Founders Factory Africa has accepted Akili Labs as one of five more African tech start-ups into its Venture Scale programme, which provides GBP30,000 (US$40,000) in investment as well as tailored support services.
Founders Factory, which originally launched in London in 2015 and has already built 70 start-ups, launched African operations in Johannesburg in October, from where it plans to design, build and scale 140 disruptive tech start-ups across Africa over the next five years.
The company brought its model to Africa in partnership with Standard Bank, which made a multi-million dollar investment into Founders Factory Africa, and the pair made their first investments in April. In June it secured backing from Netcare, which operates South Africa’s largest hospital network, to provide a platform for entrepreneurs to build and scale e-health start-ups across Africa.
The Venture Scale programme, which kicks off this month, targeted fintech and e-health companies, and helps start-ups rapidly scale via a cash investment of GBP30,000 (US$40,000) plus GBP220,000 (US$290,000) in tailored support services – across product development, UX/UI, data science, engineering, business development and growth marketing.
Three of the start-ups selected to join the programme are South African, namely Akili Labs, which develops low-cost point of care, rapid diagnostics solutions ; LocumBase, an independent, online booking and management platform that provides real-time availability of verified locum medical professionals; and EnvisionIt Deep AI, which helps radiologists diagnose and prioritise chest x-rays for further analysis using AI algorithms.
Also selected are Kenya’s Bwala Africa, which has developed a last-mile order fulfilment network designed to connect fleet operators and large FMCG manufacturers with retailers, and Nigeria’s FoodLocker, which forecasts foodstuff demand through deep machine learning, thus enabling large-scale buyers to efficiently procure fast-moving consumer goods and fresh produce from smallholder farmers.
“The five businesses joining the Venture Scale programme represent some of the best of African entrepreneurship and innovation. From point-of-care DNA testing to agricultural logistics, the Founders Factory Africa portfolio has the potential to truly drive economic growth and transform the continent. We’re incredibly excited to be part of the growth of these businesses and to deliver their true scale potential,” said Roo Rogers, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) at Founders Factory Africa.
In addition to the hands-on support provided, the start-ups will also have access to exclusive partnerships with Standard Bank and Netcare, which unlocks many of the scaling challenges that businesses face. This includes distribution channels, customer acquisition, pilots, data, IP and expertise.