowledgeable in startups, having been a founder and C-level staff for over 10 startups. John was the General Counsel for a new media and technology Incubator and Private Equity fund’s Asia Pacific office for over 3 years. After leaving the PE world, John turned to mentoring startups on legal compliance and investment issues. After winning a hackathon in April, John took over as Co-Founder and COO of Agriledger, a charity helping small farmers worldwide.

Details of the training

Topics to be covered

  1. Founder Stock Agreements, touching particularly on the following:
  1. How to allocate stock between founders and early employees
  2. Vesting provisions:- periods and unvested stock
  3. Co-sale provision
  4. Right of first refusal
  5. Founder Departures

When: Monday 29th August from 5.00 PM to 7.00 PM

Where: iHub – Ngong Road, Nairobi
RSVP HERE to attend

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Investors: Discover East Africa’s Deal Pipeline at PIVOT East 2016

PIVOT East 2016

August 22, 2016

PIVOT East, East Africa’s premier mobile startups pitching competition and conference will be held on 15th November 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. One of the objectives that the event aims to achieve each year is “to raise the quality of mobile startups in the region and to improve their investability”. The 2016 edition is being organized to allow investor’s input upfront at the pitching event.

We have involved investors as judges in the selection of the finalists in previous editions. Some of the Investor funds involved in finalist selection were Savannah Fund, Kuramo Capital Management LLC, Novastar Ventures, and TLcom Capital LLP. Other venture capital funds involved were Gray Ghost Ventures, ACCION’s venture labs, the Invested Development, Kaizen Venture Partners,Inventure Management Ltd,Investec Asset Management among others.

We are inviting investors to contribute to the quality of startups and their investability hence an enhanced deal pipeline in 2016 and beyond, by participating in this year’s event as a virtual judge to select the finalists of the competition, a judge during the conference and or as an attendee. Ideal investors for PIVOT East Startups are those who are active and involved in helping to build companies in Africa. Early stage, Angel Investors and patient investors able to pursue deals in East Africa  are particularly encouraged to take part.

You may join in for the benefits below :-

  1. Deal pipeline access through key information on top 25 startups, from this year and any other PIVOT alumni.
  2. Potential of being in the panel that determines the 5 Awardees from the 25 finalists in the 5 category
  3. Investor feedback at preliminary selection stages to inform training, coaching and mentorship program for finalists before the pitching conference.
  4. Special seat at the pitching conference to interrogate startups as they pitch.
  5. Assistance to meet startups of interest at the finalists conference.
  6. Notification of deals closing following PIVOT East interactions to be shared to m:lab East Africa for our own statistics (we will not disclose personal details).
  7. Institutional investors participating under this framework to be listed in the PIVOT East website

If you are interested to participate in PIVOT East 2016 as an investor, kindly apply HERE. For more information feel free to get in touch with Sheilah Birgen – m:lab East Africa Lead via email or Egra Ombati at

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Standing Out From the Crowd: PIVOT East Selection Criteria

PIVOT East 2016

August 17, 2016

On November 15th, East Africa’s premier startups pitching competition and conference will take place in Nairobi.  The Call for applications is open and the deadline for submitting applications for the competition is on 8th September. Application  is open to all residents of the Eastern African countries of Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, South Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda. Tech startups from the named  countries  are  eligible to participate.

Application process is the beginning of the PIVOT East journey towards making it to the finals and hopefully winning in your category, meeting partners or investors. Upon the close of applications on the 8th September, panel of industry experts and investors with wide expertise in entrepreneurship, business development, software development and investor relations will assess startups at the various stages of selection. The selection is a funnel shaped filtration process starting with 50 semi-finalists, then 25 finalists and then 5 category winners at the finalists conference.

One of the questions we are frequently asked is “What do the investors and panelists look for in the competition?”. Well, the criteria for the selection will be guided by these factors:

(1) Problem and Customer Segments

What customer pain are you solving? Is it a problem worth solving ? what specific customer segments are affected? What is the addressable market size?

2) The solution

How are you solving the customer’s stated problem? what are the top features of your solution that specifically address the customer problem. What validates that the solution resonates with the customer’s problem

(3) Revenue Streams Envisaged and Tested

How you will make money by providing the solution given the current nature of the market place. Have you conducted experiments on any of the potential revenue streams? what were the outcomes?

(4) The Technological Advantage

Why is the technological solution and revenue model expected to work? What unique technological approaches or platforms have you considered or used?

(5) Analysis of Competitive Landscape

What are the existing alternatives to your solution? Do you know who your competitors / collaborators are? What differentiates you from the competition? what can be done through existing alternatives that your solution cannot do? What can your solution do that your competition cannot do?

(6) Customer Acquisition & Channels

Who are the early adopters, What customer segments are you prioritizing, what is your path to the customers. What channels are you using to reach the customer segments? How will you achieve customer activation? (first instance of gratifying experience)

(7) Team Composition & Commitment Level

Team composition is very important. Team composition and complementarity of skills, suitability of team structure to deliver on business goals, sense of commitment to the startup by team members  is vital. Show the skills & experience that the team members have? Demonstrate the team members commitment e.g do you have founders’ agreement, vesting schedules?

