Evening of July 10th, I attended the Hub Ventures Community Pitch Night where seven startups who underwent their 12-week incubator program pitched their world changing business ideas. All the pitches were really sharp and impressive, each of their business models were unique, and fulfilled a large unmet need.
Acopio: Has built a cloud based software (which can also work offline) for information management at Coffee Co-operatives, currently focused on getting the co-ops in Latin America to use technology to better manage their business processes.
Refuel Me: Is a mobile app that allows teens to earn money and rewards based on their safe driving performance, positioning it to be a win-win solution for all concerned parties – the teen, their parents and the insurance companies.
Project Repat: Up-cycling the textile industry’s excess into trendy and fashionable accessories like bags, scarves etc.
CheckInOn.Me: A mobile app that allows your freinds, family and colleagues to check-in on you in situations where you might feel unsafe.
GivKwik: Aims to make charitable giving easy and fun, specially on mobile devices. They’ve come out with a Giv button (similar to Twitter, Facebook share button) which would make giving of small amounts easy and on mobile devices.
DIIME: They are building a whole range of medical devices to improve maternal and infant health-care in developing countries, currently focused in Ghana. Launching with Hemafuse, a low-cost, simple to operate device for blood transfusion for women suffering from massive internal hemorrhage due to ruptured ectopic pregnancy.
Africa’s Talking: An app platform for developers to build basic mobile apps (non smartphone apps) built on sms, mms etc. With over 700 mil mobile phone users and over 190 mobile companies operating in Africa, the venture is focused on developing communication solutions for Africa’s vast mobile market.
What I found impressive was that the start-ups building mobile apps were all thinking of a platform strategy right from the onset, making their APIs available for others to build on the missing pieces. Thinking platform early on displays a high level of sophistication in all of these entrepreneurs. By allowing others to leverage the capabilities of their products in unique and innovative ways can prove to be a winning strategy. In the consumer startup world, Instagram is an example of a successful startup that thought platform right from the start.