Three Rwandan app developers make Tigo's incubation programme shortlist

Local applications (apps) developers have dominated the shortlist of this year’s finalists for Tigo’s technology incubator, think, mentorship and funding.

Localapplications (apps) developers have dominated the shortlist of this year’s finalists for Tigo’s technology incubator, think, mentorship and funding.

According to a statement from Tigo, 10 startups have been shortlisted to compete for a slot in the incubation centre’s second cohort.

They are  Rwanda’s Get It, which does ‘text-to-order’ sales and distribution of household items, Mergims, a mobile application that allows one to pay for airtime, tuition fees, and utility bills efficiently, and Malaika Travel and Tours, a travel application designed to crowd-share rides and excess luggage allowances, and Uganda’s Bitnexa, which is involved in exchange of local currencies with bitcoins using mobile money, and SeedBox, an online mentorship platform that connects young African entrepreneurs to others around the globe.

Others are SoftProviders from Burundi, which is a mobile payment platform, Exchange Visionary Labs from the United States that makes three dimensional (3D) Google glass, and Nigeria’s GutsHaven, a web platform that connects a local community of freelancers to those who need small projects completed, as well as Howxit from South Africa, a mobile application for real-time communication via text, voice and video.

The five winners will benefit from business investment and incubation from Tigo and its parent company, Millicom at the Kacyiru, Kigali-based centre.

Tongai Maramba, the Tigo Rwanda general manager, said in the statement that the 10 finalists were mainly small companies that provide a variety of IT solutions, addressing diverse consumer needs throughout Africa, with an ability to scale up rapidly.

“We are excited about the promising top 10 finalists. Investing in the final selected companies from this group will be a hallmark of Tigo’s commitment to innovation and to growing the IT startup environment across Africa,” Maramba said.

A committee of technology investors, including executives from Millicom, Tigo Rwanda, the African Entrepreneur Collective, and leading regional tech entrepreneurs make up the panel of judges that will select the finalists.

The five will then join think incubation centre in May, with each receiving $15,000 in equity investment, strategic consulting services, and a tailored growth-training curriculum, as well as access to Tigo resources and global tech mentors.

The winners are expected to build on the success of think’s first winners, which comprised of Rwandan company TorQue and Nigerian company Cribpark, who both received investment, access to key networks, assessment of growth, and office space last year.

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