Ventures Platform hosts online Demo Day for COVID19 Innovation Challenge, seven startups to receive $21,000

Ventures Platform hosted the Demo Day for the COVID-19 Innovation Challenge online via Zoom. Each of the seven startups that pitched would receive $3,000

Ventures Platform hosts online Demo Day for COVID19 Innovation Challenge, seven startups to receive $21,000

Ventures Platform hosted the Demo Day for the COVID-19 Innovation Challenge online via Zoom on Thursday.

Following the American seed accelerator, Y Combinator, example, Ventures Platform had seven startups showcase their product at the online Demo Day.

While each of the seven startups that pitched at the Demo Day would receive equity-free funding and support, partner-agencies such as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) are yet to announce the solutions they would be adopting.

"I would share the highlight of all the startups that pitched with the Commissioner [of Science and Technology] and the SA on Innovation and Technology," Alani Lateef said. "In the next 24 hours, we would have a report that we can share with everyone."

Alani Lateef, a program analyst with the Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology, represented the Special Adviser on Innovation and Technology to the Governor of Lagos State, Olatunbosun Alake.

The COVID-19 Innovation Challenge was launched with a tweetstorm on March 18, 2020; it culminated in the Zoom-ed Demo Day where seven selected startups pitched to an audience of about 80 people.

The people present for the online Demo Day include mentors, innovators, investors, and representatives of partner-agencies and corporations such as LASRIC, NCDC, Sterling Bank, and MTN. Notable among them are:

  • Yewande Sadiku, CEO of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission;
  • Inuwa Kashifu, DG of National Information Technology Development Agency;
  • Hakeem Fahm, Lagos State Commissioner of Science and Technology (but couldn't participate because of faulty audio input);
  • Tomi Davies, a member of Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) and President of Africa Angel Business Network;
  • Omobola Johnson, Partner at TLcom Capital and a member of MTN's Board;
  • Uche Iwuozor, IT Manager at Nigeria Centre for Disease Control
  • Dr Iloba Njokanma, Consultant at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital;
  • Rebecca Enonchong, CEO of AppsTech and Chairperson of AfriLabs' Board;
  • Adebowale Banzi, Head of Corporate Communications at Venture Garden Group
  • Yinka Iyinolakan, Head of Corporate Communications at Nigerian Economic Summit Group
  • Abubakar Suleiman, CEO of Sterling Bank;
  • Olumide Soyombo, Co-founder of Bluechip Technologies;
  • Celestine Omin, Consultant at Alta Labs
  • Osita Nwoye (AKA Oo Nwoye), Founder of TechCircle.

"This event has really shown me that Nigerians can volunteer and we can build our own solutions," Kola Aina, Founder of Ventures Platform, said in his opening remark.

We did this [COVID-19 Innovation Challenge] at Ventures Platform because, rather than complain, we really believe that technology and innovation could really help us to solve this problem.

Our central thesis at Ventures Platform is: Technology is a tool to solve problems and build prosperity in Africa. But there is no way you will build prosperity if people are going to die of disease.

—Kola Aina, Founder of Ventures Platform

According to Ventures Platform, each of the seven startups that pitched will be receiving equity-free $3,000 (₦1.1 million) investment. This is made possible through the contributions of Lagos State Government ($1,000) (₦367,000), Ventures Platform ($1,000) and other individual and corporate partners ($1,000).

Kola noted that the initial plan was to give $1,000 to 5 startups. "Big thanks to our partners, we are now able to give the seven startups $3,000 equity-free funding to scale," Kola said.

These seven startups have been tagged the first cohort of #COVID19InnovationChallenge, with another set of startups to be announced shortly for the second cohort.

These are dark times, but there's light at end of the tunnel. Stay safe

These are the seven startups that pitched at COVID-19 Innovation Challenge online Demo Day

"From 500+ applications, 15 were selected to pitch to a panel of seasoned judges and finally, seven were selected to build," Kola said. "For the last five days, the seven startups have undergone mentorship from industry experts and have received benefits from strategic partnerships."

From the solutions pitched by the seven startups, it's imperative for two or more solutions to be integrated to better serve Nigerians and by extension humanity.

1. Infodemics

Infodemics is a risk communication platform that enables real-time information, advice and opinions to be shared between experts and people facing health risks such as the current pandemic.

Infodemics uses web technology, unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and interactive voice response (IVR). It was co-founded by Dr Nestor Achese Inimgba in 2018.

2. MyServiceAgent (powered by iQubeLabs)

MyServiceAgent is an artificial intelligence-powered IVR system that can communicate with more than 1,000 people simultaneously and intelligently.

MyServiceAgent is powered by iQubeLabs, "an applied computer science research and development company" founded in 2010 that develops innovative products and solutions. Some of iQubeLabs products include HRP, Medifix NG, and Redbank NG.

3. Gloepid (powered by Prunedge)

Gloepid is a platform that enables easy self assessment, contact tracking, feedback process, and provide data insight.

The team is led by Joel Ogunsola, who is also the founder of Prunedge—a tech company that develops innovative solutions to improve the efficiency of processes, the livelihood of people and aid decision making within organisations.

Joel is also Senior Special Assistant on Innovation and Partnerships to Ondo State Governor.

Caselink is a product built by Wellahealth—a malaria insurance company—to help the NCDC and state governments to better manage positive COVID-19 cases. Wellahealth was founded by Dr Ikpeme Neto in 2017.

5. Innover Tech COVID-19 Solution

Innover Tech COVID-19 solution is a web-based platform that helps with rumour management and case reporting. The solution is rightly named COVID-19 Nigeria.

While Innover Tech is yet to officially launch, COVID-19 Nigeria team is led by Tochukwu Okorie, who is also the founder of FoodGatsby Limited—a marketplace that connects and delivers food to individuals.

6. Wellvis COVID-19 Triaging App

This is another risk assessment platform that determines users' COVID-19 risk factor and whether they need to call the NCDC Hotline or not.

According to Wellvis, the platform has been used by more than 200,000 people since it launched last month.

The Wellvis Triaging App is a product of the Wellviser Company, which was co-founded by Wale Adeosun and Ayomide Owoyemi in 2018. Wellviser provides on-demand health information, advice, care and support using a peer-to-peer model moderated by verified health practitioners.

Also Read: CcHUB announces Wellvis Health and PricePally as the first set of COVID-19 related projects it would be supporting

7. Cmapit Analytics

CmapIT Analytics is a geographic information system (GIS) and data visualization software that will enable relevant agencies track the coronavirus pandemic by analyzing geospatial data of a patient and visualizing it.

The software was developed by Abiri Oluwatosin Niyi, a GIS software developer, in 2015.

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