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Siltech: Fostering a cleaner Africa through Electric Vehicle production

Siltech: Fostering a cleaner Africa through Electric Vehicle production
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In this episode of Built in Africa, we examine how Nigerian e-mobility company, Savenhart Technology Limited (Siltech), wants to foster a cleaner Africa through Electric Vehicles production.

APEX Medical Laboratories: Helping Malawians get specialised healthcare services

APEX Medical Laboratories: Helping Malawians get specialised healthcare services
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AfroCharts: Indigenous African music streaming platform

AfroCharts: Indigenous African music streaming platform
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FULL TRANSCRIPT

Narrator: I remember ten years ago when African music didn’t get as much global attention as it does now. Interestingly, now that I think of it, it wasn’t because of a lack of talent or content. So, I wonder what has changed. Well, your guess is as good as mine.

But Africa now has a growing youth population, exceptional music talents, unique genres, and streaming companies. Africa’s music industry is doing so well that global companies are eager to sign deals with artistes to get a share of their earnings. 

Guess what? Streaming made up 62.3% of the $21.5 billion revenue made by the global music industry in 2020. 

If you ask me, digital distribution was clearly the game-changer. And the good thing is that apart from foreign platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, and Shazam, local streaming platforms are also contributing their quota.

On this episode of Built in Africa, we explore how indigenous music streaming platform, AfroCharts, is offering unreached African music talents the opportunity to get paid for their content.

Narrator: Burundi-born Leonard Novati, AfroCharts founder, lived his early life in Tanzanian refugee camps because of the constant civil wars in his home country. During his stay, music was one of the things he loved doing asides from other menial jobs he did to make ends meet, so he stuck with that on reaching the US in 2007 at the age of 16.

However, he needed to fuel his thirst for entrepreneurship. But what were his options: become a musician, a music producer, or a disc jockey (DJ). Eventually, Leonard chose to make a living from DJing for some reason.

Leonard Novati: When I got here where there was so much technology, I thought I could sing like most young kids, young boys and girls, I tried that, it didn’t work. And then I tried to open a recording studio, it didn’t work either. So, I’m like, well, I love music, I must share with the public. You know, somehow, I have to make people happy through music. If I cannot sing, I cannot produce, why don’t I become a DJ? From there, I started teaching myself to DJ.

Narrator: So, he founded a DJ company to make a living while in college and focused majorly on African music, which turned out to be his selling point. He often got invited to African and American events. 

While he trained himself to become a DJ, he graduated with a computer science degree and later became a web developer.

In 2014, he saw a need. People listening to his Afrobeats mix asked where they could get it, and some African artistes also contacted him to add their songs to his mix. That was when he had the idea for AfroCharts. But his first attempt wasn’t a success.

Leonard Novati: While I was in college, I actually tried to create something similar but for beats. Like an online beat-selling marketplace. Whether you’re an African or not, where you can sell your beats to the world. Artistes are looking for fresh beats. That failed. That was in 2014.

Narration: After that, he started brainstorming the idea for AfroCharts in 2016. 

Leonard Novati: All these streaming platforms, African listeners and artistes still feel like they’re left out. That’s when it hit me, I’m like why don’t we create our own platform? Our platform focuses on African artistes, Af

CribMD: Nigerian-founded telemedicine health tech startup

CribMD: Nigerian-founded telemedicine health tech startup
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FULL TRANSCRIPT

SFX: Ambulance siren

Narrator: Access to healthcare is one of Africa’s biggest challenges. The World Health Organization’s recommended doctor to patient ratio is 1:600, but Nigeria falls short with 1:2,753 as revealed by its federal government in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. From this, one thing is sure: Nigeria is a far cry from having decent healthcare.

With these statistics come a string of casualties. For Ifeanyi Ossai, a Nigeria and US-based entrepreneur, his aunt died on her way to a distant hospital following a protracted allergic reaction, a death that could have been avoided if she had received medical attention sooner. 

