Industry Innovation Lab

The Industry Innovation Lab (IIL) is a technology-focused startup hub at Carnegie Mellon University Africa. The IIL supports startups that are developing and commercializing technology-enabled products that address well-defined market opportunities with potential for profitability, inclusivity, and scaling.

Get involved and learn more
  • Contact us to get involved in the IIL. We welcome partnerships with organizations, corporations, and startups. You do not need to have a Carnegie Mellon affiliation.
The IIL runs a 12-month business incubation program exclusively focused on helping CMU-Africa students and alumni founders succeed with their entrepreneurial ventures. Startups entering the business incubation program have a proof-of-concept prototype for their product and a preliminary market assessment. The goal is for startups to leave the program with a revenue-generating product that is positioned to successfully compete for the additional investment they will need to scale. The IIL also manages a tech skills marketplace to provide world-class tech talent to African startups. This program helps startups hire CMU-Africa students as interns for May through August. Interns may work in person or virtually. CMU-Africa provides co-funding with the start-up to support the intern.

Calls for applications

The IIL currently has three open calls for applications:

Second Life Storage at Hanga PitchFest

Source: Flickr, H.E. President Paul Kagame

Second Life Storage, a CMU-Africa alumni startup hosted by the Industry Innovation Lab, won second place at the 2021 Hanga PitchFest. The win came with a $20,000 prize.

Current projects supported by the IIL

Inter Connect Point: Agri-tech and agri-industry process automation company with a focus on delivering innovative solutions leveraging the Industrial Internet of Things n Africa. They have developed a tea “eNose” and analytics platform, which supplements current tea processing procedures using low power sensor devices and a data analytics engine to determine optimum levels of tea processing to:

  • Increase tea quality and consistency
  • Increase incomes and regularity of payments to processors and farmers
  • Improve tea factory design

Watch their pitch video

Hepta Analytics: Their solution Keza, is an electronic platform that facilitates catalogue management and customer journey management via a virtual artificial intelligence system and 360-degree analytics for subject matter experts in Africa without them needing to learn about technology or underlying frameworks. This includes both subject matter experts in urban and rural areas. Subject matter experts only need to plug and play enabling their visibility and connection to the rest of the African continent through our network of trusted partners such as logistic companies and addressing companies in Africa.

Second Life Storage: Second Life Storage is a purpose-driven company tackling the challenge of e-waste with the goal of building customized energy storage systems from used lithium-ion batteries to provide secondary energy to homes and businesses that do not receive the reliability they need from their grid connection.

By extending the lifespan of the battery cells through repurposed battery packs, Second Life Storage offers clean, reliable, and affordable energy. The company hopes to apply data science and logistical system design to not only produce energy storage at low cost but also address maintenance and supply chain anxieties of customers through a service model. 

Aurora Tech: Aurora aims to transform and disrupt logistics in Africa by providing a platform with state-of-the-art technology powered by AI and machine learning. Aurora connects shippers (importers and exporters) and carriers (truckers and freight-forwarders) with an open market model that allows the shippers to request bids, have alternative routes or carriers (vetted), facilitate payment, and most importantly ability to track the status of the shipment at the comfort of their smartphones. Carriers also have similar opportunities to bid for shipment, tracking, locating and fuel monitoring, ability to easily manage and pick up loads, guarantee payments, and facilitate operations.

Explore more about the IIL

The IIL is located at CMU-Africa in Kigali Innovation City. Learn more about our location.