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Smart farming startup, SmartFarm has been announced as the winner of this year’s IBM SmartCamp Africa as part of the company’s Global Entrepreneurship program. The competition which was held in conjunction with the Tech4Africa conference and Angel investment network AngelHub.
Every year IBM puts together SmartCamp sessions that showcase some of the world’s most promising startups and the companies have to be less than five years old.
“IBM SmartCamps judge the best startup companies in different cities around the globe, rewarding the winners with mentoring, services, access to industry experts and deeper partnership opportunities from IBM, venture capital firms and industry partners, says Paul Brunet, Vice President of ISVs, Startups and Academic Programmes for IBM.
For IBM, the aim of SmartCamp is to spark innovation.
“IBM SmartCamp Africa 2013 has six startup companies, selected from all over Africa. These companies will present their innovative solutions and businesses that align with IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy,” says Brunet.
My SmartFarm claims to be in the process of developing the “first ever” consolidation of high-tech agricultural services. Essentially it is a system that collates and collects all the data that a farmer needs.
“A one stop shop for all the farmer’s needs,” says the company founder, Wolfgang von Loeper.
The cloud-based solution will mine agricultural data like weather so the farmer doesn’t have to. Its business model is to charge the farmers for the service.
The competition began with twenty three entries which was narrowed to six finalists who pitched on day one of Tech4Africa, the finalist was then cut down to three: SMAPP, Weza Tele and SmartFarm.
According to IBM the key thing for the winning startup here is the network they will exposed and the mentorship that they will receive post-competition. MySmartFarm will receive support from IBM and be connected to a network of people that will help the company grow.
SmartFarm will go on to represent Africa at the SmartCamp finals in Istanbul, Turkey. The team also gets to attend Knife Capital and AngelHub run two-day startup investment course — Find-Make-Grow-Realise.
It can be argued that this year’s competition wasn’t as tough from a pitching point of view as the quality of pitches were not of the standard that IBM had last year. However the companies that made the final six had some good ideas and good business models.