SFX: Sombre sound

This sad event would soon inspire Ifeanyi to build four functional medical clinics in Delta state, Nigeria, a place he grew up. Enter WeCare in 2017. to provide superior medical care to underserved areas to reduce or eliminate preventable deaths.

Narrator: On this episode of Built in Africa, we examine how a Nigerian-founded healthcare business, WeCare evolved into a full-blown telemedicine healthtech startup, CribMD.

Narrator: Although it was a well-thought-out idea, Ifeanyi soon discovered that many patients went home without getting the healthcare they sought; with the problem of accessibility solved, the challenge of demand surfaced. 

Ifeanyi Ossai: Our physical clinics could not accommodate most of the customers we get on any given day. On any given day, we could only see about 10% of the customers that come to our doorsteps”

Narrator: That’s Ifeanyi Ossai, CEO and Chairman, WeCare and co-founder, CribMD. 

In a bid to solve the demand problem, WeCare planned to open 300 clinics in sub-Saharan Africa. But in 2020, it became clear that the demand for healthcare would always exceed supply.

Ifeanyi Ossai: That is when we came to the realisation that we need to solve healthcare in Africa another way.”

Narrator: So, in WeCare’s third year of operation, Ifeanyi sourced out the best brains he could get, to help him salvage the leftovers of his passion for affordable and accessible healthcare. He found two.

In June 2020, Ifeanyi co-founded CribMD with Ngiri Michael, an experienced software engineer who serves as Chief Technology Officer (CTO); and Lorna Mae Johnson, a nurse and midwife running some medical clinics in Los Angeles, serving as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Narrator: So, here’s exactly how CribMD works.

Ifeanyi Ossai: Instead of you coming to our physical clinics, we can deliver the doctor to your home at your comfort and convenience  So, our goal is to democratise health care by delivering quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare to you wherever you are in Africa.”

Narrator: … and how the business makes money?

Ifeanyi Ossai: CribMD makes money by charging monthly subscriptions. So, we charge you a very small amount of money so that you can access our healthcare on-demand.”

Narrator: Through the mobile app and website, users can have access to doctor home calls, telemedicine, prescription delivery, and many other features that don’t require them to visit a hospital by su

Vesicash: Bespoke escrow service for online businesses

Vesicash: Bespoke escrow service for online businesses
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FULL TRANSCRIPT

Narrator: Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Saturday March 25 2017. Chukwuma Eleje, father of four, says goodbye to his family as he sets out to make deliveries for the day. Chukwuma works for one of the third-party logistics partners of eCommerce giant, Jumia. But little does he know that it’s his last goodbye.

Chukwuma ended up being murdered by 2 young men who ordered 2 iPhone 7 devices using Pay on Delivery, a popular payment option on Nigerian eCommerce platforms. After brutally snuffing the life of Mr. Eleje, the young men tied Chukwuma up and stuffed him into a septic tank. 

The unfortunate incident happened at a time when Nigerians were still coming to terms with online shopping. Pay on Delivery was the preferred option, given the level of distrust and fear they feel. But the murder incident didn’t look good on the industry. 

The question is if they took Pay on Delivery out of the equation in those early days, what were the chances of survival for eCommerce businesses in Nigeria? 

Naturally, these platforms began to explore safer options as it became clearer that Pay on Delivery wouldn’t be sustainable in the long haul. Soon, escrow services became the perfect replacement but they were quite unpopular at the time. 

Somewhere in Ghana in 2017, on the floors of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) accelerator programme, three Nigerians, Ehi Aigiomawu, Ibrahim Oladele, and Tomisin Adeshiyan  came up with the idea for a bespoke escrow service. They named it Vesicash. Globally, the eCommerce sector is predicted to be worth $6.5 billion by 2022, and Vesicash plans to make it safe for Nigerian online businesses

Ehi Aigiomawu: We found out that buyers could not trust the sellers to deliver the right items, so they would prefer Pay on Delivery instead. And sellers, on the other hand, people who sell, are not really convinced that “oh, if I ship this item, am I really sure this person will pay me? Won’t it be an issue later on?”. So most of the time, this was leading to lots of unfulfilled orders. So how do we solve this problem? We knew that the main issue that these two people — the buy and the seller — had was trust. So they couldn’t trust each other. So we asked, “how could we build a platform to foster trust between these sets of people so that they can transact smoothly?”

