GrowVC partners up with East African incubator m:lab


January 20, 2012

m:lab East Africa, a mobile innovation and entrepreneurship development facility, has recently signed a new partnership with the leading crowdfunding platform Grow VC. m:lab is establishing itself as a top mobile application incubator and is a consortium consisting of 4 organizations, • eMobilis- involved in education, training, accreditation and certification • World Wide Web Foundation -which handles the content of the curriculum, training and education. • The University of Nairobi – a computer technology school for rigorous academic research. • iHub -leveraging interaction within the community, the development arena, events and most importantly access to capital and markets The m:lab facility was launched with the support of a seed fund through the World Bank in 2011. Providing high potential entrepreneurs with technical and business training, a world class mobile testing facility, capital access and mentoring, one of m:lab’s main objectives is to help scale up startups into sustainable businesses within their first 2 years of operation. m:lab currently has 2 facilities in Africa, those being Pretoria and Kenya and they have recently opened 3 more in Armenia, Vietnam and Pakistan. The interconnected mobile app development labs with ties to Finland’s Nokia and World Bank’s InfoDev, provide a unique opportunity for startup entrepreneurs to grow. This is especially the case with Africa, where mobile penetration is at 100% yet developers are scarce and high priced. The strategically placed m:lab East Africa, will draw upon South Africa’s high bandwidth environment and incubate entrepreneurs while leveraging its connections throughout all of Africa. The arrangement of a partnership with GrowVC is anticipated to benefit all recipients of m:lab East Africa’s mobile entrepreneurship development services, which include •

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resident incubation clients • app development trainees • contestants in the Pivot East Competition • and more The partnership will also aim to address the issue of mismatched financing needs in East Africa. The GrowVC platform allows for funding in various stages and allows better startup valuations for entrepreneurs. The same models are also mutually beneficial to investors who can mitigate their risks by making investing a step by step process, rather than an all or nothing scenario. GrowVC is a nurturing ecosystem which openly and transparently connects startup entrepreneurs, experts and funders with one another in order to realize their passions. The platform allows startups to raise financing of up to 1M USD while exchanging shares of equity. The site also allows startups to seek out new team members using its work investment model. Now m:lab East Africa will be able to take advantage of these same tools, allowing m:lab to assist startups even more than ever before. The new affiliate network on the GrowVC platform is part of a larger initiative, developing affiliate networks all over the world with the ability to interconnect and network with the other networks. A concept which in essence is creating a new Global Silicon Valley. For participants in the Pivot East Competition, the affiliate network is bachelor thesis workflow classification and division essay patterns essay-technology-culture essay helen keller analytical research essay topics classification essays friends to be fully convinced in a problem/solution essay dissertation in business management essay - referencing film accessible here.

This has been cross posted (Authored by : Quintin Adamis on GrowVC’s blog)

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and it serves as He said at least two companies are poised to offer pay per mile plans in Oregon this year. he jumps onto the railing, He was a community institution.Clouds make their way into Bills The Mailbag picked up steam this week I’m sure traffic will get even heavier as the cheap mlb jerseys Sept. Vauxhall and Volvo all employed leading international drivers plus high profile F1 teams to soup up their saloons in readiness for some epic battles. roof over your head. Prosecutors have portrayed Aldi as drowning in debt in February 1990 It was given a turbocharged engine option for 174 horsepower, I do understand the wholesale nba jerseys strength of feeling on the matter and our teams are looking again at further opportunities but staff will need to meet us half way. He worked for Bloomsburg Mills and attended Shamokin schools.

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Kopo Kopo grows out of incubation at m:lab East Africa


January 14, 2012

For Kopo Kopo Inc, a Nairobi based mobile payment services startup, growth could not have been more rapid over the last 12 months. In August 2010, the company was formed, setting up base at the iHub co-working space in Nairobi beginning in early 2011. The company started with a skeleton workforce of two, with Dylan Higgins and Ben Lyon who are its co-founders. A couple of months later the company would succeed to become one of the twenty five mobile startups pitching at the inaugural regional mobile app and developer conference Pivot 25 (now called Pivot East). By the time of pitching at Pivot 25, the company had grown to a team of four by adding Dennis Ondeng and Kibet Yegon to lead the product development team.


The Kopo Kopo team discussing human-centered design

  July 2012 was a moment of change for the young company when it won a chance to be one of seven companies incubated at m:lab East Africa’s newly launched facilities. The new incubation space offered a more quiet and dedicated space conducive for team building and “heads down” focus. Incubation at m:lab East Africa also meant improved access to resources, whether investors, mentors, or potential partners. Apart from raising a Series A financing while at m:lab East Africa, the company also grew its team to twelve by March 2012. Kopo Kopo also completed several iterations of its mobile money-based business intelligence platform and developed an Android version of the service. Other milestones achieved while the company was at m:lab East Africa include establishment of strategic partnerships with mobile operators and business leaders.

