Here are the winners of the 2019 SA Innovation Summit

Featured image, left to right: Asilimia CEO Tekwane Mwendwa with Synergy Capital managing partner Akintoye Akindele  (SA Innovation Summit)

Curious about who won top honours at this year’s SA Innovation Summit?

The SA Innovation Summit said in a statement yesterday (17 September) that 78 startups from around the world competed for a share of prizes valued at R20-million across five competitions that were held in Cape Town last week.

If you missed out on the action, here are the winners of The Africa Cup, Andza Entrepreneur Competition, Winetech Pitching Den, Seda Pitch & Perfect and the TIA Inventors Garage.

The SA Innovation Summit said 78 startups competed for a share of prizes valued at R20-million

The Africa Cup

The Africa Cup, which the summit held in partnership with the Unicorn Group, was open to innovative ideas, startups and early-stage companies in tech and tech-enabled sectors.

Finalists in the Africa Cup pitched their businesses in front of a panel of judges last Friday (13 September).

The winner Kenyan fintech Asilimia, took home an offer from the Unicorn Group to invest R5-million, as well as three weeks acceleration in a choice of one of three locations between Silicon Valley, Lagos or Budapest.

The startup has developed a peer-to-peer platform which zero rates mobile money transactions and enables Kenyans to make M-Pesa transactions for free.

French agritech startup Vegetal Signal came in second and was awarded a R2.5-million investment offer and two weeks acceleration in Silicon Valley, Lagos or Budapest.

Based on techniques derived from neuroscience, Vegetal Signal has developed sensors and analysis methods that allow it to continuously monitor the activity of plants and identify their needs in terms of water, fertilisation or phytosanitary treatments.

Cape Town based Origin Dynamic Systems was placed third for its Updraft solution which merges artificial intelligence and legal expertise. The company won a R1-million investment offer and one-week acceleration.

Andza Entrepreneur competition

The Andza Entrepreneur competition, in collaboration with the SA SME Fund, aimed to identify top investment-ready businesses in South Africa and help accelerate their innovative ideas.

The competition was won by LiquidGold Africa, a venture that has developed a toilet that uses nutrient recovery to create fertiliser from urine.

The company was awarded R250 000 in cash.

Winetech Pitching Den

The Winetech Pitching Den sought disruptive, innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions that reduce the wine industry’s impact on the environment.

French company Vegetal Signals came out tops, while another French firm, UV Boosting was placed second.

Cape Town based biotech firm Nemabio was placed third.

Vegetal Signals will get R150 000 and UV Boosting R100 000, respectively for business development in South Africa as well as return flights to South Africa to further develop their product through an association with LaunchLab and the wine industry.

As part of the prize, Nemabio will receive R50 000 for business development. In addition, the French Embassy and Vinitech will provide the startup with return flights to France to attend the 2020 Vinitech Global Trade Show.

Seda Pitch & Perfect

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) Pitch & Perfect Masterclasses and Competition was aimed at helping small businesses with professional tools on how to present business cases effectively and efficiently.

In addition, the initiative also seeks to improve access to market, technology and finance.

Cape Town based Intelligent Safe Technologies took the first prize of technology incentives valued at R300 000.

Intelligent Safe Technologies produces a smart, computer controlled high security dispensing system for high value retail stock (read more about the company here).

The TIA Inventors Garage

The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) Inventors Garage is aimed at innovators and inventors with demos, working prototypes or products that are in the early commercialisation stage.

The enterprises in this competition were evaluated on originality, need for their invention, growth potential, practicality and creativity.

Shuri, an enterprise that detects and monitors water leaks using satellite imagery and deep learning technology, took home the R10 000 cash prize.

Update (19 November 2019): Tech publication Disrupt Africa reported in an article on 19 November that business development firm the Unicorn Group has formalised its investment offer to Asilimia by investing $350 000 in the Kenyan startup.

Read more: SA’s Nemabio takes third place at SA Winetech Pitching Den behind French startups
Read more: Meet the Seda Pitch and Perfect Season 4 finalists that will battle for R300k prize

Featured image, left to right: Asilimia CEO Tekwane Mwendwa with Synergy Capital managing partner Akintoye Akindele  (SA Innovation Summit)



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