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Google Startup Week Lagos - helping Launchpad Accelerator Africa startups take their businesses global

A photo of the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 4

Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 4

This week, we witnessed a number of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa startups take several steps closer to achieving their goals. Class 4 of Launchpad Accelerator Africa graduated in Lagos at the first-ever Google Startup Week in Nigeria, while select Launchpad Accelerator Africa alumni had a chance to pitch for funding from some of Africa & the UK’s top venture capitalists (VCs). The event featured startups from across Africa.
The alumni, from classes 1, 2 and 3, are fresh out of a three-month Google for Startups UK Africa Immersion Programme in London. This is a 12-week immersion programme designed to bring the best of Google and the London startup ecosystem to tech companies from Africa that do not yet have a presence in the UK.

Google for Startups UK Africa, in partnership with Launchpad Accelerator Africa, aims to connect high potential early-stage startups with dedicated support to help them take their startup to the next level.

Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa focuses on working with startups that are setting out to tackle some of Africa’s biggest challenges. It’s built into the selection process. As Launchpad Accelerator Africa, we believe African companies can solve Africa’s problems, and we want to help them do that.

Every year, Africa’s economic growth continues to strengthen. Google for Startups has put its weight behind supporting the continent’s startups as they continue to build great products and tackle key global social issues. This is an incredibly exciting space, which is very relevant to UK ecosystem and investors.

During Google Startup Week Lagos, the Launchpad Accelerator Africa team also celebrated the graduation of Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 4, which comprises 12 startups from six countries, addressing six different sectors. Between them, they have raised $4.3m, created over 300 jobs and signed up over 110 000 users. These companies had collectively raised in excess of $600 000 before the programme, and have been able to use Launchpad Accelerator Africa to scale their businesses to new levels.

Google Startup Week Lagos was particularly special for me because it provided an opportunity for participants from all 4 classes get a chance to meet, engage with each other, and share their experiences for the first time.

Since Launchpad Accelerator Africa was first announced in late 2017, the programme has worked with 47 startups on their growth journey. These companies have raised millions of dollars in investments and created hundreds of jobs across the continent.

A photo of an ongoing networking session during the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 4

All the selected startups receive working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa. Participants also receive travel and PR support during each three-month programme.

The Class 4 startups graduating at Google Startup Week Lagos, in alphabetical order, are: 

  • Afara Partners (Nigeria): Afara Partners offers platforms that provide services to the financially underserved/excluded.
  • BrandBook (South Africa): BrandBook is a mobile app that incentivises users to take a picture of their receipts, allowing it to harvest consumer purchase behaviour across all channels.
  • Elewa (Kenya): Elewa is a toolkit for establishing scalable high-quality training programs within existing education- or professional institutions.
  • Eversend (Uganda): Eversend is a multi-currency e-wallet that allows you to exchange, spend and send money at the best possible rates. It also includes insurance, virtual debit cards, and bill payments.
  • OZÉ (Ghana): OZÉ brings African small businesses into the digital era, equipping their owners to make data-driven decisions to improve their performance and access capital. 
  • Phenomenal Technologies (Zimbabwe): Phenomenal Technologies offers low-cost field excursions for learners through virtual reality. 
  • REACH (Nigeria): REACH recognises, categorises and interprets transaction data from SMS and other sources, making this data available as individual financial and market insights.
  • Sortd (South Africa): Sortd aims to re-invent email with the world's first All-in-One productivity suite for Gmail and GSuite.
  • TradeBuza (Nigeria): The TradeBuza is a cloud-based web and mobile application, which digitises contract farming and trade.
  • Tulaa (Kenya): Tulaa is an online-to-offline marketplace for smallholder farmers in Africa.
  • XEND (Nigeria) : XEND allows users to make and receive payments, offline or online.
  • WorkPay (Kenya): WorkPay is a cloud-based employee management and payment solution using the power of mobile and biometrics.

London Immersion Africa Startups:

  • 54gene (Nigeria) - African DNA makes up only 2% of genetic research material used in pharmaceutical research. Founded in 2019, 54gene is creating the world’s first and largest pan-African biobank. 
  • Fieldinsight (Nigeria) - Fieldinsight helps to collect data in a structured manner using mobile and IoT devices. It then aggregates and represents this data through visualisations to help businesses make the best decisions.
  • Kwara (Kenya) - Kwara powers financial cooperatives with technology so they can meet their members needs instantly.
  • OkHi (Kenya) - 4 billion people across emerging markets do not have a physical address, costing economies $175bn a year. Based in Nairobi, OkHi creates digital addresses for people, which they can use (for free) to access reliable business services. 
  • Paps (Senegal) - Paps is an African logistics startup focused on the last mile delivery and domestic markets, with strong client care orientation, allowing live tracking, intelligent address systems and automatic dispatch.
  • Piggyvest (Nigeria) - Piggyvest is an automated savings and investments platform that helps Nigerians save little amounts of money periodically, and then invest those funds for competitive returns.
  • PayGo Energy (Kenya) - PayGo Energy’s connected home gas meter links to a global IoT-based infrastructure for cooking gas delivery within high-density, high-demand urban communities — changing the entire cooking experience for households and unlocking access to clean cooking for a billion people.
  • ThankUCash (Nigeria) - ThankUCash is an analytics and rewards platform built to enable banks and businesses in Africa to acquire, reward and retain loyal customers.
  • Thrive Agric (Nigeria) - Thrive Agric provides farmers with access to finance, data-driven advisory and access to a market upon harvest.
  • Voyc (South Africa) - Voyc is on a mission to accelerate the world's transition towards customer-centricity by making it easy for companies to understand their customers.