Kopo Kopo team at their new premises on 1st floor of Bishop Magua Centre

  With the above milestones met and having acquired several hundred enterprise customers, Kopo Kopo officially outgrew incubation at m:lab East Africa on 30th April 2012. The company has since moved location from m:lab East Africa on 3rd floor Bishop Magua Centre to its newly acquired premises on the 1st floor of the same building. The decision to secure space in the same building as m:lab East Africa and iHub was strategic. The company intends to continue tapping into opportunities and access networks associated with being in the technology hub that Bishop Magua Centre has become over the last two years. Opportunity for Pivot East Finalists pivoteast_logoThe graduation of Kopo Kopo from m:lab East Africa creates room for other mobile tech startups to join the list of companies benefiting from the Lab’s business growth services. The now vacant incubation slot left behind by Kopokopo is now reserved for the deserving company winning either category of this year’s Pivot East pitching conference on 5th and 6th June 2012

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Nokia and m:lab in partnership to support mobile startups


January 9, 2012

From a retrospective view of East Africa’s mobile ecosystem in the last three years, it is difficult for one to ignore Nokia’s supportive role to East Africa’s mobile application developers. Through organizing competitions, trainings and hackathons, the large multinational has assisted to increase the depth and breadth of local mobile application development skills. Nokia has also supported major independently organized events such as Pivot East, Mobile Monday and Demo Africa among others, that have helped much to identify and showcase talent in East Africa’s mobile ecosystem. nokia-logoMlab-Logo-large It is a progression of Nokia’s relentless and innovative approach to growing the mobile ecosystem that a partnership with m:lab East Africa began mid 2012 to support mobile startups through business incubation services. The new focus on business incubation is a transition from an existing focus on developers to entrepreneurship support. The aim is to move a further step forward to help build sustainable businesses around mobile applications technologies, a shared objective between Nokia and m:lab East Africa. In the partnership, Nokia and m:lab East Africa are hosting five mobile startups at the Green House building along Ngong Road – Nairobi’s emerging tech corridor. Apart from getting physical space to work out of, internet and other business facilities at subsidized rates, the startups in the program also benefit from intense  and customised entrepreneurship training. In the program which is facilitated as an extension of m:lab East Africa’s incubation program, the startups also have access to hours of coaching and business advisory. The incubated startups also receive support, advice and linkages to access early stage funding. The five promising startups currently at the premises just 2 kilometers away from iHub and m:lab East Africa premises are :- planetrackusPlanet Rackus Limited – A company founded by some talented Kenyan individuals with an inspired vision and shared passion for telling African stories through a sustainable Digital Educatainement Framework. The company’s products include Ma3Racer – which got them awarded best overall winner prize at the Pivot East competition / conference of 2012. The company also has through Ma3Racer got shortlisted to the finals the meffys in 2012. In August 2012, Ma3Racer also got the company a much prominent coverage in the starting paragraphs of a much cited article in the economist.  Planet Rackus’ other product is Matatu Mania Episode 1 which is a digital comic telling the story of Wambua and his rise through the Kenyan society from a humble beginning as a matatu tout (conductor). Both Ma3Racer and Matatu Mania Episode 1 are available for free download in the Nokia Store. More about the company may be found on their website. fomobiFomobi Solutions Limited –  Some of the founders of this innovative company were in the pioneer class of m:lab East Africa’s mobile applications technology and entrepreneurship program. Fomobi’s flagship products are mTracker, and SchoolBursar. mTracker is a menu-driven mobile application that enables asset owners; fleet managers, motorists, cargo and laptop owners amongst others, to manage the security of their possessions in an easy manner from their phones. mTracker is currently funded to a tune of $50,000 by the Kenya ICT Board through its Tandaa program. Fomobi also won the Financial Services Category  of the Pivot East Competition / conference of 2012 through SchoolBursar, an e-payment solution that streamlines reception and management of mobile money payments in schools – the single largest institutional recipients of mobile money payments in Kenya. More information about the company may be found on their website. elimu-smallElimu Learning Company Limited –  This is a company originally inspired and formed at the iHub. Its product, eLimu is an interactive, engaging and fun application for children inthe Kenyan Primary School education system to learn and revise for their exams. The company incorporates animations, videos, songs, music, games and quizzes into the content from leading local textbook publishers based on the Kenya national primary education curriculum. Through the eLimu platform, the company was the winner of Mobile Web East Africa’s applications contest sponsored by inMobi. The company was also shortlisted  for finals of the Meffys in 2012. More information about the company may be found on their website. zoealexander-smallZoe Alexander Limited – This is a for-profit organization aiming to create sustainable, culturally relevant solutions, enabling communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor maternal health. Through “Malezi-Bora” a mobile application providing content on maternal and newborn health, Zoe Alexander aims to educate and empower mothers with the knowledge required to make educated decisions regarding their health, and the health of their newborns. From participating in the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge for Development, the company won a Seed grant to implement and scale “Malezi Bora”. More about company may be found on their website. lipisha-smallLipisha Consortium Limited – The company builds payment bridges that enable businesses to link their mobile money accounts to their existing bank accounts. Their product, Lipisha Payments Pro facilitates collection of revenues such as school fees and rent payments through mobile money, credit cards and other cash equivalents to the institution’s bank accounts. Their other product named Lipisha Outflow Pro, on the converse facilitates bulk outward payment of amounts from institutions’ bank accounts to designated mobile money accounts. The company also has an emerging international money remittance service called Tellele that allows people from all over the world to send each other money from their mobile devices or computers. Their accolades include being InterNews Innovation Grant Finalists in 2011, App Circus 2012 first runners up, and being placed second at the Nairobi IEEE Exhibition of September 2007. More information about the company may be found on their website More information about the partnership between m:lab East Africa and Nokia to support mobile entrepreneurs through incubation services can be sought through sending an email to [email protected]

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