Over the last few months I’ve had the privilege to work with the greatest minds in technology in South Africa at Mxit. Seeing how Mxit, Africa’s largest mobile social network, are being used for social change has always fascinated me hence for the work I’ve been doing at RLabs.
It is seeing millions of people accessing social good services via Mxit that got me thinking of Three lessons that I’ve learned in developing a social good Application:
1) Context of your market and Relevancy of the technology you intend using. If you are developing any application in making a difference in someone’s life then you should know how and where they live, the challenges and circumstances as well as what technologies they use to communicate and access information (if any). Due to the popularity of Mxit in South Africa when we launched applications where we intend reaching large audiences, Mxit has always been one of the first platforms we would develop for as it also offers FREE developer tools.
2) Do not underestimate your target audience. I’ve realized early on my journey that most people would find a way of accessing information or applications if they know it will add value to their lives.
3) Launch early and measure. We’ve always used the Minimum Viable Product concepts for getting the applications out as quickly as possible but the most important aspect of having your application out there is the ability to measure your impact.
After an exciting launch last month RLabs is now accepting applications for the Innovation Incubator & Accelerator 2013 cycle. We are looking for 5 social innovators who would like to take their idea to market and change the world doing so. The venue for incubation will be at the RLabs offices in Bridgetown, Cape Town and starts February till October 2013.
If you want to apply, send your idea via our contact page (describe in less than 200 words) by 17 December 2012. We will invite the most promising teams/ideas to present their idea on the 10 January 2013 to our panel where our selection will take place.
We will include in our decision making the amount we will invest which normally up to $20,000 for % equity in your company. The investment is a facility that you will have access to over the 9 months with RLabs.
We provide you with a desk/open space that you can use while in the Incubator. During the 9 month cycle we expect you to attend our weekly workshops and mentorship meetings. We will also invite experts to do special guest talks with all the start-up founders. You are also encouraged to be part of the Silicon Cape Network to leverage the resources and events hosted by this network.
The highlight of the incubation cycle is the RLabs Launch Day (next year to be held on the 10th October 2013) where all the startups are required to demo and showcase what they’ve been working on since inception. After the launch day RLabs continue to give advice and support but the access to the invest facility will end.
What are we looking for in founders are simple. We look for the “Crazy ones” who is innovative, highly motivated and not scared to take the risks (Experience and design flair is always welcomed). The ideas (which we believe will change) should at a minimum fulfill the following 3 criteria:
1) Idea that makes a social impact and leveraging mobile and internet technologies
2) Idea that have some insight into how to sustain the social impact and business
3) Idea that can be scalable and replicable
The ideal company would have 2/3 team members but we will consider one-person ideas. If you have what it takes message us here and tell us why you believe you should be in the RLabs Innovation Incubator.
RLabs have partnered with Bertha Foundation to launch an impact investment fund (Kukua Fund)to discover and invest in Africa’s high potential internet and mobile start-ups driving social change. The fund will provide micro investments to startups of up to US$25,000, human capital and mentorship, access to networks as well as business development. According to Marlon Parker, “We believe that Africa is alive with possibilities and that it’s filled with hidden “gems” of innovation that needs to be discovered. The Kukua Fund is therefore that impact investment vehicle uncovering the best Africa has on offer.”
What the Kukua Fund is really looking for is a crazy idea, strong team who is passionate about leveraging the power of mobile and internet technologies for social change. The Kukua Fund is an Africa-wide fund and welcomes applications from across the continent. For more information visit Kukua Fund and applications are now open for those seeking investments.
Presented a short presentation at an ICT incubator networking event in Port Elizabeth, South Africa talking about startups and lessons we can learn from Bruce Lee. Below is the presentation and the talk was inspired by another legend Sheraan Amod’s post “When Effectiveness trumps Efficiency”.