Startup Deliverus is the winner of the first +254 Rising entrepreneurship competition, organized by US-based Affinis Labs and sponsored by leading financial services company Dahabshiil.
Hosted by iHub, one of the region’s most notable startup incubators, +254 Rising aimed to support the development of next-generation African innovative startups. Deliverus emerged the winner from a field of five finalists and 60 entrants.
Deliverus won seed funding, six months of incubation at iHub, and mentorship by Affinis Labs as they aim to launch in the Nairobi market by 2017.
Other finalists at +254 Rising included MechLynk–an “Uber for car repair and towing”; Tupate–a mobile-enabled system for retrieving lost personal items in urban settings; Atongoi–a startup that seeks to “gamify farming” through an NFC loyalty card; and Mbegubora–a mobile platform that connects farmers and agricultural services companies.
All team presentations were live streamed to a global audience, and hundreds of viewers voted online for the winning teams in addition to a panel of judges. These teams have been developing concepts; working with mentors from places like Silicon Valley; building prototypes, and testing their ideas.
The winning concept-Deliverus is an app that deals with delivering common household items used on a day to day basis. It involves buying and delivery of goods from normal kiosks and grocers within a 5km radius of the user, then the goods are delivered by cyclers for a small fee.
“As the world flattens in terms of technological ability, the true standout companies will leverage passion, creativity, and optimism,” explained Affinis Labs co-founder and CTO Shahed Amanullah, who emceed the event at iHub. “African startups possess all of these, in addition to competitive advantages in cost structure.”
+254 Rising is the second in a series of African startup competitions and hackathons organized by Affinis Labs and sponsored by Dahabshiil. The first was held in Kampala in partnership with the US Embassy and resulted in the creation of five new business ideas from scratch, several of which have already entered the marketplace.
While congratulating the winners, Dahabshiil Chief Executive Officer Abdirashid Duale said he was happy with the presentations and the level of competition, adding that Dahabshiil will continue investing in building capacity with youth in Kenya and Africa. Dahabshiil is the largest Africa-based money transfer company in the world.
Duale said empowering youth across Africa will help reduce poverty and create opportunities for them to participate in development projects.
“It has been an exciting event and we congratulate the winners as we are looking forward to their launch in Nairobi! We hope to be back soon for more hackathons and startup prize competitions,” said Duale.
Duale added: “We believe in the power of entrepreneurship to dramatically change the socioeconomic landscape in Africa. Youth entrepreneurs, in particular, will be key drivers of innovation and future economic growth. What we have seen in the presentations at +254 Rising is clear testimony that the future of Kenya is in good hands.”
The team behind +254 Rising plans to partner with iHub and other startup incubators on future events in Nairobi to support local entrepreneurial talent and connect them to the African market and beyond.