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Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Nokia’s $1 Million Growth Economy Venture Challenge

Your mission:
To build a product, which will be a profitable business, that improves the lives of people who live in a part of the world where they make less than $5/day. It can be hardware, software or services as long as it is related to mobility.

What application would you build to win a $1,000,000 investment from Nokia to do that?

Picking a Winner

If you’re just hearing about this contest, you’re already too late. Today I’m sitting in on the final judging panel to pick a winner from the 10 finalists who come from all over the world.

Since the challenge ended July 31, 2010, Nokia has received nearly 300 submissions from 54 countries, with a majority of them coming from India (47), followed by the United States (42), Kenya (14), the UK (11) and Egypt (9).

In no specific order, here are the finalists:

eVOTZ
www.eVOTZ.com
USA

Mobile devices have become the dashboard for people’s live, and eVOTZ allows their voices to be heard and counted in a whole new way. We believe mobile handsets offer profound social impact to improve eDemocracy with mobile apps for social good. Our eVOTZ platform incorporates SIM card security with location-based services that for the first time bring both TXT voting and mobile Web Smartphone solutions to South Africa and other emerging growth economies for trustworthy voting. Help us in our mission to ensure mobile voting is secure, convenient and trustworthy in South Africa and other emerging economies, worldwide.

IDIFIED
Black Tie Networx
www.btnetworx.com
USA

Could someone use their Nokia phone to avoid a roadside bomb or mine? As amazing as that may sound, it is possible and soon. IDFIED is an application being developed to identify buried explosives in the Developing World and areas of conflict. One benefit will be to quickly provide information to civilians, NGOs and emergency workers to avoid IEDs using GPS and proximity alerts. We think this will change the way people use their mobile phone and that Nokia can be a major contributor to its success.

Mobile Distributor Solution
Virtual City Ltd.
http://www.virtualcity.co.ke 
Kenya

Virtual City Ltd, a home-grown Kenyan company, has developed a solution that aims at addressing systemic issues along the Supply Chain for distributors and retailers of Fast Moving Consumer Goods in emerging markets. The Mobile Distributor Solution is designed to contribute to improved efficiencies and value to all the stakeholders in the value chain and result in increased number of transactions, accurate records, improved Inventory management & reporting from the field and effective management decision making. The solution will also bring value to a large number of beneficiaries comprising of thousands of small and micro enterprises in the FMCG Market.

FloCash Payment Network
Flocash Ltd 
www.flocash.com 
UK

FloCash is a mobile payment service that extends the bank to the unbanked in the form of a virtual bank based on the unique MoCharge mobile terminal. FloCash provides the unbanked masses of Africa the ability to make remittances, make bill payments and pay for product and services across a network of agents. The FloCash service is not a closed loop service. Its payment intermediary can be a Micro Finance Institution, a telco or a bank. Through provisioning of the FloCash smart card, anyone can sign up for the FloCash service, even those who do not own a mobile phone.

Mobile JobHunt
Shenzhen LEG 
www.leg3s.com
China 

“Mobile JobHunt”, targeting 300 million urban blue-collar workers and rural migrant workers in China, an under-served sector for a long time. It’s a set of employment information applications and services based on “Mobile Internet” and “Cloud Computing”. It covers recruitment, rights and interests, and training. Since late 2008, we have partnered with 200 phone makers and accumulated 15 million installation units, nearly 10 million active users and 1 million corporate customers. Revenue exceeded US$10M in FY2010 (ending June), with US$5M profit. With proprietary IP, “Mobile JobHunt” has no known direct competitors. We intend to go public in 1-2 years.

mmatcher – your mobile, your marketplace
mmatcher (R3 d.o.o.)
www.mmatcher.com
Slovenia

Mmatcher is a personalized mobile marketplace, which automatically in real time matches complementary interests. For example, mmatcher will match a cabbage seller with all potential buyers that are interested in his product. India is full of online marketplaces, but problem comes with accessibility to computers. Mmatcher resolves the problem and provides a solution to 640 million mobile users. We believe that mmatcher could be the missing element between Nokia life tools and Nokia money by providing buying and selling opportunity over the phone. Our vision is to reach 2.5 billion users in India, Pakistan, China and Indonesia in 3 years.

Bionic Power – The Portable Power Solution
Bionic Power Inc. 
http://www.bionic-power.com/ 
Canada

Wireless communication is not truly wireless as users are tethered to power grids to charge their mobile phone batteries. This is a particular problem for 1.6 billion people in developing countries without access to electricity. By generating electricity from everyday movements of individuals, the Bionic Energy Harvester provides a cost-effective and reliable solution to this power problem. Bionic Power’s technology is powerful, producing about half an hour of talk time from one minute of walking. Among other applications, it can be used to power things such as headlamps for harvesting crops at night, LED lights in homes, and laptop computers.

m-Employment platform using SMS
Cogilent Solutions 
www.BrightSpyre.com 
Pakistan

Low-income people without reliable access to Internet and technology do not enter into the job search through the modern tools. The solution is to bring complete functionality of a job portal on mobile by using SMS service. This m-Employment platform will connect more than 1 billion opportunity seekers (skilled, semi skilled workforce) in the South Asian and African countries with the opportunity providers (jobs, work). Short profiles built using SMS will connect opportunity seekers with all the opportunities advertised in their context. The opportunity providers will post work job opportunities and will be able to search and connect with the workforce matching their requirements. The platform will support local regional languages with strong spam and abuse control system.

Transclick for Globalization of m-commerce
Transclick 
www.transclick.com 
USA

Transclick is the leader in mobile digital translation of SMS, email and IM as well as Internet Browsing text translation at 400 words per sec. using customized microglossaries for higher accuracy than free online translation. Transclick’s API allows m-commerce and m-banking vendors to add Transclick into mobile commerce to enable those who make less than $5 per day to access English speaking buyers and communicate post-sale. The seller in Africa can create advertising of a product, translate and publish it automatically, using Transclick’s SMS translator and the price includes 10 cents per transaction paid by the m-banking vendor to Transclick.

Remote Diagnostics Kit
Vyas Labs
http://medical.vyaslabs.in
India

Vyas Labs Remote Diagnostics Kit (RDK) is a user-friendly remote medical diagnostic device that can work with mobile phones to allow medical specialists to attend to patients sitting thousands of miles away. It provided real-time ECG, non invasive blood pressure measurement, pulse oximetry monitoring, electronic stethoscope, body fat index, height, weight and pan-tilt camera, with total control with the remote doctor. The doctor can point to a specific location on the mobile screen and the nurse using the device sees the location and places instruments there.

The Award

Though we’ve voted today on the finalist, the winner won’t be announced until tomorrow at Nokia World. Someone is walking away with $1m to fund their project!

1 Comment

  1. I know the winner…..am so thrilled for him…bigups VC.

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