Innovate Ventures partnered with VC4Africa, Telesom and Oxfam to host the demo day for the inaugural class of the Innovate Accelerator on November 27, 2016, in Hargeisa, Somaliland. The 2016 Innovate Accelerator program saw 4 startups win a total of $15,000 in equity investment.
The demo day had investors, corporate senior executives and press in attendance. There was a press conference and several keynote speeches. The event ended with a pitching and demo session and the investment awards.
Guri Yagleel, an online platform that allows users search for rental properties in Somaliland, and Muraadso, an e-commerce site for gadgets and electronics, both received $5000 equity investment. SomSite, a startup that provides software solutions for business and brands got $3000, while Hargeisa Daily Media Group, which provides media management software targeted at Somali consumers, got a $2000 investment.
The demo day is the concluding event of a 10-week long accelerator program that 12 early stage Somali startups participated in. Selection criteria for the accelerator program included quality of application, how much traction the startup posesses, quality of the team and viability of the product. The program provided training and mentoring on business and operational skills, access to investors, opportunity to pitch to investors, media coverage, and chance of equity funding.
Applications to the program were called for earlier this year, and over 160 applications from Somali tech startups were received. 12 startups were eventually selected for the 10-week incubation period, and these 12 startups participated in the demo day.
Innovate Ventures is a start-up accelerator and technology fund created to develop the startup ecosystem in Somaliland and Somalia.