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OceanHub African accelerator programme applications open

Cape Town-based impact accelerator OceanHub Africa is calling on impact-for-profit startups focused on the ocean to apply for its accelerator programme.

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Cape Town-based impact accelerator OceanHub Africa is calling on impact-for-profit startups focused on preserving and restoring the health of the ocean to apply for this year’s six-month online acceleration programme.

Applications close on 5 March 2021

In a press statement, Alexis Grosskopf and Stéphanie Canac, co-founders of OceanHub provide insight into the importance of assisting ocean-conscious and sustainable-focused startups.

“We believe it is down to businesses to implement the necessary changes and up to us to promote more Oceans-conscious innovative businesses : innovations led by science, technology and entrepreneurship will provide the necessary leverage points to meet SDGs’ objectives [Sustainable Development Goals], with the right pace and scale” say co-founders of OceanHub Africa Alexis and Stéphanie.

OceanHub African Accelerator programme

Applications for the accelerator programme opened on 25 January 2021 and close on 5 March 2021.

Interested startups can submit an online application for the programme here.

Beginning in April 2021, only the most innovative and impact-driven startups that focus on developing an environmentally conscious and profitable ocean economy will be selected for the prestigious accelerator.

The programme will assist participating startups to scaleup their existing business model with insight from OceanHub’s partner services and highly qualified network of stakeholders. In addition, participants will be provided mentorship and support that includes one-on-one business training and personal development skills.

Other benefits of the accelerator include pitching to investors and access to a large portfolio of impact investors that form part of the ocean-focused ecosystem.

How to qualify

Interested applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • An ocean-minded startup, that has a direct or indirect positive impact on the ocean by either addressing or providing tangible solutions to climate change, pollution, or overexploitation of the ocean
  • A for-profit organisation and operational in Africa
  • The startup must have a scalable service or product readily available to market or soon to be available
  • The startup’s product is innovative and adopts a disruptive business model
  • Aiming to enter new investments and markets.

Read more: Six ocean-minded startups in SA
Read more: Catalyst Fund announces eighth fintech cohort

Featured image: OceanHub Africa founders Stephanie Canac and Alexis Grosskopf (Supplied)

Applications for the accelerator programme opened on 25 January 2021 and close on 5 March 2021.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/01/oceanhub-african-accelerator-programme-applications-open/

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Petrol fintech Energy Swipe aims to keep SA driving

Energy Swipe is a Durban-based fintech startup aiming to give SA motorists equal opportunity to keep driving during the month with their new offering.

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Energy Swipe is a Durban-based fintech startup, founded by entrepreneurs Vukile Mchunu (CEO) and Malusi Mkhungo (CTO). The startup plans to promote financial inclusion by giving SA motorists equal opportunity to keep driving during the month, even when their pockets run dry.

“We aim to do so by combining our passion for technology with petroleum and finance,” said CEO, Mchunu, in an interview with Ventureburn.

Energy Swipe launches in August

The bootstrapped startup is currently partnering with SA petrol stations to install the company’s terminal IDs at their forecourts. “This terminal ID will work with the Energy Swipe card to allow all our clients to pay at our partnering petrol stations with a simple swipe. The service comes with an app for your smart device to help the user monitor their profile, check their credit allowance, change the pin, block the card if its lost or stolen, or even send a direct message to us if you are going to be travelling to find out the closest partnering stations along the way,” explained Mchunu.

The company will be launching the offering later this year

The CEO went on to say that though the price of petrol keeps increasing, “…the sad truth is that the income of a lot of motorists doesn’t increase as frequently as the price of petrol. This year alone, the price of petrol has increased three times and we have no guarantees that it won’t increase again soon. South Africans feel like R100 per trip is much cheaper than filling up the full tank. We, as Energy Swipe, are here to solve that problem and allow them to save more but travel more because they can now fill up any time of the month,” he explained. Mchunu clarified that the company is currently working closely with credit firms to help them identify qualifying clients.

Mchunu explained that the platform will work with a bank of the user’s choice to debit an amount from the user’s bank account. “Our system is a ‘pay-as-you-go’ – if you didn’t use our system for that month you won’t have to worry about paying,” he commented. Still, why would motorists choose the offering if anyone can use their card at a petrol station? Other benefits of this safe and reliable cash alternative include no transaction fees (unlike normal bank cards), instant card balance check, card spending tracking and instant credit payout.

With plans to launch the offering in August this year, CTO Mkhungo is excited about its potential social impact. “Energy Swipe doesn’t just aspire to make a living, it aspires to make a difference, and the difference is acquired through the merging of three phenomenal sectors – finance, technology and sustainability in the petroleum industry,” he concluded.

Read more: Yoyo launches SME card-linked loyalty offering
Read more: Travel startup Viatu launches new Namibia Covid-Hub

Featured image: Energy Swipe co-founders Vukile Mchunu (CEO) and Malusi Mkhungo (CTO)

Mchunu explained that the platform will work with a bank of the user’s choice to debit an amount from the user’s bank account. “Our system is a ‘pay-as-you-go’ – if you didn’t use our system for that month you won’t have to worry about paying,” he commented. Still, why would motorists choose the offering if anyone can use their card at a petrol station? Other benefits of this safe and reliable cash alternative include no transaction fees (unlike normal bank cards), instant card balance check, card spending tracking and instant credit payout.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/07/petrol-fintech-energy-swipe-aims-to-keep-sa-driving/

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Team Basket wins R25 000 first place in Silicon Cape hackathon

SA tech NPO Silicon Cape and the US Mission to SA  announced Team Basket as the winner of their third virtual hackathon on 27 June 2021.

