Techstars Announces its Second Cohort of 12 Startups to Participate in its Accelerator Program

The second cohort of Techstars' accelerator program comprises startups operating in Ghana, Nigeria, and East Africa, and has four teams with at least one female co-founder.

Story Highlights
  • Techstars has partnered with with Lagos-based innovation program, ARM Labs for its 2023 its pan-African accelerator program.
  • 12 startups will be participating in Techstars' pan-African accelerator program.
  • The second cohort of Techstars' accelerator program comprises startups operating in Ghana, Nigeria, and East Africa, and has four teams with at least one female co-founder.
  • Techstars will invest up to $120,000 in funding in each startup as well as provide them with access to over $400,000 in cash equivalent hosting, accounting, and legal support, and other benefits worth more than $5M.

Techstars has announced its second cohort of 12 companies to participate in its pan-African accelerator program in partnership with Lagos-based innovation program, ARM Labs. Following a successful inaugural program, the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator will build upon its commitment to helping entrepreneurs who are changing Africa and the world.

The 2023 cohort, selected from over a thousand applications, delivers tech-enabled solutions across various verticals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The sourcing and selection were led by the Managing Director for the accelerator, Oyin Solebo. It culminated in a screening committee joined by fellow directors at Techstars, executive leaders at ARM; Jumoke Ogundare, Sadiq Mohammed, Wale Odutola, Uche Azubuike, and Ina Alogwu as well as selected invited seasoned investors including; Nneka Eze of Vested World, Maya Horgan Famodu of Ingressive Capital, Olumide Soyombo of Voltron Capital and Dotun Olowoporuku of Ventures Platform.

For its first cohort, the program had initially focused on companies operating in FinTech and PropTech, but this year expanded to focus more broadly on entrepreneurs who are changing Africa and the world at large, by using technology, data, and intelligence to serve a population-growing in size, youth, income, and digital access. Sectors invested in include FinTech, Logistics, e-commerce, HealthTech, Renewable Energy, and Future of Work.

The cohort comprises startups operating in Ghana, Nigeria, and East Africa, and has four teams with at least one female co-founder.

The 14-week immersive program will see Techstars invest up to USD$120,000 (approx. UGX450 million) in funding in each startup as well as provide them with access to over USD$400,000 (approx. UGX1.5 billion) in cash equivalent hosting, accounting, and legal support, and other benefits worth more than USD$5 million.

The value of the prize goes beyond financial gain, the selected startups will also receive tailored mentorship, world-class company-building support, lifetime access to the Techstars worldwide network, and targeted interactions with prospective investors to ensure that the continuum of follow-up capital is available as they grow.

By partnering with ARM Labs, startup founders are also exposed to ARM’s local network, research and insights, and decades-long financial advisory expertise.

“The current market dynamics mean that founders need a combination of financial support as well as technical assistance and access to networks to build resilient businesses. We are glad to be able to provide comprehensive support that covers this entire spectrum,” Ms. Oyin Solebo, Managing Director, ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator, said in a press statement.

The selected companies are;

  • 24Seven — an asset-light marketplace that enables small businesses and convenience stores to order inventory on credit with one-hour doorstep delivery

  • Beauty Hut — leverages technology to bridge the gap between beauty brands and consumers through efficient product distribution and marketing channels, via their e-commerce web store and mobile app.

  • Eight Medical — an end-to-end platform that connects users in need to emergency medical resources (such as hospitals, ambulances, personnel, information & credit), reducing waiting times from an average of 3 hours to 10 minutes or less

  • GetEquity — facilitates access to investment opportunities by SEC-accredited providers, reducing entry barriers through investment aggregation across various asset classes.

  • JumpnPass — a mobile self-checkout platform for modern retail in Africa. They enable shoppers to use their smartphones to effortlessly scan product barcodes, pay for items, and skip long queues

  • One Plan — helps workers in Africa’s informal economy create affordable financial plans, making it easier to start a retirement plan, access low-interest credit, access health, and life insurance cover.

  • PBR Life Sciences — offers pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare, and medical device companies fast and easy access to high-quality market data and insights, helping them make objective decisions on product pricing, volumes, and company strategy.

  • PressOne Africa — provides African businesses with deeper insights into phone conversations with customers through a communication platform that provides conversation intelligence and call monitoring.

  • Rana — democratizes access to clean and reliable solar systems for SMEs and residential customers through affordable long-term solar subscriptions, replacing the need for expensive, unreliable, and toxic backup generators.

  • Surge Africa — allows individuals, micro-entrepreneurs, and MSMEs in Africa to make instant cross-border transfers and pay up to 80% less in fees

  • Swoove — empowers logistics companies in emerging markets to digitize and scale their businesses with dispatch automation, fleet management, tracking and telematics, and a wide delivery network.

  • Veend — enables individuals and businesses with verifiable income to access funds on-demand, addressing their needs for emergency funds or working capital

Dr. Ibukun Tunde-Oni, Founder of Eight Medical who echoed the sentiments of the cohort said securing a spot in the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator program has signified an important milestone in the growth of the company. “More than anything else I believe it has demonstrated an absolute vote of confidence by experts who have accessed our model and track record and also estimated our impending growth potential,” he said. “The learning experience has so far been invaluable and I am eagerly looking forward to our next phase of business.”

Solebo noted that the second cohort showcases, and perhaps also epitomizes, the wealth of talent, innovation, and ingenuity that can be found within the African tech ecosystem.

In addition to the Techstars-led program, the cohort receives mentorship sessions with notable experts in the African tech ecosystem providing them with comprehensive guidance and specialized services to support their growth journey.

These experts include Tunde Kehinde; Founder/CEO of Lidya, Bode Abifarin; Chief Operating Officer at Flutterwave, Tingting Peng; Chief Capital and Strategy Officer at Moove, Kevin Simmons; Partner at LoftyInc, Lola Esan; Partner at EY, Yischai Beinisch; Head of West Africa – Emerging Market Power at Shell Energy Europe & Africa.

Oluwadunni Fanibe, Program Manager at Techstars remarked that their “tried and trusted” model has been instrumental in building thousands of successful companies, all over the world.

“We are excited with the opportunity to implement this proven playbook of support, networks, knowledge base, experiences, technology, and data, on our 2023 cohort and are confident they can replicate the same notable successes of their local and global predecessors,” said Fanibe.

Ina Alogwu, Group Director of Digital Transformation at ARM noted programs like the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator has enabled them to comprehend, champion, and actively contribute to the growth of technology-driven solutions emerging throughout Africa. “We are thrilled to be on this journey for the second year running in collaboration with our valued partners,” he said.

The program will conclude with an invite-only Demo day on February 22nd, 2024 where founders will showcase their progress.

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