Startups win pitch battles at inaugural AfricArena in Cape Town

Silicon Cape
09 Nov 2017

A number of startups emerged victorious from pitch battles held at the inaugural AfricArena event in Cape Town this week, winning a year-long subscription due diligence service YueDiligence and inclusion in various incubators and accelerators.

Disrupt Africa reported in May Silicon Cape and French Tech partnered to host the AfricArena innovation conference, with the event eventually welcoming over 450 delegates, 100 entrepreneurs, 80 startups, 22 exhibitors, 42 speakers and 67 investors.

It also witnessed more than 40 live startup pitch battles as part of a live battle arena for startups from across Africa to pitch their solutions to 10 open innovation challenges. South African transport tech startup GoMetro won the AirFrance Challenge 1, with Cameroonian fintech startup WeCashUp winning the second AirFrance challenge.

Droppa, a South African on-demand mobile application for house and furniture removals, won the Leroy Merlin Challenge, while South African design firm USFL was the winner of the RCS Challenge. The Schneider Electric Challenge was won by P2P solar-funding marketplace The Sun Exchange, with the City of Cape Town Challenge won by We do Tourism.

South African fintech startup iPay Secure Payments won the Refiners Challenge, earning a place in the next round selection of the process to gain entry into San Francisco-based accelerator the Refiners, with the BIP // NxSE Challenge won by Doctor Smart. There were four winners of the French South African Tech Labs Challenge, namely Good Tree, Stockapp, Guardian Gabriel, and DataPlait.

“We feel great about winning! It’s been very exciting to win at the very first AfricArena conference. Even though the RCS Challenge was definitely challenging, we were able to put out a solution. Competing with two other startups in the space definitely taught us a lot about the recent developments in the fintech field, and although they proved to be excellent competitors we emerged on top, and that’s mostly due to the team we have at USFL,” said founder Yazeed Osman.

“The aim of AfricArena is to bring investment to Africa,” said Ellen Fischat, managing director (MD) of Silicon Cape. “We need to attract more international investment – this is our biggest challenge. Africa will be the next biggest tech startup ecosystem. We need to show the world what we are capable of and what we can do.”

Live-streaming investor platform, EuroQuity, was employed to showcase pitches for investors who could not be present.

Christophe Viarnaud, chief executive officer (CEO) of Methys and lead organiser of AfricArena, said on the first day more than 37 international investors logged onto the platform and commented live on the pitches happening in the battle arena. “Entrepreneurs are passionate and want to change the world,” he said.

“There are limited angel investors in Africa and we need to change the fact that only one per cent of the global seed investment is coming to Africa. We need to give the world confidence in African tech startups and attract international investors and that is what AfricArena aimed to do.”

Article by Tom Jackson.