It is almost a year since the last winners of the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund were announced. You may remember that as one of the winners, Nigerian online tutoring marketplace, PrepClass got a £250,000 grant (equivalent to $322,000 at the time) in May, 2017.
The next round of applications soon opened on the 1st of June 2017. With all pitches due the next month, 16 July 2017, it seemed obvious GSMA was looking to quickly add to the number of its portfolio startups.
After months of sieving through over 550 applications from over 40 countries in Africa and Asia-Pacific, 15 new startups, all of which focus on using mobile innovation to help solve local problems, were selected for the 2018 grant. This time FarmCrowdy, another Nigerian startup made the shortlist, getting the sum of $325,000.
Founded by Onyeka Akumah, FarmCrowdy enables working class Nigerians to crowd-sponsor farming projects with the promise of a share in the returns. Its inclusion among the GSMA 2018 winners doesn't come as surprise, as the startup is no stranger to such recognition on the global stage.
FarmCrowdy was the first and only African startup to be shortlisted into Techstars Atlanta’s accelerator programme last August. Shortly after graduating from the accelerator programme, the startup went on to raise $1 million to enable it to expand into more states in Nigeria. All of these seem appropriate for a platform that has worked with over 2000 farmers across Nigeria within just a year of operations.
Other recipient of the grant include;
Lynk: A is a Kenya based startup that connect workers to sustainable jobs.
MaTontine, which provides financial services through the digitisation of traditional savings circles. The startup is based in Senegal.
SudPay: This Fintech startup allows municipalities to automate and digitise the collection of local taxes.
Jamii Africa is a Tanzanian based startup that offers a mobile management platform for health insurance policies.
Enibuuko is a Ugandan based fintech startup that uses mobile money and the cloud to assist savings and credit cooperatives to mobilise and manage savings.
LipaMobile is another Ugandan startup that has developed a school fee management and payment system which it refers to as mSomesa.
Musanga Logistics is a Zambian based logistics platform that uses bicycles and motorbikes to carry out last-mile delivery.
2018 certainly has started well for these startups.