Last year saw the Gartner Symposium host the first talk for the Aspiring Innovators programme, highlighting some noteworthy African startups in the industry.
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First of all, Gartner analyst Jeffrey Mann, who spearheads the programme, expanded on the criteria for selection.
Who makes the cut?
Mann explained that it was a “subjective selection” and that the startups were also picked for their relevance to the Gartner Symposium audience.
“It is really aimed at providing… access to some vendors that we normally wouldn’t be talking about, necessarily. We’re aiming at vendors that are smaller than the ones who would be… normally having a spot on the IT expo floor,” Mann elaborated.
The organiser also said that the programme wasn’t a competition and that they weren’t necessarily looking for the best out there.
Gartner’s Mann outlined the thinking behind the Aspiring Innovators programme
“I was able to more or less pick the companies that I thought were interesting. So it was a very personal type of choice,” he added.
As for a more formal set of criteria, the startups should be based in Africa, have a B2B or “corporate B2C” focus and have a product in production or in beta with two or more users.
From a financial point of view, the company revenue needed to be under R20-million and have fewer than 50 employees.
Startups not eligible for the programme include drone applications, consumer applications, products/apps for specific markets (such as medical and advertising), publishing and mobile payments.
This year’s Aspiring Innovators
Provulo is a “business process management and administration platform,” Tuse (pronounced “2 say”) is a P2P text messaging/voice calling/video calling app that uses mesh networking in a similar manner to FireChat, and Invoke Solutions helps users quickly generate reports and fetch the latest data.
The last two startups are iot.nxt and Prosense Impression. The former helps you to manage all your IoT devices from one platform, while the latter allows you to scan, sign and send documents from your smartphone. Impression’s founder says that the app also captures details such as device information, GPS location, signing style and more when a user signs a document.
There was also one more entry in the form of Kriterion, being a wildcard applicant. Created by students from the University of Johannesburg, their app aims to fight fraudulent government tenders, providing a baseline of what price should be paid for a contract, among other features. The app also takes directors of bidding companies into account, giving them a security rating in the process.