Five technology startups have been accepted into the Venture Scale programme, which is an initiative of Founders Factory Africa (FFA); backed by StandardBank and Netcare as corporate investors. The startups were formally inducted into the Venture Scale programme on Monday, February 3, 2020.
All five startups have developed product offerings targeted at the FinTech or HealthTech sectors; and are set for an aggressive growth strategy – aided by the technical and operational expertise offered at FFA. The Venture Scale programme at FFA affords African startups the opportunity of rapid scale, made possible through a financial cash investment in tailored support services – across product development, UX/UI, data science, engineering, business development and growth marketing.
Roo Rogers, co-founder & CEO, Founders Factory Africa, says: “The five businesses joining the Venture Scale programme represent some of the best of African entrepreneurship and innovation. From point-of-care DNA testing to agricultural logistics, the Founders Factory Africa portfolio has the potential to truly drive economic growth and transform the continent. We’re incredibly excited to be part of the growth of these businesses and to deliver their true scale potential.”
In addition to the hands-on support provided, the program directors say that participating startups will also have access to exclusive partnerships with FFA’s pan-African corporate investors, Standard Bank and Netcare, which unlocks many of the scaling challenges that businesses face. This includes distribution channels, customer acquisition, pilots, data, IP and expertise, essentially offering the startups a very huge advantage in the competitive marketplace.
Larry McCarthy, head of strategic investments and alliances at Standard Bank, says that he is excited to grow entrepreneurship across the continent.
“Seed capital and business development programmes like FFA are needed to meet the fast-paced demand for technology across all sectors of business, and the effect it can have on improving growth. Standard Bank, being an African business, is committed to participating in this vital element of the economy,” he said.
Amongst the five new startups joining the Venture Scale programme at FFA is Foodlocker, a Nigerianbased company. Foodlocker forecasts foodstuff demand through deep machine learning, thus enabling large-scale buyers to efficiently procure fast-moving consumer goods and fresh produce from smallholder farmers. Other startups included in the programme are LocumBase, Akili Labs and EnvisionIt Deep AI, all from South Africa.
LocumBase is an independent, online booking and management platform that provides real-time availability of verified locum medical professionals, by assisting practices in need of short-term, qualified stand-ins, who are able to provide quality care when needed most.
Akili Labs leads the way in low-cost point of care, rapid diagnostics – capable of testing for viruses, bacterial and fungal infections. EnvisionIt Deep AI is a platform that improves the speed and accuracy, with which a radiologist can diagnose and prioritise chest x-rays for further analysis using AI algorithms.
Completing the list of startups on the Venture Scale programme is Bwala Africa. Bwala Africa isalast-mile order fulfilment network designed to connect fleet operators and large FMCG manufacturers with retailers, for a fast convenient, order-to-delivery end to end experience.
Speaking on the programme, Richard Friedland, CEO of the Netcare Group, says: “We’re excited about the selection of the first three healthtech startups, which will help stimulate healthcare innovation and development across the continent. By joining forces with FFA, we’re helping to create a support system for entrepreneurs, as well as providing value to people across Africa.”
The FFA model includes its Venture Scale programme focused on developing existing startups, whilst the Venture Build programme harnesses the power of technology to build completely new businesses solving mass needs on the African continent.