GLOBAL • INVESTMENT
MARCH 2, 2022
Seedstars International Ventures, our seed stage venture capital fund dedicated to global emerging and frontier markets, now has 80 companies in it’s portfolio.
Jiye technologies, Oware, Lipa Later, Kuunda, Maneki, and Eden Care are now part of the portfolio and have access to the Seedstars Value Creation Platform where they will receive support in a variety of ways, with special focus in growth methodology.
We talked to the founders of the companies about what their product offers and what entrepreneurship means to them.
Jiye Technologies is a three-way B2B marketplace that encircles the agricultural value chain of Pakistan. Agriculture is one of the most important industries in the country, contributing to 19.5% of the GDP and impacting 70% of the population.
Jiye technologies is providing an inclusive partnership-driven input to market eco-system. Their marketplace connects farmers and businesses through a lean supply chain model, aiming to solve supply chain irregularities and inefficiencies.
“Entrepreneurship for us is a means of creating an impact by creating technological solutions for the masses while nurturing and developing people working with us.” said Ali Amin, one of the co-founders of Jiye.
Another company coming from the world’s fifth most populous country is Oware. They are a supply chain tech startup that helps businesses to grow by offering on-demand warehousing and transportation solutions with transparency, reliability and flexibility.
Why did they decide to tackle this specific problem? It seems like a no-brainer that a technology-enabled management system would increase productivity and lead to a more efficient use of resources. Here are just a few statistics their co-founders Adil Nisar and Raza Kazmi shared with us:
So obviously, the market potential is there, but that is not the only motivation Adil Nisar and his team have for getting into entrepreneurship: "It is not about taking risks and generating profits, it is about creating value for yourself, your colleagues and your customers".
While banks, credit cards and a number of contactless paying solutions are nothing new in the Western markets, in the Global South millions are still unbanked. Even the UN has put financial inclusion in eight out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so it seems that our next portfolio company is hitting the mark. Kuunda is providing financial services for developing economies, with a focus on the informal market.
They are an advisory company and a FinTech incubator creating and incubating digital financial solutions. Currently, Kuunda has three products: Hapa Cash, PayDirect and a data insights tool, which have been developed to embody key features of how unbanked users want their money to work.
The founders of Kuunda want to develop sustainable financial products with a positive social impact.
"Being an entrepreneur requires significant personal and team resilience, the ability to spot product & commercial opportunities that solve problems that haven't been solved effectively by others and the ability to develop a team that shares the passion to make a difference. It is our belief as a team in Kuunda that it isn't about being first to market but rather best to market” said Andrew Milne.
Similarly to Andrew and his team, Lipa Later has found their market in the billion African consumers who have limited purchasing power and are unable to pay for their goods upfront. Lipa Later offers a buy now, pay later solution that allows consumers to buy goods and pay in flexible and affordable monthly installments.
According to data from the African Development Bank, less than ten percent of Africans have access to credit cards. Lipa Later has partnered with over 600 merchants in four countries: Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda, some of which are big names like Carrefour, Samsung and Apple. They have had over 200 thousand consumers and distributed over six million USD in facilities while maintaining a default rate of just five percent.
Their goal is to become the number one buy now, pay later solution on the continent, said the founder and CEO Eric Muli: "The financial sector in Africa is undergoing a massive shift. I'm proud that Lipa later is at the forefront of revolutionizing the lending sector and impacting millions of lives".
Anyone working in marketing, sales, data analysis and a number of different sectors will tell you how the number of digital tools used to track data has been increasing over the years. Data is king. But what happens when you get lost in all the different spreadsheets and reports?
Maneki has a solution - community analytics for online creators that brings data from many marketing tools into one place for better decisions that drive more sales.
The founders decided to work on creating this tool after seeing that nine out of ten online course creators don't know how to combine data on their audiences/leads from the many marketing tools they are using, making it impossible to know where and how the sales are coming from and how to replicate what worked. Maneki helps creators optimize their channels and funnels, visualize the whole user journey throughout different apps and connect all of the tools people are already using into one user-friendly interface.
The team behind Maneki shared their advice for entrepreneurs with us: “You are the best teacher you could ever have. Spend some time each day learning and developing. Every next level in building a company demands a different you. “
Healthcare is a universal human right, yet so many are deprived of it. This has especially been put into the spotlight with the pandemic, when the inequalities between the wealthy and the poor have been made obvious.
The average health insurance penetration in Africa in 0.25% of the GDP, whereas the global average is 6%. Eden care, a Rwandan digital health insurance carrier with Pan-African ambitions is looking to change that. They claim that health insurance in Rwanda, and Africa, suffers from an awful experience, runaway cost inflation, and generally broken trust.
Eden Care is a cost-efficient underwriter that uses technology and data science to offer a delightful digital customer experience, relevant products, and personalized healthcare with a preventative focus. They are making it easier for employees to access and choose quality, affordable care by integrating with doctors and hospitals, a new insurance platform and giving employers and members personalized, technology-enabled service that proactively guides them along their health journey.
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