20 of the best technology start-ups in French-speaking Africa integrate an acceleration program

Boubacar Diallo

The Africa Excelle start-ups are specialized in technological solutions for the African market and designed to expand the range and access of various services.

 

Twenty of the most promising digital start-ups in French-speaking Africa will attend the Africa Excelle in Mali, a week-long training that kicks off the French-language edition of XL Africa, the World Bank Group’s technology start-up accelerator. From March 24 to 30, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to network and learn from leading industry experts, increase regional visibility and connect with potential investors and corporate partners.

Africa Excelle is the Francophone adaptation of the renowned XL Africa program, which aims to foster a closer relationship between entrepreneurs from English-speaking and French-speaking Africa, while supporting those living in less developed digital ecosystems, particularly those in fragile countries such as the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Mali. The launch of L’Afrique Excelle coincides with that of several new ecosystem initiatives, public and private, including: the Digital Africa platform (https://bit.ly/2VZYoYH) of the French Development Agency, the funds established in Africa, extending their reach beyond Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, as well as the Francophone Africa Investor Summit (FAIS) (www.FrancophoneAfricaInvestorSummit.com ), a regional event aimed at bringing together investors, large companies and business support organizations.

The Africa Excelle start-ups are specialized in technological solutions for the African market and designed to expand the range and access of various services. These include technologies related to financial inclusion, transportation, health care, green technologies, data analysis and enterprise software. The startups participating in the program already market their products or services in one or more markets in French-speaking Africa, have a solid turnover and are well positioned in terms of cross-border growth and expansion. During their residency training in Mali, entrepreneurs will benefit from training, individual consultations and peer learning. The residency will end with a pitch session at the Francophone Africa Investors Summit (FAIS). Ten of these companies will then be selected to participate in a second week of residential training in France in May 2019. During this week, they will benefit from intensive training and mentoring at thecamp (https://thecamp.fr/) with the support of Sophia Business Angels (http://SophiaBusinessAngels.com), as well as expert advice from Deloitte (https://bit.ly/2CgaTYG) and Google (http://bit.ly/2T0p2yJ) ). These companies will also be presented to investors during the AfroBytes (http://www.AfroBytes.com) and VivaTech (https://VivaTechnology.com) conferences, which will take place in Paris from May 15 to 18, 2019. With the participation of leading African investors, Africa Excelle will help these start-ups to raise funds of between $ 250,000 and $ 5 million.

“Like the Africa Africa program, L’Afrique Excelle has attracted many digital start-ups from growing French-speaking Africa. Many of them, which have already raised more than $ 11 million, are active in several African markets. It is a strong signal of the competitiveness of French-speaking African start-ups and their contribution to African digital economies, “said Sebastian Molineus, Director of Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation at the World Bank Group (www.WorldBank.org).

The Africa Excelle selection process is conducted by a committee of independent investors. More than thirty venture capital funds and groups have joined the program as formal partners, to evaluate companies, review their applications and conduct interviews. The selection was finalized by a group of industry experts from leading African-focused funds, including Proparco (www.Proparco.com), Orange Digital Ventures (https://DigitalVentures.Orange. com), GSMA (https://bit.ly/2EB3TqE), Brightmore Capital (http://BrightmoreCapital.com), BlackPearl (www.BlackPearlcap.com/BPC), Partech (https://Partechpartners.com), AHL Venture Partners (www.AHLVenturePartners.com), GreenTec Capital (https://GreenTec-Capital.com), Outlierz Ventures (www.Outlierz.co), Accion (www.Accion.org), First Growth Fund, VC Compass (https://bit.ly/2TEFHMB) and Oikocredit (www.Oikocredit.coop).

“Africa Excelle is an opportunity to showcase the work of companies in the French-speaking world and offer them deserved and much-needed visibility,” said Sofien V. Sidhoum, partner at GreenTec Capital (https: // GreenTec-Capital.com). “I had a lot of fun talking to the entrepreneurs I was introduced to, and found that their respective models are of great interest while meeting current needs. I look forward to the next steps, especially VivaTech, which will offer start-ups a major springboard to showcase their achievements. I am already convinced that this type of program should be rolled out every year, “he continued.

“Supporting a new generation of African entrepreneurs in building innovative business models to solve the challenges of the African continent is at the heart of our mission,” said Babacar Seck, Head of Investments at Proparco (www.Proparco.com / en). “Our participation in Africa Excelle allows us to meet outstanding entrepreneurs who are dedicated to addressing the major challenges facing the continent,” he added.

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