Francophone African Start-Ups to Compete for Funding of up to $5 Million in Tech Acceleration Program

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Twenty of the most promising Francophone African tech start-ups are set to participate in the L’Afrique Excelle residency in Mali, a full-week boot-camp that will kick off the Francophone edition of the World Bank Group’s XL Africa tech start-up accelerator.

From March 24th to March 30th, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to network and learn from leading industry experts, increase their regional visibility and network with potential corporate partners and investors.

L’Afrique Excelle is the francophone adaptation of the popular XL Africa program, which seeks to foster a stronger connection between entrepreneurs in Anglophone and Francophone Africa.

The program achieves this while also providing support to those from less developed digital ecosystems, particularly in fragile countries such as the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Togo and Mali.

The event’s selected participants include startups with operations in Cameroon, Congo, The Ivory Coast, Niger, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Madagascar and Kenya, among other African countries.

The launch of L’Afrique Excelle coincides with several new ecosystem initiatives from the public and private sectors, including the French Development Agency’s Digital Africa initiative, the recently established Africa-focused investment funds extending their reach beyond Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa in addition to the upcoming Francophone Africa Investor Summit (FAIS).

The Summit is a regional West Africa event designed to convene early-stage investors, large companies, and business-supporting organizations.

L’Afrique Excelle’s start-ups specialize in tech solutions for the African market designed to expand reach and access to services. These include fintech, transportation, healthcare, cleantech, data analytics and enterprise software.

Companies in the program have their products or services currently available in one or more Francophone African markets, have strong revenues, and be well-positioned for growth and cross-border expansion. During the Mali Residency, this cohort will benefit from training, individual consultations and peer-to-peer learning,

The Residency will conclude with a venture showcase at the Francophone Africa Investor Summit. A select 10 companies will advance to the France Residency in May 2019, where they will receive intensive training and mentoring at the camp with investors such as Sophia Business Angels, as well as coaching by experts at Deloitte’s and Google’s offices.

The companies will also get exposure to investors at the upcoming AfroBytes and VivaTech conferences to be held in Paris from May 15th to May 18th, 2019. With participation from Africa’s leading investment groups, L’Afrique Excelle will help these start-ups attract early stage capital between $250,000 and $5 million.

“Similar to the XL Africa program, L’Afrique Excelle has attracted a number of growth-oriented digital start-ups from Francophone Africa,” said Sebastian Molineus, Director of the Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice at the World Bank Group.

“Many of them have already raised seed funding, totaling over $11 million, and are active in several African markets. This is a strong signal regarding the competitiveness of Francophone African start-ups and their contribution to Africa’s digital economies,” he explained.

Commenting on the same, Sofien V. Sidhoum, Partner at investment firm, GreenTec Capital, said that L’Afrique Excelle is an opportunity to highlight the work of companies from the Francophone world and give them a well-deserved and much needed exposure.

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