Report from the field and the lab: Challenges and opportunities developing AKE ventures (Part II)

Things are wrapping up at the GESCI hub in Nairobi with the start-ups preparing for the last pitching event on the 28th and the Policy Forum on the 29th which will officially close the GESCI-AKE program.

The first pitching was used as a baseline survey of how well the Start-ups were prepared for fundraising. The judges of the pitching session where: Lydia Ndiho (Camscorp), Mitoko Dennis (14West film Production Company), Geoffrey Otieno (ADMI training institute), Duncan Onyango (AKE consulting Games tutor) , Tom Manda (AKE consulting Animation tutor), Victor Omondi (AKE’s Manger) and Jerome Morrisey (GESCI director)

Based on the emerging gaps identified on that event, the start-ups have been doing work around 3 themes:

  • Developing a viable business plan: Start-ups needed a more solid understanding of their market and emerging user needs.
  • Selling ideas in a clear way: Everybody was told to work and develop more effective presentation skills and to polish the resources they where using (e.g power points).
  • Pitching effectively: The Start ups elevator pitches were not yet up to standards and needed more work.

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While working on that we will share here some of the probes sent by the start ups this week. Thanks to all!

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Kiwo Films working at the GESCI-AKE hub

For Kevin and Ian from Kiwo Films the most challenging thing they are facing right now is “lack of equipment to get work done”  But they are confident they are “a team of reliable and dedicated individuals with a common interest“, which is a good and promising direction for the future.

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 Screenshots of some of IocincCode current prototypes, and an image of the team debugging together in front of the screen.

Mista from IonicCode reports that they have been conducting a bit of  research for their projects  “with the help of  our tutor Duncan who bought some cool kids text books where we got inspiration for various concepts. At the moment we are working on tap math game, a painting game, a pattern game and picture maker all in both languages Kiswahili and English. Right now we have to take them for testing to primary schools. As soon as the schools reopen we will be able to get enough feedback from teachers and from the school kids on how to improve them further”. The games are still in development phase and the team is constantly improving on them.

The IonicCode team feels that their biggest challenges are now. 1) getting good illustrations artists to add the African feel to their educational games. 2) recording the sounds needed for the games, as finding the right people to do that had been time consuming. 3) Of course the issue of bugs in some of the games. Coding is always tricky, but they are confident: “we were able to achieve the logic of the game, they  can be played in our devices!”

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VerbHouse’s value proposition, team and details from their current portfolio

 

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Snapshots of Makossiri’s web presence

 

 

 

 

 

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Report from the field and the lab: Challenges and opportunities developing AKE ventures

The last phase of AKE program is in full swing and participants are busy building their own ventures (start-ups), fine tuning their offerings and value propositions.

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AKE Pitching session in 8.3.2017

Yesterday they pitch their ideas to an invited panel that gave them feedback. All these activities are helping AKE developed the curriculum and objectives for this last phase.

Today we want to share some of the props we have been receiving from AKE start ups:

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Images of Boisch jewels and cards prototypes.

Nancy and Olipha comment: “it is challenging making them, however the biggest challenge so far for us is building our customer base” (Boisch team).

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Images of Artari team member visiting children to gather feedback for their prototypes and screenshots of Artari’s current projects.

Maurice comments: “we (Artari Kreations) discovered the necessity for digitizing our curriculum and i decided to engage kindergarten kids to collect suggestions on what they could require to interact with and learn from, when it comes to digital learning.” (Artari Kreations Team)

Kahama comments: [Referring to the comments they leave to each other in the code]: “commenting is good when done well, it makes work easy for every body in the team”  (Artari Kreations Team)

Also GESCI’s team in charge of AKE has been reflecting on the opportunities and challenges of the program itself. Victos. AKE’s manager also shares some insights:

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Working together with the start ups in the AKE lab

Victor when talking about the most challenging thing so far: “I still manage to have fun with all the work… but would have done with an assistant” and when prompted to point out at the most inspiring “when the start up groups are working on projects in a team”.

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AKE participants from IonicCode working on their start-up projects

Thanks !!