(8) Market Traction and Secondary Achievements

What has the business achieved so far? This could be one more of the following :-

(List ordered in descending order of importance)

  • Number of paying customers,
  • Number of Gross monthly revenue
  • Growing / Sticky User-base
  • Number of Downloads / Pageviews / Requests,
  • Number  of active / repeat users
  • Customer discovery progress
  • Prototype iterations made,
  • MVP soliciting customer insights,
  • Customer interviews made
  • Intellectual Property Assets
  • Key partnerships or investments secured – content, distribution, marketing, funding etc
  • Awards, accolades, media mentions earned

(9) Projections for Milestones and Key Metrics

How’s your roadmap or projections for growth within the next 12 months for, it could be in terms of: – Revenue, Users, Customer discovery / development, Key partnerships & Investments etc And most importantly what will it take to achieve desired milestones?

That should help you create a powerful startup profile not just for the competition but also for you to refine your business model while make it more understandable to yourself and to investors. The same set of criteria items is applied at all stages of the PIVOT East competition.

Other reminders:

  • Competition Applications submitted at
  • Minimum number of team members is two (2)
  • Tag startup entries in only one competition category

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Three Startups Stand a Chance to Represent Kenya at GIA, Slush 2016


August 12, 2016

Slush Global Impact Accelerator Kenya pitching event was held on 11th August at the iHub. The event saw nine startups battling for a chance to represent Kenya at the Global Impact Accelerator Program, Slush 2016, which will be held at Helsinki in Finland from 22nd November – 2 December 2016.

Slush Global Impact Accelerator is a program created in collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and multiple partners globally. The purpose of Slush is to create a leading global program to support startups that are looking to solve some of the most pressing global challenges and contributing to the discussion on impact investing.

Three representatives were selected by a panel of judges to move to the next level. The panel of judges consisted of; Tomas Jakobsson – Commercial Counsellor, East Africa Trade Center Embassy of Finland, John Kieti – World Bank Consultant, Millicent Mwendwa – Chief Business Development Officer Eneza Education, Gathoni Mwai – Research and Partnership Associate, Afroes and Muthuri Kinyamu – Program Coordinator Africa, Nest

The judging panel based their decision on; sustainability and potential to scale, market traction of the startup, composition of the team, potential for measurable  positive impact on people, society, or planet of the startup. The three startups that will be proceeding to the next stage are;

  • Chura has created a platform that users can access via SMS or Web and get hold of any resource from any mobile network. Chura enables you to transfer airtime across networks, buying airtime from any network using any mobile money service, converting airtime to mobile money, as well as sending airtime to multiple phone numbers with reliable speed and convenience at just the click of a button.
  • Olivine Technology is a software company that specializes in designing and developing automated data capture tools  that integrate with best in class third party solutions such as, Quickbooks, Sage Evolution, SAP Business 1, SPSS, and Mpesa
  • Yusudi is a social enterprise bridging the skills gap between youth and labor market. Yusudi creates young people with ability to self-learn and pursue employment and self-employment opportunities

The shortlisted candidates will be contacted by the Slush Selection Committee for an interview. The final decision will be made by the selection committee based on the application form and interview.

All the nine startups that participated in Slush pitching event will get a 6 month membership at Metta courtesy of Nest. The startups will have access to some of their exclusive events, relevant workshops and masterclasses to further develop their ideas, introductions when and if need be, networking and many other opportunities.

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PIVOT EAST 2016 – Call for Applications

PIVOT East 2016

August 11, 2016

PIVOT East 2016 is finally here! The organizing team is excited to officially announce the open call for applications for the PIVOT East 2016 edition.

PIVOT East is Africa’s biggest startups competition and conference held annually since 2011. The competition comprises of a series of activities that will culminate in the finalists conference which will be held on 15th November 2016. The conference is organized by m:lab East Africa an initiative of the iHub.

PIVOT East  aims to catalyse the growth of startups, so as to amplify and consolidate the gains of East Africa’s digital entrepreneurship ecosystem.  The key objective for this year’s event is “to facilitate discovery of the next wave of high potential startups in the region”.

Tech startups from across the region that meet the requirement can start applying for the competition. Entries to the competition are to be submitted here Information on how to join including eligibility criteria may be found HERE

Applications to compete in 2016 will be entered as detailed startup profiles which describe the customer pain, the startups solution, revenue streams, team composition and commitment, market traction, short-term projections and milestones among other aspects.  The overall startup profile will be used by the competition judges who will mostly be investors to score the potential of the startup to become a sustainable high growth enterprise.

The competition has five categories which are; Finance, Enterprise, Entertainment, Utilities and Society and Governance. Each category will feature five finalists who will pitch to an audience of Investors, Development Partners, Government Representatives, Telecom Operators and other key stakeholders from East Africa. The 25 finalists will receive training and coaching on how to pitch to investors.

Startups that reached final 25 lists of PIVOT 2011, PIVOT 2012 ,PIVOT 2013, PIVOT 2014,  and PIVOT 2015 may not compete with products/services previously submitted for the competition. The judging panel will have discretion to disqualify entries in breach of this requirement. Companies that entered the competition but did not make it to the finals can compete with the same product.

The deadline for submission of applications is on 8th September 2016. Applicants are encouraged to start building and curating their startup profiles early as they might need to research or source some of the information required widely. Applicants are also required to upload a short (max 5 mins) video of the founders expressing the mission and strength of their startups on their VC4Africa profile.

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