Narrator: That’s Ehi Aigiomawu, Vesicash Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer. 

Ehi Aigiomawu: We did a couple of research in different spaces, and we found out that the problem was not just in the eCommerce space, it was also in the freelance sector, it was also in the real estate sector, and in other sectors too. So, we narrowed down and we decided that we’re going to solve this problem, and we decided that escrow was a way for us to solve this problem, to foster trust between buyer and seller. So, we immediately registered the company called Vesicash with the sole purpose of guaranteeing payment security for digital transactions across Africa.

Narrator: So, they pitched the idea and it sounded good.

Ehi Aigiomawu: MEST liked it but then, we had to come back to Nigeria to validate the idea… MEST is in Ghana. Nigeria is a bigger market than Ghana so we had to come back to Nigeria, to actually validat

Bonus: The Consumer, the Bank and Fintech | Techpoint Inspired 2018

Bonus: The Consumer, the Bank and Fintech | Techpoint Inspired 2018
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Please subscribe, share and drop a review of this podcast, by searching for ‘Built in Africa’ on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also email us feedback at [email protected]

For more stories on startups and innovation in Africa, please visit techpoint.africa

Bonus: Secure digital currencies for the future of Africa, a discussion.

Bonus: Secure digital currencies for the future of Africa, a discussion.
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Build the money of the future at https://currency.techpoint.africa/

Image by WorldSpectrum from Pixabay

Please subscribe, share and drop a review of this podcast, by searching for ‘Built in Africa’ on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also email us feedback at [email protected]

For more stories on startups and innovation in Africa, please visit techpoint.africa

Eze Wholesale: YC-backed startup altering the global used smartphone market

Eze Wholesale: YC-backed startup altering the global used smartphone market
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On this episode of Built in Africa, we take a look at how Y Combinator-backed Eze Wholesale is altering the global landscape of the used smartphone market.

Image credit: Techjaja.com.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

 Narrator: In 2017, two friends, one a software engineer, and the other, a petroleum engineer, saw an opportunity. They became wholesalers in the used smartphone market currently valued at a whopping $46 billion. 

They operated this business for over two years before they eventually realised that the used smartphone market had more issues than they thought. This problem gave birth to an entirely new business.

[Theme song]

On this episode of Built in Africa, we explore how Y Combinator-backed Eze Wholesale is altering the global landscape of the used smartphone market.

David Iya and Joshua Nzewi are childhood friends, and they ran a couple of businesses together up until they got into the university.

By 2016, Joshua had become a petroleum engineer at Shell while David had worked as a software engineer with two US-based Internet companies.

One day, David called Joshua telling him about a business opportunity he had in mind:

Joshua Nzewi: So one day he called me the scan the arbitrage opportunity between buying phones locally and selling them online. And that’s what brought us into that.

Narrator: Having run businesses before, it didn’t take long for the two friends to kick this off. They did this for two and a half years but soon began to notice a trend.

Joshua Nzewi: For about two and half years where we were just trading devices, buying them from individuals and selling them overseas. Until we went to trading conferences where we realised that there are inefficiencies in the market at a much higher level where companies are moving a billion dollars in devices a month. And realising this was not just a problem in the United States but also abroad as well. So the channels in which people are able to source these devices and then resell them.

Narrator: So in January 2020,  they built Eze wholesale to try to solve this problem.

Joshua Nzewi: So we created this online marketplace that would enable people to transact a lot faster, with more security and safety, and transparency, and much more efficiently than people are currently trading now.

Narrator: Globally, the used smartphone market is valued at $46 billion, and in markets like Nigeria, it has continued to grow in importance. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that used smartphone shipments will exceed 330 million units with a market value of $67 billion by 2023.