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SA tech NPO Silicon Cape and the US Mission to SA announced Team Basket as the winner of their third virtual hackathon on 27 June 2021.

The hackathon is three of four in this partnered initiative, called ‘Hackathons for SA: Digital Solutions for Real-World Challenges’. The programme aims to discover digital solutions to accelerate inclusive economic growth for businesses in SA’s township economy.

Team Basket’s instant township delivery service

Team Basket walked away with the R25 000 grand prize. Team leader Esihle Vellem described their concept: “We help street vendors and spaza shops buy fresh produce from small-scale farmers and wholesalers by providing them with an online application and an instant delivery service. With this model, we address issues such as running out of stock and having to close down the stand or buy from fellow vendors at a higher price, lack of quality control and the absence of an online stock management system to track orders. Plus, they benefit from pre-negotiated discounts, produce that is delivered with a quality assurance guarantee, and the ability to make bi-weekly purchases with safe delivery assurance.”

The hackathons aim to find digital solutions to support SA’s township economy

In addition, Team Basket won a Silicon Cape membership valued at R1 600 and $2 000 in Amazon Web Services credits. Silicon Cape is a leading ecosystem enabler for tech-enabled start-ups; Team Basket will be connected with accelerators, mentors, and other relevant community members such as developers, angel investors and venture capitalists to help take their solution to market.

The R15 000 second place prize went to Soft Glitch for their ‘Commiploy’ concept, a gig opportunity platform that enables communities to purchase local products, access services and apply for various odd jobs. Team leader Shaqeel Less explained that the platform is geared towards businesses, customers, and unemployed youth. “Our vision is to build up and sustain local businesses and provide opportunities for local communities to grow with them,” he said.

Acting Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate General in Cape Town, Emily Shaffer, said, “We were blown away by the innovative ideas presented. These digital solutions to real-world challenges will make a tangible difference to the many vital businesses that make up SA’s township economies. Covid-19 has had an unprecedented effect on businesses, and solutions like those offered this weekend by young innovators demonstrate that through partnership and innovation, economic resilience is achievable. We look forward to following the journeys of these bright minds.”

Silicon Cape Director Zimkhita Buwa concluded: “We believe that tech can help change the world we live in and are delighted to have witnessed so many innovative solutions that address the challenges faced by local businesses and communities. We hope that all the teams continue to hone their solutions for the good of SA’s vital township economy.”

Read more: Cape NPO Life Choices launches digital skills accelerator
Read more: SA chicken chain Hungry Lion harnesses AI to reduce errors

Featured image: Kojo Kwarteng via Unsplash

The hackathons aim to find digital solutions to support SA’s township economy

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/07/team-basket-wins-r25-000-in-silicon-cape-hackathon/

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Nigerian matchmaking startup releases Vybe 2.0

Lagos-based dating startup Vybe recently announced that the team is currently working on launching version 2.0 of their app and expanding into Africa.

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Lagos-based dating startup Vybe recently announced that the team is currently working on launching version 2.0 of their app and plans to expand their market presence even further into Africa.

Vybe is a digital matchmaking platform that allows Africans to make true connections

The startup was founded in April 2019 by Moronke Anifowose, Adetolani Eko and Osagie Omonzokpia who identified the nuances in African dating and sought to give Africans access to dating app features that address those nuances. Africans have access to less than 40% of the top 10 dating apps in the world and generally, these platforms are too generic to solve the peculiarities of online dating in Africa.

Make connections in fun and secure ways

The team describes Vybe as an online matchmaking platform that allows Africans to make true connections in fun and secure ways. Vybe COO Anifowose says, “We have identified key differences between how Africans look for potential partners versus how it’s done in the west and we’re focused on digitising that experience.” On Vybe, users can find potential partners based on their location, intentions, interests, religious groups, ethnicity and tribe.

New app features include a subscriptions feature using mobile money transactions and newer machine learning and AI capabilities that gather data to inform the app’s matchmaking abilities.

The app has already generated over 25 000 downloads across the company’s main markets, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, with plans to grow to up to 100 000 users by the end of 2021. The Vybe founders based the improvements to the platform on data gathered detailing how people’s dating habits have changed with the advent of the pandemic.

The pandemic has meant increased growth for the online dating industry, from Match Group (Tinder’s parent company) recording direct revenue growth of 15% in Q4 2020 to OkCupid experiencing a 700% increase in dates and Bumble’s $7-billion IPO in February this year. According to a survey by Dating.com, 82% of singles have turned to online dating since early March 2020 to improve health and wellness and 60% of those surveyed said they prefer online dating to finding a date in person.

With the launch of subscriptions the startup has seen double-digit revenue growth, month on month since February. “Another example of the uniqueness in Africa was our launch in Kenya and other parts of East Africa. The top global dating apps accessible in this part of the continent offer payments via cards and it’s funny when you consider that mobile money transactions contribute to almost 50% of the Kenyan GDP. Our reaction there was to make Mpesa the main method of subscription for our East African users and we’ve seen some interesting growth there,” shares Eko, Vybe CEO

“To address insecurity, we’ve designed unique processes that leverage AI, Machine learning and a strong community to identify and block suspicious profiles. We will continue to improve this system as we grow,” concludes Vybe CTO Omonzokpia.

Read more: Top startup web events in SA this week [28/06/2021]

Featured image: Moronke Anifowose, Adetolani Eko and Osagie Omonzokpia founders of Vybe (Supplied)

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/nigerian-matchmaking-startup-releases-vybe-2-0/

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