Eco Fuels Kenya and Lipisha Raise US$ 50,000 each From GrowthAfrica and Village Capital First Accelerator Progamme
By Sam Wakoba
Eco Fuels Kenya and Lipisha Consortium Limited Thursday night secured US$ 50,000 from Growth Africa and Village Capital. Eco Fuels was founded by Alan Paul and Cosmas Ochieng and uses indigenous croton nuts to produce environmentally friendly green biofuels and organic fertilizers while Lipisha co-founded by Martin Kasomo and Marshal Musyimi, facilitates and tracks transactions between mobile money accounts and bank accounts for small- and medium-sized businesses.
The two were among the first group of twenty start-ups selected for GrowthAfrica’s inaugural accelerator program. According to Patricia Jumi, the GrowthAfrica Manager, “The entrepreneurs took the seat of investor and were very diligent and critical to their peers in establishing whether they had the right team,vaible product, had validated their customers, have the ability to scale and have large impact and a great exit strategy.”
The accelerator program is dedicated to investing in social enterprises that are changing lives and businesses in Africa and the world. Eco Fuels and Lipisha each received a us$ 50,000 investment after 4 months of entrepreneur acceleration of 18 start-ups from Kenya and Uganda at The GrowthHub.
The intensive experience focused on mentoring, entrepreneur education, peer support and networking and run for over 20 weeks consisting of six 3 day workshops. Jumi added that the success of the programme depended on peer to peer review and the scoring method, where the decision is left to the entrepreneurs (they take the investor’s seat) the top ranked receive pre committed capital from partner investors .
This is based on the understanding that the Cohort of entrepreneurs will delve deeper into questioning the different aspects of each of their peers companies and will know each other intricately by the end of the 20 weeks “At GrowthAfrica, through our accelerator The GrowthHub, we believe strongly in the power of entrepreneurs and the immense change and value that they are bringing to East Africa and the world.
These are world changing entrepreneurs and we look forward to continue helping more early stage start-ups in Kenya and generally East Africa grow to their full potential that will create more jobs ” said Johnni Kjelsgaard, Director GrowthAfrica. The programme mentors included top entrepreneurial minds such as Julius Kipngetich (COO,Equity Bank), Ali Hussein (CEO, 3mice Interactive media), Matt Rehrig (operations director , Jacaranda Health) Rich Hoops (formerly marketing director with DELL), Moses Kemibaro (InMobi), Ben Lyon and Dylan Higgins (KopoKopo), Agatha Gikunda, Nokia Kenya and Nat Robinson from JuhudiKilimo.
GrowthAfrica which also operates the GrowthHub, incubates and accelerates East African start-ups to deliver sustainable business growth, create employment and contribute to social progress. It also provides consulting services, capacity development opportunities, and investment for East African entrepreneurs. In the past 10 years, GrowthAfrica has worked with over 100 small and growing businesses in East Africa, and financed almost 1500 businesses through its earlier loan finance programme.
According to Jumi, Village Capital uses the power of peer review and support to shape enterprises making an impact and to change the way investment in them is made. Village Capital has operated 15 business acceleration programs with partners worldwide to over 250 entrepreneurs in six countries (US,UK,Kenya, India, Brazil and China). Using the power of peer review and support Village Capital shapes enterprises to make an impact, and to change the way investment in them is made. The two firms gave US$ 25,000 each into start-ups.
The other top twenty start-ups were;
- Sasa Africa, an e-commerce platform connecting artisans in Africa with global consumers through mobile phone technology.
- SchoolBursar, a platform that uses M-Pesa to enable payment of tuition through cell phones for secondary schools in Kenya.
- PesaRahisi, a unilateral money remittance system targeting Kenyans in diaspora.
- Takamoto Biogas provides Pay As You Go (PAYG) biogas to small-scale farmers in rural communities of Kenya.
- Access Afya , high-tech mini health clinics run by registered nurses to remote sections of Nairobi with a virtual connection to a larger network of experts and health specialists.
- ENZI, high quality leather footwear with ethically and sustainably raised leather from Africa.
- Eve’s Mama, a midwife service that provides practical options before, during, and after childbirth.
- Fairbrooks Water provides off-grid modular water purification systems to SMEs in Africa.
- Iprocure, an electronic platform for procurement services that connects regional buyers/businesses with regional suppliers and service providers.
- Jooist , a social gaming platform for feature phones, allowing users to play with or against friends, compare scores, share achievements and organize competitions.
- Kola Studios, casual and culture specific games for the web, smartphones and tablets.
- Kweli Mobile’s Fishmate, aggregates SMS data for fish sellers and buyers on the cost and location of fish in order to create a competitive and transparent marketplace for its sale and purchase.
- Kytabu, a textbook leasing application for low cost tablets utilizing a combination of mobile-money purchasing, and digital textbook subscription, to reduce the cost of ownership of a textbook by up to 60%. Users may rent textbooks on an hourly, weekly, monthly, or annual basis.
- Partechs Solutions, customized software solutions focusing on database design, software development, mobile applications, IT consulting, web services, and web site design.
- Stawi Foods and Fruits, a banana flour reselling company that acquires banana flour from processors and resells the flour to retail outlets.
- Uhired.me, an online platform that aims to make recruitment process social, easy, and fun by allowing employers, recruiters, and job seekers engage with one another in the recruiting process.