Here's how GSMA startups are using mobile technology to deliver their services

GSMA has released a report [PDF] that dives deep into how the startups in their portfolio are using mobile technology to "offer services with impact." Titled "startups and mobile in emerging markets", the report also gives insights into GSMA's ecosystem accelerator.

According to the report, the GSMA has received over 1650 applications to its accelerator program. Out of these, due diligence has been carried out on 90 and 24 were able to receive funding.

Max Cuvellier - the Head of Mobile for Development, Utilities and Ecosystem Accelerator at GSMA - remarked that the 24 startups have had an impact on millions of people.

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"When it comes to measuring this impact, we are happy to report that the 24 projects we have been financing have collectively had a positive impact for over one million citizens," Max said.

However, he also pointed out that the type of impact that each of these startups is having differs.

"The type of impact varies depending on the start-up, ranging from improved access to financial services in areas previously underserved to better availability of sustainably sourced fruits and vegetables or out-of-classroom educational support."

That is because they are each using what looks to be the same technology for different purposes.

Jamii is "making mobile health insurance affordable for SMEs and low-income

populations in Tanzania." While Cambodia's Joonaak is "helping small merchants navigate logistics challenges and benefit from e-commerce."

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Yet, at the back of all these startups are telecom operators who have over the past decades laid the much-needed foundation and infrastructure. This ranges from the network to programs aimed at supporting such startups as well as partnerships.

In April 2017, Vodacom Tanzania and Jamii entered a revenue-sharing partnership. Additionally, Jamii's services are included in the menu for Vodacom M-Pesa service.

"Jamii is listed on Vodacom’s mobile money (M-Pesa) menu, which Jamii uses to collect premiums and pay out micro insurance claims to hospitals. M-Pesa has played

a significant role in cutting the administration costs of supplying insurance to Jamii’s customers by 95 percent."

The report also pointed out the key mobile operators and startup collaboration in the emerging markets. In Kenya, "Safaricom's investee m-survey raises $3.5 million from TLCom Capital to launch in South Africa."

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While "Uganda’s BreastIT selected for Vodafone F-LANE accelerator" in April this year. Additionally, the SafeBoda App was zero-rated for MTN Uganda internet subscribers in May this year.

The report also explores other areas including mobile technology for SDGs with focus on "how start-ups in emerging markets are using mobile money to tackle the SDGs."

GSMA has been running an accelerator since 2016 and so far has 15 startups from across Africa [PDF]. This includes Ensibuuko and Lipa Mobile from Uganda, Farmcrowdy, and PrepClass from Nigeria as well as Twiga Foods, Kytabu, and Lynk from Kenya.

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