Eversend, a digital payment gateway leveraging emerging technologies like blockchain to facilitate electronic money transfers, is among the winners of the London School of Economics entrepreneurship competition who were awarded 30,000 Euros (about Shs126 million).
Founded by Stone Atwine, a Ugandan entrepreneur based in Paris, France, the fintech wants to revolutionize financial services in Africa by allowing its users to exchange, manage and send money at the best rates, both off and online.
The competition, run by LSE Generate in partnership with Red Bull, saw sixteen teams made up of LSE students, recent alumni and staff pitch their business ideas to a panel of alumni investors, mentors and startup experts.
According to LSE, the financial award is “towards the development of their (winners’) projects as well as a mentoring package, start-up project management software and access to business events.”
Commenting on the recognition, Emma Smith, the chief operating officer of Eversend, said: “It is an honor and delight to have won the Generate competition.”
She went on: “We are incredibly grateful for the guidance and resources the Generate team have provided. Our team is excited to use Generate’s award and support to roll out our USSD channels, which will make Eversend accessible to offline users.”
Another winner was Unergia, an online platform that enables people to directly invest in rooftop solar projects in urban India.
The project allows rooftop owners to get cheaper electricity and avoid the high capital investment needed for solar panels, while promoting renewable energy in India.
Abhishek Pillai from Unergia said about the win: “It is an exciting feeling to know we are one step closer to making our idea a reality.”
He continued: “The LSE Generate competition came at a critical time in our start up and the funding is like a lifeline. We plan to start our first project in Mumbai, India as early as January.”
The third winner is Urban Experiment, which was pitched by LSE PhD students Dr Do Young Oh and Dr Pablo Navarrete.
Urban Experiment uses experimental design techniques to provide solutions to public bodies and private enterprises making urban development decisions.
Commenting, Dr Do Young Oh (PhD in Regional and Urban Planning, 2018) said, “We were more than happy when we heard that Urban Experiment was one of the winning teams. We feel that the result is an encouragement for us to keep moving on.
“We also very much look forward to receiving mentoring support, which will enable us to further develop the project. Pablo and I began this project in late 2016 while we were doing our PhDs together, and, from 2019, we will focus on integrating our products and launching a completed product.”
Head of LSE Generate, Laura-Jane Silverman, said: “Along with the judges, we were absolutely bowled over by the quality of the pitches and scalability of the projects coming out of this term’s competition. It is a total delight to be working alongside students and alumni whose ideas and passions have the power to really address head-on the problems our global society is currently facing. We remain on the edge of our seats watching and continuing to support these businesses as they deliver real and long-lasting social impact.”