Facebook Accelerator Nigeria (FbStart Accelerator) has unveiled its 2019 cohort, which comprises of one Ghanaian startup and 11 Nigerian startups.

The first FbStart Accelerator held last year at NG_HUB, which was established by Facebook in partnership with Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB). Following the success of the maiden edition, applications for the 2019 cohort was opened to Nigerian and Ghanaian innovators.

Related: Facebook opened its London Accelerator Programme to African startups for the first time this year.

After a rigorous selection process, four student teams and eight startups from Nigeria and Ghana were selected to participate in the six-month accelerator programme. The students teams namely—InventOne, GESAL, Vinsighte and Mus-comm Spill-Sat—will be furnished with $10,000 (₦3.6 million) of equity-free funding. While, the other startups get double that amount, $20,000 (₦7.2 million).

Francis Sani, Programme Manager at NG_Hub, told benjamindada.com that their learnings from the maiden edition made them increased the grant for students teams to $10,000 this year, and increasing the number of startups team to eight.

The 2018 cohort had five startup teams, and 10 student teams who received $5,000 grants each.

We increased the grant for student teams to $10,000 this year. This was as a result of our learnings from last year that student teams need a funding amount higher than $5,000.This coupled with the increased number of startups (5 to 8) in this cohort is the basis for the difference in the number. 2. Yes. We have one team from Ghana: Appruve. 3. Student teams: Vinsighte, Muscomm Spill-Sat, G E S A L and InventOne.

During the six months, the selected startups will have access to technical and business mentors from Facebook and CcHUB, as well as free working space at NG_Hub located in Yaba, Lagos. They will also have access to industry experts and deeper knowledge on how to optimize their innovative solutions, which revolves around artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), data science, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Related: Earlier this year, the 2019 Innovation Showcase Week also held at NG_HUB.

According to Bosun Tijani, the CEO of CcHUB Nigeria and Kenya, Facebook Accelerator is the first deeptech acceleration programme in the West Africa region.

"FbStart Accelerator is a unique platform for discovering and enabling technology solutions that are capable of creating significant economic impact," Bosun said.

"We are extremely proud of the contribution and dedication from Facebook and all our partners in leveraging the programme to inspire and support a new generation of entrepreneurs and makers".

In her comment, Facebook's Adaora Ikenze expressed similar excitement to be returning with a second installment of the programme.

We’re delighted to be bringing this programme back for a second year to NG_Hub, and for the very first time including Ghanaian innovators. The success of last year’s programme, which saw the graduating teams cumulatively raise over $400,000 in investments and grants as at April 2019, reinforces the amazing talent pool and groundbreaking solutions we see being created from across the continent and here in Nigeria. Young innovators using cutting edge technologies to build solutions that are both locally and globally relevant.

Adaora Ikenze, Facebook's Head of Public Policy for West Africa

Meet the 12 Startups in the 2019 FbStart Accelerator

Unlike the 2018 cohort which had 15 startups, this year's cohort has only 12 startups. Categorized by the technology they are using, nine startups are under artificial intelligence (5) and Internet of Things (4). This is similar to last year, where 11 startups were under artificial intelligence (5)  and Internet of Things (6).

1. Appruve

Led by Paul Kwesi Damalie, who is the CEO of Inclusive Innovations, Appruve is the only Ghanian startup in the cohort.

It is one of the products of Inclusive Innovations a financial data application programming interface (API) used by financial services to on-board and verify the identities of their customers to analyse transaction data from bank and mobile money accounts.

2. Chekkit

Chekkit eases asset tracking and consumer intelligence for food, beverage and pharmaceutical product producers/distributors through anti-counterfeit services by labelling products for smart and traceable authentications from the warehouse to final consumer.

The team lead, Dare Odumade, is an alumnus of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), Ghana.

3. Curacel

Curacel is an intelligent platform that fast-tracks claims processing and detects fraudulent claims for health insurance companies. The team lead, Henry Mascot, had tried his hands on building an educational technology startup.

4. GESAL

GESAL uses visual learning to offer quality education at a low cost to secondary school students leveraging AR to visualize complicated diagrams in 3D and deploy virtual laboratory tools. The team lead is Yewande Akinjewe.

5. Gradely

Gradely is using analytics and data-driven recommendations to help schools and parents intervene in real-time to children’s learning gaps through weekly adaptive homework tests. The team is led by Boye Oshinaga.

6. Haulr

Haulr is an IoT and AI-powered platform that tracks trucking operations in real-time to curb illegal hauling & theft of cargo, while boosting efficiency & communication among logistics stakeholders. The team is led by Bright Williams.

7. InventOne

InventOne is a platform that allows hardware engineers, enthusiasts and hobbyists build and deploy IoT solutions with little to no code written - via a graphical programming interface. One the student teams led by Oluwatobi Ogunbayo

8. Mus-comm Spill-Sat

Spill-sat is an oil spill, gas leak and vandalization detection system. It uses a balloon satellite to collect aerial data that is processed and used to provide real-time analytics to oil companies. One of the student teams led by Sadique Temitayo.

9. Simbi Interactives

Simbi Interactives is an ed-tech startup that is solving the problem of poor education in Africa by making quality education available, affordable and accessible to all African students using maieutic learning. The team is led by Abdulazeez Ogunjobi.

10. Vinsighte

Vinsighte is the fourth student team and it is led by Kolawole Oluwatomisin. It uses computer vision and sonar technology to aid the visually impaired in navigating their environment independently and read books conveniently.

11. Vmedkit

Vmedkit is a social enterprise with a mission to increase access to mental healthcare by leveraging Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET). The team is led by Okon Emmanuel, who is also among 20 finalists of the 2019 Anzisha Prize.  

12. VNTS

VNTS is a consumer devices manufacturing and software/platforms company, actively innovating hardware solutions tailored to solve internet connectivity issues. The team is led by Henry Obinugwu.