The MEST Incubator program was founded in 2010 to support the overall mission of MEST, by providing seed funding, office space and hands-on support for graduates of our training program who have ambitions of founding their own technology companies in Ghana. Its inception was driven in part by the limited access to seed stage capital and access to seasoned entrepreneurs to provide mentorship for software startups in Sub-Saharan Africa.
To date, the MEST Incubator has invested in over 15 companies and backed more than 35 co-founders. Our focus is on companies in the following areas: SaaS, Consumer Internet, eCommerce, Digital Media, and Healthcare IT.
The MEST Incubator program does not simply accelerate its portfolio companies, but provides an extended and deeply hands-on support system to participating companies, most of whom remain within our facilities for between 12-24 months. The MEST Incubator has more than a dozen full-time staff in Ghana and Silicon Valley, that provide the following resources:
Typically $50K to $200K for a minority equity interest in the business.
Public and Private office space, conference rooms and high-speed internet connectivity in a 5,000 sq ft. building in East Legon, adjacent to MEST’s main campus.
Full-time, on-site staff of business advisors and cross-functional experts who work day-to-day with our portfolio companies to support application development, marketing, sales and distribution.
Centralized suite of resources and shared databases to assist companies in accelerating sales, marketing, finance, and legal.
Events & Education
Access to local networking events, global start-up competitions, and technical skills development workshops.
Leverage satellite offices in San Francisco and London, which enables easier access to these key markets and facilitate global sales, business development and fundraising activities and connections.
Eric Hackman is co-founder of Intruptiv. Eric discusses Startup Weekend Accra, the importance of creating a community around software entrepreneurship, and the role that the MEST community plays within Ghana’s tech ecosystem.
Seth Akumani is CEO and co-founder of ClaimSync. Seth describes the highs and the lows of starting a healthcare startup in Ghana, and discusses ClaimSync’s acquisition by GenKey, a global biometrics company.
“Ghanaian entrepreneurs David Osei, Kamil Nabong and Philips Effah founded Dropifi, an online tool that helps businesses sort customer feedback online. About 20 months later, it has become the first African company to join the 500 Startups program, a Silicon Valley-based seed accelerator and investment fund.”
“Because the app has a “suggest Saya to your friends” feature (which accesses users’ contact books and sends out invites to them), soon after the trial started the number of users ballooned to 400,000, including even some users appearing in Syria (where, Lamptey notes, the big thing seems to be the group messaging feature). Then those 400,000 users generated a further 8.7 million invitations. At that point, Saya decided to hold back until properly launching its beta.”
Interswitch and MEST have partnered to extend the MEST training programme into Nigeria to benefit Nigeria’s IT entrepreneurs and its rapidly growing domestic ICT industry.
MEST companies enjoy three years of free software, invitations to local Microsoft-sponsored events, professional technical support from Microsoft engineers, access to Microsoft’s Early Adopter Program, and the opportunity to be profiled and promoted on BizSparks, Microsoft’s global virtual networking hub.
MEST companies get $2,000/month for 12 months in Rackspace hosting credits, as well as fanatical support and mentorship.
MEST companies receive $3,000 in AWS hosting credit. Beginning November 2014, MEST companies will also receive free access to Amazon’s web-based and instructor-led training (normally ~$600/course), a year of premium AWS Business Support, as well special offers from Amazon partners.
MEST is a member of the AfriLabs network, which exists to support the growth of communities around African technology hubs, and to encourage expansion of the network by providing tools and resources for new and emerging labs.