Entrepreneurs from all over the continent have been hard at work this past week preparing for the fifth edition of the DEMO Africa boot-camp which took place for the first time in South Africa, Johannesburg on the 25th to the 26th of August. Over 700 entrepreneurs from across 27 African countries applied to be part of this lifetime opportunity, but only 30 were chosen to pitch.
The two-day conference provides a platform for African startups to showcase their innovations, presenting their startup ideas to top international investors, established business owners, industry experts and potential clients. Pitching your startup to a panel of investor judges with years of experiences and an audience, in just 6 minutes, is no walk in the park but the 30 finalists did their utmost best, setting the bar even higher for this year’s conference.
The programme included Fireside Chats from inspirational speakers and high profile industry leader such as MTN CEO, Mteto Nyati; Director in Economic Development Facilitation at the City of Johannesburg, Tsholo Mogotsi and Isayvani Naicker, Chief Director in International Resources at the Department of Science and Technology.
“Our experience has shown us that the DEMO Africa finalists are at different development and maturity levels within their businesses. A lot of them are also technically-minded rather than business-minded, so we refine them to think more about their business and what they are offering to investors,” said Harry Hare, Executive Director of DEMO Africa.
From the 30 finalists, only 5 startups were chosen to go through to the next round at Silicon Valley. They are:
•Connectmed, an online medical practice designed for the African context that offers on-demand doctor consults along with other needed healthcare services to patients of all income groups.
•Sortd, which brings worlds of organization and email together into one interface, right inside Gmail
•Mediabox, an easy way to watch both live and on demand TV over the internet
•Soltice, this startup uses data-driven approaches to help Nigerian homes be more energy efficient and find cleaner, reliable and money-saving solutions
•Strauss, a startup providing a solution to the energy problem currently being experienced by businesses and households by providing renewable and cost-effective energy through BIPV technology, a revolutionary solar-powered roofing tile designed and made in Kenya.
This year’s event is supported by the LIONS@frica Partners, City of Johannesburg, the South African Department of Science and Technology with other partners including Google, The World Bank, and African Technology Foundation.
The event was also broadcast live on Demo Africa TV.