Between 15 and 20 April 2019, the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator team, represented by Gregory Omondi and Maxime Bayen, was in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, with two objectives in mind. Firstly, to work with two of our portfolio start-ups based locally. Secondly, to participate in the GSMA Mobile 360 West Africa Conference. The week also presented opportunities to engage with several local ecosystem stakeholders. As usual, we thought we’d share a few insights, detailing these six packed days.
Cote d’Ivoire Tech Ecosystem mapping by Briter Bridges
Building hyperlocal tech-enabled solutions to tackle local challenges
With just around $2 million of funding received by local tech start-ups in 2018 according to VC firm Partech, Cote d’Ivoire remains a nascent tech ecosystem only now entering the top 20 African markets in terms of funding. However, this young ecosystem hides a couple of very promising tech ventures, most of which have a common specificity: they are using mobile and digital technologies to offer hyperlocal solutions tackling local socio-economic challenges. Case in point are two local start-ups, which had the opportunity to pitch on the Mobile 360 West Africa event stage: Keiwa is an accounting and stock management mobile-based solution for local MSMEs while Chez Nous (“at ours” in French) is a digital marketplace that matches local cooks (at home or restaurants) to customers.
At more mature stages, the same aim at offering locally anchored solutions applies. This is the case for two Ecosystem Accelerator portfolio start-ups operating in Cote d’Ivoire and funded by our programme since November 2018: Eneza Education and Coliba.
Eneza Education, operating under the product name of iEduk and also funded by the TRECC Programme, is a educational content subscription service for children in primary and secondary schools in Côte d’Ivoire. Developed in-house by local teachers in each field (Mathematics, French, English, History, Physics etc.) and aligned with the national curriculum, students can access lessons and assessments on any mobile phone via SMS with a daily, weekly or monthly subscription. iEduk was launched in January 2019 and already reached over 3,500 cumulative users on the platform. Among these children using the service are close to 150 pupils aged 9 to 16 from the small city of Adzope, where their parents are farmers within the Cocoa cooperative of Cayat. Through a partnership with Nestle, the children were given a free access to iEduk content based on the promise from parents that their children would attend school every day. While most of their parents are unfortunately illiterate, it was very promising to speak with three users: Clotilde, 15 years old, who uses iEduk mainly for mathematics and wants to become a doctor, and Benjamin, 14, who likes to study History on iEduk and wants to become a minister, or with Esther, 15, who dreams of becoming a pilot. Continue reading…