BY TOM JACKSON
Three Somali startups have shared US$15,000 in investment after coming out on top of the demo day that was the culmination of the inaugural Innovate Ventures accelerator programme.
Disrupt Africa reported earlier this year Innovate Ventures announced the 12 early-stage Somali startups accepted onto the inaugural Innovate Accelerator in Hargeisa, Somaliland, which was held in partnership with the Work in Progress! Alliance and VC4Africa.
The 10-week programme culminated with a demo day, which saw each team pitch their startup to a panel of judges from experts and entrepreneurs.Joint first place went to Guriyagleel, an online property rental startup, and MuraadSo, an e-commerce startup, who both received US$5,000 in seed investment.
Other winners on the day were SomSite and Hargeisa Daily Media, who received US$3,000 and US$2,000 respectively.
Over 180 applications were received for the programme, which also reached almost 250,000 people via SMS, billboards and online advertising, and was broadcast on several Somali TV channels.
Dr Abdigani Diriye, director of Innovate Ventures, said he had been impressed by the drive, commitment and traction of many of the startups in the programme.
“This further underscores the potential of the Somali tech scene and the wealth of talent and skill in Somaliland and Somalia,” he said. “We believe technology, innovation and entrepreneurship can be one of the drivers of economic prosperity in Somaliland and Somalia.”
Next year’s programme will aim to build on the foundations of this year and give the Somali tech startup scene a further jump start by engaging with more startups, partners and investors.