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Celebrating Startup Success at Facebook Accelerator London

Vicky-Marie Gibbons
March 20, 2020

Facebook Accelerator London fuels the growth of technology startups by providing unique access to Facebook expertise, mentorship, training, networking, and more. Launched in 2017 and now in our third year, we expanded the program’s reach to include startups across Africa, the Middle East. And because we are committed to bringing the world closer together, we announced a special call for startups focused on improving internet connectivity.

Eleven talented startups, spanning ten countries, were selected to participate this year. Of these startups, eight are building solutions to digital connectivity barriers, while the remaining three are working across education, the gig economy, and tools to help social impact organisations to thrive.

Since November, Facebook Accelerator London has been supporting these startups in the following ways:

  • Co-working space and training: the startups had the opportunity to move into our office, receive access to our facilities and work alongside our employees. A number of boot camps were run across areas such as product management, marketing, data science and engineering.
  • Mentorship from experts: startups were paired with Facebook mentors who could help them reach specific business goals. Working side-by-side with Facebook employees in problem-solving sessions, they received direct expertise in the areas they needed the most help with.
    • Lesan, a startup building instant language translation services for underserved languages, was paired with Facebook AI researchers in Facebook’s headquarters who specialize in language translation. Together they are working on new alignment techniques and back-translation methods to improve the reliability and accuracy of their machine learning models.
  • Peer to Peer support: The Facebook accelerator program allowed these startups to share and compare their business experiences, expand their networks, and develop meaningful partnerships within Facebook and with each other.

Connecting The Next Billion

This cohort had a special call for startups in Europe, Middle East and Africa working to improve internet connectivity. The eight startups that took part are addressing a range of different challenges. Kojo Boakye - Director Africa Public Policy, Facebook - introduced these startups at the Accelerator showcase event in London and emphasized just why their work is so important: "with 3.8B people unconnected, the challenges are broad. From affordability to relevance we need startups that are committed to building a better more accessible internet for everyone. It was fantastic to see such an energised group all working towards tackling these important issues"

  • Tizeti is an Internet service provider startup providing customers with cheaper internet access by leveraging a combination of low-cost wireless capacity and low-cost solar panels to create a network of owned operated towers
  • GAIUS Networks is a social media application providing access to the consumption and production of hyper-localised content in frontier markets
  • Lesan builds instant translation tools for low-resource languages so more communities can access the content on the web
  • Funzi is an Ed tech mobile app that delivers high quality content to learners, optimised for markets with minimal access to data
  • Newpath enable customers in emerging markets to buy smartphones and Internet capable phones on instalment payments
  • Converged Technology Networks is an Internet service provider based in Malawi focused on providing public wifi hotspot infrastructure and unbundled data plans to their local market
  • Brastorne Enterprises provide low cost mobile services such as messaging and internet in rural areas through USSD, IVL and SMS technology
  • Augnet is on a mission to bring trust, compliance, transparency and safety to the SMS and messaging space

Other Startups that took part in the accelerator:

  • Turn is a communication platform for social impact organisations to help improve lives at scale
  • Collective Benefits provide insurance and employee benefits for the gig economy worker
  • Knowledge Officer is developing personalised learning solutions for those who want to assess their skill gaps and get employment

Interested In Learning More?

Sign up to get updates on Facebook Accelerators in your region. We’ll notify you when the programs you’re interested in begin accepting applications. You can also learn more about Facebook’s accelerator programs in your country at https://developers.facebook.com/startups/


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