Weekly Review June 20-24


This week at ID, we read about progress and developments in mobile technology around the world. 

SlimTrader Lets Africans Shop via Text” by Ciara Byrne of Venture Beat via The New York Times
Our portfolio company SlimTrader was featured in The New York Times. Byrne used SlimTrader as an example of a company working in developing countries to facilitate customer transactions via SMS text messages. Founder and CEO Femi Akinde experienced firsthand the time-consuming transactions of daily life in Africa, especially in rural areas. The article goes on to explain SlimTrader’s business model as a solution for the Base of the Pyramid. 

Kenya launches Africa’s first mobile apps lab” by Nmachi Jidenma of The Next Web’s Africa
With 300 million mobile phone users in Africa, mobile apps labs are appearing throughout the continent. The newest one in Nairobi, Kenya aims to encourage innovation and “is supported by the World Bank, Nokia and the Government of Finland.” The lab was officially launched one day after Pivot25, “a mobile app developer contest held in Nairobi” where developers pitched their mobile app ideas. Invested Development attended Pivot25 earlier this month.

Demonstrating how mobile money is helping Haiti” by Cameron Peake via Mercy Corps
Citing “the power of cell phones” as a vehicle for positive social change, Mercy Corps recently hosted an event on Capitol Hill on mobile technology and social change. The reception was called “Innovation for Impact:  How Mobile Technology is Spurring Grassroots Recovery in Haiti.” Mercy Corps representatives and members of Congress discussed innovation in mobile technology and the efforts to increase financial services for the poor. Currently Mercy Corps is working with m-Via “to offer mobile-directed remittances products to Haitians.” 

The mobile money market in Nigeria is finally heating up; nearly a year after the Nigeria Central Bank opened the doors to alternative payment providers. ChamsMobile (a division of Chams Plc) joins a handful of competitors like Pagatech and Monitise vying for dominance of Africa’s largest market.