Francophone Africa has the most promising tech startups and is looking for investors

by MMC
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Across Africa, entrepreneurs are harnessing technology and creating innovative solutions to solve some of the most critical problems facing their countries, from access to water and energy, to services health or financing. The reality is that in many African countries there are not many services and products available to solve these problems. There is therefore a strong demand to meet these needs.

Yet many tech startups in Africa that are in the growth phase face the so-called “valley of death,” a period when they are most likely to fail. The main challenge for these maturing technology startups is accessing funding, especially venture capital funding, which will help them grow their business.

Despite the proliferation of incubator and accelerator programs established in Africa to support startups through training and mentoring, support for post-revenue growth stage companies that are ready to scale regionally is limited . Furthermore, these local acceleration and incubation programs force these growth-stage companies to need additional support to secure their investments.

In 2017, the World Bank launched XL Africa, a pan-African accelerator program, to address the mentoring and investment gap. The aim was to find 20 of the most promising digital start-ups ready for growth and demonstrate that the continent can produce world-class entrepreneurial talent that actively uses disruptive technologies. XL Africa received more than 900 applications. To date, half of XL Africa’s portfolio, which includes companies such as CoinAfrique, Resource, Asoko Overview, Aerobotics And Sendsecured nearly $20 million in funding.

Today, the tech startup boom in Africa is intensifying. We see a mature entrepreneurial ecosystem and growing interest in the potential of local markets. More and more venture capital funds are being launched to invest in African startups.

Still, some startups could benefit more from this boom than others. According to Partech Ventures report on startup financing in AfricaAmid a record year for the continent, funding for startups in French-speaking Africa plummeted in 2018. Only 1% of the $1.16 billion raised in equity by African Tech Startup in 2018 was allocated to Africa French-speaking.

And yet, by 2021, 62.5% of Africa’s fastest growing economies will be in French-speaking Africa. To exploit this potential, the World Bank launched Africa Excels, to fill critical gaps in existing acceleration programs for French-speaking African entrepreneurs. This segment has been largely underserved as mature entrepreneurial ecosystems in Africa are primarily English-speaking. Africa Excel also uses a regional approach – which is essential for entrepreneurs based in smaller markets and internationalization will increase their profitability.

Africa Excels is an investment readiness accelerator program designed to support the expansion of 20 startups from French-speaking Africa, seeking to raise seed capital of between $250,000 and $5 million.. It is considered a regional adaptation of XL Africa, using the same online curriculum – XL Academy and a strong network of ecosystem stakeholders, as well as ongoing engagements with the private sector to research and select the cohort Africa Excels.

After receiving 450 applications, our implementing partners, VC4A, SugubaAnd Sahel’innovalongside investors from Partech Ventures, Orange Digital Ventures (ODV), Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P), First Growth Ventures, Brightmore Capital, Breega Capital and Proparco, reviewed, scored and judged the applications.

The program began in Bamako where the 20 selected startups participated in the Residence in Mali from March 25 to 29, 2019. The residency program included technical workshops on important topics for pre-Series A startups such as investor preparation, talent management and legal protection.

Meanwhile, the digital economy ministers of Senegal and Mali held an impromptu meeting with the startups and investment community to understand how policymakers can scale similar initiatives nationally.

THE Residence in Mali then concluded with a Venture Showcase at Summit of French-speaking African investorswhere 10 of the startups were selected to access the Residence in France from May 11 to 18, 2019. They will also present at Afrobytes And VivaTechnology conferences in Paris.

The World Bank is committed to growing the digital economy across Africa. The XL Africa and Africa Excel programs are essential to building digital entrepreneurship ecosystems in Africa, one of the 5 fundamental pillars of the Africa Digital Economy Initiative.

Follow the 10 most promising French-speaking startups next week on their journey through L’Afrique Excelle French residence culminating with their presentation to investors at Afrobytes (May 15th) And Vivatech (May 16th) conferences. follow us on @WBG_Finance.

Here is an overview of the 10 most promising French-speaking African startups according to Afrique Excelle:
Diool (Fintech), Cameroon
Eyone (Healthtech), Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger
Firefly Media (Adtech, Transport), Senegal
Gifted mom (Healthtech), Cameroon, Ivory Coast
AfricaMobile (Connectivity, SaaS, API), Senegal, Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Burkina Faso
Paps (Logistics), Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast
Solaris off-grid (Fintech, SaaS, Solar), Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Cameroon, Rwanda
Star News Mobile (Media), Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast
Sudpay (Fintech), Senegal, Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Guinea
Tripafrica (Transport), Ivory Coast

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