Here’s how this process works. 

Ben lives in the UK and uses an iPhone X. But, he’s tired of it, so he walks into a carrier store and drops it off. The carrier store then auctions the iPhone X and other phones that have been dropped off to wholesalers.

The wholesalers are tasked with the responsibility of effective distribution to those who need them. And this is why weeks later, Tobi buys that iPhone X in Nigeria for much less than its original cost.

As a B2B platform, Eze Wholesale allows traders to place, buy, and sell used smartphones. Sellers can post the devices they have in stock, and then buyers can buy directly from them via the platform.

For Eze wholesale, the aim is to open up the market for all and eliminate the middlemen in this space.

Joshua Nzewi: What we’re trying to do in this space is open the ma

Shezlong: Anonymous mental health services from Africa to the world

Shezlong: Anonymous mental health services from Africa to the world
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FULL TRANSCRIPT

Narrator: Mental health in Africa is often misperceived, leading to the stigmatisation of people with mental health issues. Because of this, those in need of treatment usually put it off. The cost of therapy doesn’t help either.

On this episode of Built in Africa, we put the spotlight on Shezlong, the first mental health-tech solution in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

According to a survey carried out by Egypt’s Ministry of Health in 2018, about 25 million people in Egypt — a quarter of the population — are suffering from a range of mental illnesses. 

SFX: Ambulance siren. 

In 2014, Ahmed Abu ElHaz, an Egyptian software engineer, was in an accident that almost cost him his limbs. 

Ahmed Abu ElHaz: I had a severe depression after the accident and I wanted to go to a therapist to recover. But unfortunately, in Egypt, and similarly around Africa, it’s very difficult to find a good therapist. 

Narrator: Given his previous background as a consultant with the World Health Organisation on mental health, Ahmed decided to build a platform to tackle the problem he faced.

Ahmed Abu ElHaz: I thought about how we can connect licensed therapists with anybody having mental disorders in a convenient, private, and anonymous way. 

Narrator: Ruminating on how to tackle the problem, he considered stigmatisation, misconception, contradictions, and religious stance on mental health disorders, and concluded that online was the way to go.

Ahmed Abu ElHaz: The online therapy, definitely, it’s more convenient than clinics in different ways. The first thing is the people. It’s easier to share their emotions and share their thoughts in their houses, rather than going to the clinics.

Narrator: And so, in 2015, Shezlong was born as a video conferencing platform with a focus on mental health. With only three therapists initially, the platform was limited to Egypt and other Arabic-speaking nations.

Ahmed realised very quickly that the problem was two-pronged. To build a client base, he needed online awareness campaigns to destigmatise mental illness. On the other hand, he also needed to hire qualified therapists to provide service to said clients.

Ahmed Abu ElHaz: The main issue of mental health, it’s an untapped industry especially for people and government. The governments, especially in emerging markets, don’t put suitable budget for mental health and they don’t invest a lot to provide loans to protect the patients and the therapists. On the other hand, the people don’t have the awareness and the culture to go to the therapist, if we have depression, for example, and personality disorders.

Narrator: But he eventually surmounted the initial challenge. Today, Shezlong now engages over 300 licensed therapists who specialise in depression, anxiety disorder, psychotic disorder, addiction, among other fields. It has grown into a global product, used across 60 countries, and is available in English, Italian, Hindi, Swedish, Turkish, Greek, Urdu, Deutsch, and French.

Shezlong has managed to create a sub-niche in the area of European and American expatriates who require the services of culturally familiar therapists. These expatriates, Ahmed says, make up 30% of Shezlong’s clientbase. 

Along the journey, Ahmed enlisted the help of other professionals like Mohamed ElShami, who served as the Medical Director, now Medical Advisor, and Shaheer Shaheen, who serves as the CTO. Ahmed is the CEO of the company.

Shezlong works sort of like a marketplace for mental health services. Both clients and therapists can access the platform via