Start-up of the week: Ideasafrica

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Founded by Billy Odero, ideasafrica is a pan-african online platform that links start-ups to investors, venture capitalists(VC’s), mentors and coaches. It aims to create an African entrepreneurs community, help them access start-up funding and create a channel for exchange of ideas.

We talked the Billy about his start-up and this is what he had to say:

How did the idea for your start-up come about?

Currently Africa has over 100 different Hubs/Labs each receiving more than 150 applications per incubation period and unfortunately can only incubate 10-15 start-ups every 6-12 months. This accounts for 5% of the applicants. 95% are therefore unlikely to get visibility, validation and investments and they therefore lack the necessary channels to grow their ideas into businesses. As ideasafrica we decided to set up a platform that will be a social community for all incubated and non incubated start-ups where all of them can get access to mentorship, venture Capitalists and investors.The platform would also help the entrepreneurs share their experiences and better their output.

Your biggest challenge so far?

Working with a small team of one developer and two marketers has been our major challenge.

What has your start-up achieved so far?

Having over 150 start-ups sign up in less than two months has been a great achievement.

What has contributed to your success to this point?

The hubs we have interacted with across Kenya have received our idea warmly and they have been very supportive by introducing their incubatees to our portal. The entrepreneurs on our platform have also contributed a lot to our success through their feedback.

What made you choose entrepreneurship over employment?

With Ideasafrica I just wanted to try out something new and with the ever growing number of startups and enterpreneurs it seemed like the best time to bring the idea to life. It just so happened that all the circumstances around me at that time just seemed to be right for me to take the plunge so I just went ahead and did it.

What are your thoughts on start-ups in Kenya?

Kenyans have innovative ideas which have potential of establishing a diversification in products and services.This therefore gives the kenyan market a competitive edge on a global scale with reference to technology and innovation. Many of them also need mentorship but the avenues for access is limited by having only a few incubators in the picture.

Which key individuals have been of great help to your start-up?

Beverly Mbeke, who is pretty much the marketing and PR arm of ideasafrica, has been hard at work making sure that we establish links with the right people and keep our community engaged. Our start-up advisor Sam Gichuru has also been a great inspiration to us.

There are also a good number of faceless users of the ideasafrica platform that have been our “guinea pigs” whenever we need to try out the new ideas that we are constantly working on.

Going forward, what does your start-up need?

We would like to urge start-ups across Africa to sign up on our platform. We would also like to encourage investors who are interested in investing in Africa to go to our platform and get to interact with the next generation of entrepreneurs in Africa. As a platform we have a wide pool of mentors and we seek to encourage more professionals in different economic sectors to share their wealth of information on ideasafrica.

We still have a lot in store for our users in the months to come and we would urge others to join in and be part of the next big thing!

Check out ideasafrica.com and follow them on Twitter: @Ideasafrica and Like them on Facebook: /ideasafrica

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