Today’s Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (19 September)
Senegal’s Most Promising Startups Selected To Pitch At Seedstars Dakar 2017
Nine of Senegal’s most promising seed stage startups will compete to represent the country at the Regional and Global Seedstars Summits, and to win up to USD 1 million in equity investments and other prizes.
Seedstars World, the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes has brought its pre-selection rounds to an end and selected nine promising tech startups to pitch at the Seedstars Dakar pitching event on 22 September.
The top startups selected to advance to the pitching event are:
- ADN, an IT consulting company specialized in Data Analytics and focused on providing business analytics solutions for African organization
- BAYSEDDO 2.0, a platform that allows farmers to finance their crop
- Carvi Writer, the first publishing company of books and audiovisual production in Africa, it makes money and movies with your writings.
- Dassur, an insurance distributor which uses Messenger
- MaTontine, which provides access to small loans and related financial services like micro-insurance by digitizing traditional savings circles.
- PayDunya is a one stop shop to create, manage & grow sales on social networks and get paid from all relevant payment methods in Africa with CRM toolbox
- SenCivilities allows the management of civil status, request of remote birth certificate, and geolocation of the undeclared children
- Walam, a mobile platform based on sharing economy that let people put their skills to the service of other people without having money.
- SKILLAKE, a job marketplace, to help American and European companies find qualified IT professionals in Africa with a perfect match
In order to provide local entrepreneurs with this opportunity and aiming to deliver the best possible event, Seedstars World is closely working with Groupe Cofina, main supporter for Seedstars World Senegal. “Groupe Cofina is proud to support innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in Senegal by partnering with Seedstars World for Seedstars Dakar 2017 competition which aims at sourcing the most promising and innovative startups in Senegal,” explains Laissa Mouen from Groupe Cofina.
Beyond the local event, Seedstars World is working very closely with Enel Green Power to source the most innovative business models in the energy sectors and ones that are fostering socio-economic development in rural villages in Africa. Up to 5 best startups in this sector will be invited for an exclusive RES4Africa networking event taking place later this November in Nairobi and compete for an Africa Energy Prize which consists of a financial contribution and a three-month acceleration programme for a total value of up to $50,000.
The Members of the public are encouraged to attend the event and will be treated to the nine startup pitches. Registrations for the event can be made on the Seedstars Website.
Local Fintech startup, ThisIsMe, selected for Gartner Innovation Programme
Fintech startup, ThisIsMe, announced that it has been selected to participate in this year’s Gartner’s Innovation Programme which forms part of the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. This is one of the world’s most important gatherings of CIOs and senior IT executives which showcases the latest solutions from key technology providers. It runs in Cape Town from Wednesday, 20 September until Thursday, 21 September at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
ThisIsMe enables businesses to reduce fraud, automate FICA/KYC checks, improve onboarding and increase revenue while providing an on-demand, seamless customer experience. ThisIsMe can complete the FICA process in three minutes – an African record.
This fintech attracted $2.5m in funding in 2016 and has processed more than one million verifications. It is expanding into African and international markets and counts Sanlam and Silica as customers. It was also ranked one of the best global regtech companies by the CB Insights team in 2017.
Explains David Thomas, ThisIsMe co-founder and head of product, “Many IT executives rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organisations can use new technology solutions to address business challenges and we look forward to showcasing our advanced offering.”
Since the launch of ThisIsMe, consumers have said that that they are delighted to skip queues and register new accounts within minutes instead of days, from anywhere in the world. And it’s not only financial institutions that require FICA systems. Businesses in property, retail, eCommerce, SMMEs, gambling and many other sectors require efficient FICA processes.
ThisIsMe CEO Mark Chirnside says, “Until recently, the process to establish and verify the identities of clients has largely been paper-based with clients having to arrive at a bank branch, for instance, for face-to-face identification. This tedious process of FICA onboarding has increased costs for institutions to between R300 and R1500 for each client.”
“ThisIsMe’s digital platform makes it faster, much more cost effective and there are fewer errors. The entire process is completed digitally, with machine learning technology ensuring that documents aren’t tampered with. In addition, we are able to ensure that a client’s information is regularly updated and secured. With a client’s permission, we are able to verify that a client is indeed who they say they are,” he says.
Institutions need to take this very seriously – if they are proven to do business with a criminal client, the institution is subject to legal action and fines (not just the client). ThisIsMe now offers solutions that allow accountable institutions to be fully FICA compliant with each and every customer, within minutes.
Discovery Hopes To Make 10 Million People Healthier By 2018
Financial services group Discovery, outlined the growth in scale and impact of its Vitality Shared-Value Insurance model during the announcement of its annual results out of Johannesburg this morning.
Since launching Vitality twenty years ago, Discovery has invested considerably in building a platform that serves a global network of insurers, providing access to the Vitality brand, product offerings, technological innovations, actuarial and data insights and program assets. This Global Vitality Network now operates in 16 countries across North America, Europe, pan-Asia, South Africa and the United Kingdom, serving close to 10 million clients through seven insurers. As an integrated incentive-driven insurance model, Vitality is uniquely positioned to “monetise” better health, and is attracting over 150 000 new members a month.
In the space of the last year, Vitality Group – Discovery’s arm tasked with driving the global expansion of the Vitality Shared-Value Insurance model – introduced the model to six new markets.
Discovery Chief Executive Adrian Gore explains, “We have seen excellent engagement levels in Vitality in both new and established markets, with most experiencing Vitality take-up in excess of 40%. Engaged Vitality members continue to exhibit better health outcomes, driving and savings behaviour, exhibited for instance through Vitality Active Rewards which has dramatically increased physical activity levels globally.”
Vitality Active Rewards has been Discovery’s fastest-growing health promotion offering to date, currently available in nine countries including Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, United States, China, Australia and Hong Kong, with plans to roll out globally in 2018. It applies short-term incentives to encourage people to reach personalized physical activity goals in exchange for rewards with partners such as Apple and Starbucks – delivering tangible results. In partnership with Apple, Vitality offers members the chance to earn the cost of their Apple Watch by reaching regular activity goals. Those that use the app increase their exercise levels on average by 24%, and those using Apple Watch increase their activity sustainably by an average of 81%.
As part of the broader expansion strategy, a partnership with Hannover Re is focused on marketing Vitality Active, a mobile-only version of Vitality Shared-Value Insurance focused primarily on Vitality Active Rewards. Vitality Active is both faster and more economical to launch, making it attractive to smaller life and health insurance markets.
Vitality Group has also invested in the development of Vitality One – a cost-effective and configurable technology chassis for rolling out Vitality Shared-Value Insurance to new and existing health and life insurance markets, allowing for more rapid deployment of innovation globally.