What are we learning ?- In two images

The whole AKE team wants to learn more about the things that you are working on and how you are preparing to develop your ventures. To get a peak into what is happening in Nairobi we are asking you to send us a probe of how is life over there for each start-up, in the form of pictures.

THE TASKS for each start up:

1) Take a picture (or draw and take a pic of the drawing) of anything that represents an interesting insight, an inspiring observation or something you have learn as a team working on your venture.  Write a few sentences of how that image represents what you learned.

2) Take a picture (or draw and take a pic of the drawing) of anything that represents a challenge you have identified for your venture.  Write a few sentences of how that image illustrates the challenge.

Remember we are not searching for pretty pictures nor we want to evaluate you as photographers. We will be happy to have a glimpse of the kinds of things that are important right now in a very concrete way. Remeber that learning takes place not only around the things you do at AKE, so feel free to point out also unexpected observations from the everyday life challenges and opportunities of your ventures

Send your snapshots to Andrea (via email) before next Tuesday 28th of February. We will share them back in the blog next week.

For inspiration check what we did almost 9 months ago
https://gesciakemediaventure.net/2016/05/19/what-we-have-learned-lately-in-images/

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Value Proposition Statements for AKE startups

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Dear AKE participants, lets collect your start up value propositions:

What ?
Value proposition statements(*) are short texts (1-2 paragraphs) that are used in branding and marketing to hone one’s brand identity.

Your start up name:

Members of the start-up:

Proposition:
For (target customer – who are you targeting?)
who (statement of need or opportunity of your target customer)
the (product or company name)
is a (product or company category)
that (statement of key benefit / compelling reason to buy).
Unlike (primary “competitive” alternative),
Our product (statement of primary differentiation – what makes you special).

… And WHY you are doing what you are doing, your passion, from your personal perspective!

Please answer these simple questions as a startup (do not send answers separately but coordinate and send one per start-up) and send your response to Victor, Andrea & Minna by Friday 10 February. You may want to do this ASAP to help you prepare for the pitching event.

Remember:
When creating a brand, you are always “looking outward”, that is, thinking about what you can do for your customer, how your clients would see you.

You final text (that you can post on your own marketing platforms) does not need to be this formulaic – but start with answering those questions above and send your answer to us. After that, you can hone the text to your liking.

For example, this is the Value Proposition for Apple MacBookLight:

MacBookLight. Years ahead. Our goal with MacBook was to do the impossible: engineer a full‑size experience into the lightest and most compact Mac notebook ever. That meant reimagining every element to make it not only lighter and thinner but also better. The result is more than just a new notebook. It’s the future of the notebook. And now, with sixth‑generation Intel processors, improved graphics performance, faster flash storage, and up to 10 hours of battery life,* MacBook is even more capable.

More information:

http://courses.cs.washington.edu/courses/cse403/06sp/lectures/ProductPitches.pdf

https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/10-value-propositions-you-wish-you-had

https://sumome.com/stories/value-proposition-examples

* Geoff Moore popularized this concept in his book Crossing the Chasm.

Startup incubation starts! Pitching on the 8th of February

AKE start ups will now enter the incubation phase where they will work on their offerings, business model and partnerships. Victor, AKE manager reports from the hub that out of the 7 creative ventures that completed the second phase of the program, at least 5 will continue! We are looking forward to learn more about their work, ambitions, plans and learning journey.

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AKE Participants rehearsing their pitches at the December showcase

Dear AKE startups remember this checklist, you need all these to start the last phase of the program :

  • Business registration certificate
  • Business KRA pin
  • Bank account details
  • Business model

To define the content and training needs of the next phase, AKE is arranging a pitching session on 8th of February. In the pitching sessions all startups will pitch their business plan and offerings to experienced mentors. Based on that experience they will together formulate their next learning objectives and needs.

