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Partnerships 6 April 2020

Standard Bank invests in 2 African tech start-ups to be scaled across Africa in Founders Factory programme

Two new technology start-ups have been selected and accepted into the Founders Factory Africa (FFA) Venture Scale programme.

Standard Bank Group, the largest African bank by assets, has announced two new technology start-ups who have been selected and accepted into the Founders Factory Africa (FFA) Venture Scale programme.

Founders Factory Africa is a corporate-backed venture development company, who are part of the wider Founders Family network that includes access to investors, corporates and innovators from all over the world. Since its inception, FFA has aimed to build, design and scale 140 tech-enabled start-ups across the continent - over the next five years.

The Founders Factory Africa model was first launched in Africa in October 2018 in partnership with Standard Bank, who became the first corporate to make a multi-million-pound investment.

Larry McCarthy, Head of Strategic Investments and Alliances at Standard Bank, says that he is excited to grow entrepreneurship across the continent. “There has never been a more critical time to continue investing in the growth of Africa’s economy through entrepreneurship. Small businesses are the life blood of an economy and will need to be supported and accelerated during these times.”

The Venture Scale programme at FFA provides African start-ups with £220 000 in tailored support services across product design, data science, engineering and business development, along with an additional financial cash investment of £30 000. The start-ups will also gain access to an exclusive partnership with Standard Bank to unlock access to distribution channels, customer acquisition, pilots, data, Intellectual Property and expertise.

The two start-ups that joined on 30 March 2020:

  • Truzo is a South African based web and app-based escrow platform enabling buyers and sellers anywhere to transact in a safe and secure way. FSCA (Financial Sector Conduct Authority) & PASA (Payment Association of South Africa) registered.
  • MVXchange from Nigeria is a tech-driven maritime logistics platform that matches vessel charter requests with available Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs) - the Uber for ships!

McCarthy says the businesses in the FFA portfolio are solving for everyday challenges experienced by consumers and small business owners across the continent; from last mile delivery logistics (Bwala), connecting farmers with access to markets (Foodlocker), enabling users outside South Africa to transact online safely across Africa (Truzo) and the digital networking of offshore support vessels (MVXchange).

The FFA model includes its Venture Scale programme focused on developing existing start-ups, while the Venture Build programme harnesses the power of technology to build completely new businesses solving mass needs on the African continent.