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International tech conference AfricaArena is back for a second edition which is set to be held between 15 and 16 November at Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town.
AfricArena founder Christophe Viarnaud made the announcement today in Cape Town at a press conference held in partnership with Wesgro and Silicon Cape.
Viarnaud (pictured above, far right) said he expects at least 1000 international investors to attend this year’s event. Last year’s inaugural event was attended by over 450 attendees including over 100 investors and more than 80 startups representing over 25 countries.
He added that last year’s budget of R3-million has been doubled — with 80% of this year’s budget drawn from overseas sponsors.
The conference aims to showcase Africa’s best startups and innovators in front of an audience of local and international investors.
In the run up to AfricArena 2018, organisers have planned an African tour that will cover six African cities.
This year, the conference will hold an AfricArena tour to select the best African startups to pitch at the conference.
The AfricArena team will hold pitch events around specific sponsored tour challenges in Mauritius next Wednesday (2 May), Reunion Island next Thursday (3 May), Nairobi (13 June), Casablanca (4 July), Lagos (18 July) and, Dakar (19 September).
The tour will see one challenge winner per city win an all-expenses-paid invitation to attend the conference.
In addition, winners from the conference’s inaugural edition (from last year) will also participate in a world tour where they will get to meet investors.
“This year AfricArena will be expanding its pan-African footprint to find the best startups of the continent. We will also be taking some of the winners of the AfricArena 2017 challenges on an investor roadshow in Paris and New York,” said Viarnaud.
He added that the 2017 winners will also attend one of Europe’s largest startup conferences, VivaTech.
Like last year, this year’s edition will feature six challenge verticals, namely: smarty city, smart agri, smart commerce, smart skills, smart media and smart travel. Three finalists will be selected per challenge to pitch at the two-day conference to partner with the challenge sponsors.
Also speaking at the press conference was entrepreneur Xabiso Lombo, the winner of one of the AfricArena 2017’s challenges — a challenge run by French South African Labs. Lombo (pictured above, fifth from right) is the founder of Guardian Gabriel – a wearable panic button.
Winning the challenge helped her wearable’s startup connect with hardware manufacturers and software developers.
Said Lombo: “The amount of connections that we have been able to build, the amount of help we have received in our business has been amazing.
“If we didn’t have the incubation support, I don’t think we would have this much progress in the seven months that we have been running Guardian Gabriel.”