Pitching event will be based on the following materials from each start up:

A Business portfolio (PDF version)
A Workplan for 2017
A presentation of their Mentor(s)
A Portfolio with sample of projects and prototypes (On a web page; CD/DVD)

To hep the start ups prepare for the pitching, Victor suggests a tour through materials on  Business Model Canvas and the Business Model Basics intro available from Strategyzer. And get inspiration from the work  colleagues in Kenya and abroad are already doing:
Leti Games: http://africaslegends.letiarts.com/
Whiteshore: https://vimeo.com/95594842 or http://whiteshorestudios.com/
BlankSpace: https://www.facebook.com/blankspacestudio/videos/1113602758724918/
Shadrack Munene: https://www.shadrackmunene.com/projects
Tsunami Studios: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0LaN3Wohuk

Duncan has also shared this interesting resource: https://clarity.fm

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AKE participants rehearsing their pitches at the December showcase

Report from the field: 7 new creative ventures!

As part of AKE program, participants have developed 7 new creative ventures and small start-ups. They are all now in the Kenyan government’s registrar of companies and therefore are all official legal business entities. During the last phase of the program, the AKE lab will work as creative incubator and help them develop their business plan and activities.

During the past days I have had the fortune to follow some of their work and learn about their ideas here at the AKE hub in Nairobi. It is interesting to see how much the teams have grown and what breath of ideas they are working with. All the ventures are based on strong team work, except for Makossiri’s who is a solo venture based on her artistic image is any way based on collaboration with other artists. All of them aim to offer professional services that could help grow the creative industry. Some of them like Artari and VerbHouse have already concrete product development projects. Many of them like Kiwo films have done or will be doing commission for big names.

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AKE creative ventures

While there is still work to do to fine tune the business plans and models and develop how they communicate their ideas, this is no doubt  a big step and a very concrete result of AKE work.

Through conversations, some Finnish chocolate and joint brainstorming,  we have draft the following preliminary presentation texts which they will be using in the up coming showcase next week. Let me introduce you to this 7 promising ventures:

Artari Kreations and their SAUTI product

SAUTI, an online voice audition and sound database offering the most complete sound and voice resource in Africa (website and web app). We connect the creative industry with the best samples, by the best talents aiming to be the “Getty Images” for African sound and voices. SAUTI is designed and developed by Artari kreations an African techno-artistic startup company offering a wide range of design and development services.

Kiwo films

Kiwo films produces video, documentaries, commercials as well as music and soundscapes for spaces and environments. We are also well versed in photography and on- location sound recording. We aim to be the best and number one operator and producer of premium Local Cinematography. KIWO films has worked for brands as BBC, UPS Parcel service, Vice Media, Scanad Group, Comic Relief and Media Hub Africa. The company has a multifaceted team talented in creative arts.

Makossiri Enterprises

Makossiri is an emerging African singer and creative entrepreneur. Makossiri Enterprises brings Makossiri’s music, fashion and stories to different channels. We combine creative technology and artistic self-expression to the organization of events and live performances where fashion and music intertwine.

 For doing this Makossiri works with digital artists, musicians and fashion designers to bring you African stories with a global touch.

Pamoja Gamers

Pamoja gamers designs and develops technologies that provide solutions for real problems in the real world with a playful attitude.  Our team has expertise in mobile application, web and game development as well as graphic design. We specialize in solutions for the african educational sector, the business sector and we also provide services for other creatives.

VerbHouse and their Mbulu product

Mbulu is a subscription based online streaming channel for video on demand. Mbulu features African short films, documentaries, music, animation and games that are suitable for streaming on small devices like mobile phones or tablets. We aim to create a market and an audience for African stories that can transcend borders. Mbulu is being designed and developed by Verb House a creative entertainment company offering a wide range of audiovisual services.

Tripletouch

Triple touch is an innovative Kenyan youth led business. We offer public address systems, Disc Jockeying, audio/visual production and event management services. Our mission is to provide lasting solutions to existing societal problems.

Crystal Quad

Our specialty is in creating advertisements and marketing strategies using games and mobile applications, animation and sound design skills.

 

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AKE participant working on her start-up marketing material at the AKE hub

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Creative team work at the AKE lab

 

 

 

 

AKE Showcase on 6.12.16

graduation

The African Knowledge Exchange (AKE) Creative Media Venture program is organizing a Project Showcase and Start-Up launch. The event serves also as the graduation ceremony for the participants

The event  will take place on December 6th 2016, from 10:00am to 4:30pm at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Westlands, Nairobi. We will be doing a live blog of the event, so stay tuned!