Oh the weather outside is frightful, but it’s not snowing in the south-western tip of Africa. The wind’s howling and four seasons are constantly…
This year’s edition of the AfricArena tech conference, which took place on Monday and Tuesday (11 and 12 November) saw 33 startups compete in 11 pitching challenges.
Up for grabs were rewards offered by the respective sponsors of the challenges, the chance to gain business and technical expertise, business and funding opportunities, as well as prizes valued at over $200 000 from Amazon Web Services.
If you missed the action, here’s the low-down on who won.
AfricArena 2019 saw 33 startups compete in 11 pitching challenges
French Tech Challenge
The challenge was aimed at those startups from the French tech ecosystem operating in the artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) domains.
Participants were also focused on scaling up on the African continent, as well as providing their product and services to the African market.
Uptale took first place for its learning solution and will now get the chance to tap into the AfricArena and French embassy’s networks to connect with key players in the African tech ecosystem.
Viva Technology Challenge
Mtabe, a Tanzanian edtech startup that focuses on using AI and SMS technology to deliver learning content to students without internet access, won the Viva Technology Challenge.
Mtabe was picked for its ability to empower users in the African market by leveraging tech to make education better and more accessible.
The startup will attend VivaTech in Paris in 2020 and where it will have its own exhibition stand.
Hello Tomorrow Challenge
SA biotech startup Erada Technology Alliance won the Hello Tomorrow Challenge.
The deep tech startup competition is aimed at early-stage startups with projects that solve an industrial, societal or environmental unmet need or create a new market.
Fantom Foundation Blockchain Challenge
The Fantom Foundation Blockchain Challenge sought an innovative fintech startup that will solve problems for smart cities, public utilities, healthcare, education, environmental stability and financial markets using smart contracts and stable coins.
Nigerian real estate investment platform House Africa won the challenge and took home $10 000. The startup’s founders will now get to meet the Fantom and ZAR Network teams and their business will undergo incubation, acceleration or internationalisation — depending on what they require.
Old Mutual Startup Challenge
Cape Town based social selling platform Khoyn won the Old Mutual Startup Challenge and will showcase its solution at VivaTech 2020, as well as have the opportunity to work with Old Mutual on developing its brand and offering.
Khoyn was picked for its social selling solution which can help SA’s informal sector get cash into the formal digital financial services system.
Air France Challenge
Egypt’s Alkottab Game Studio won the Air Fance Challenge for its gaming technology which is designed to create user experiences that engage, educate and entertain.
The challenge sought to enrich Air France’s in-flight experience with new entertainment possibilities. As part of the prize, Air France will advise the winner on any business problem they may encounter. Additionally, Alkottab will now be part of the Flying Blue Air Mile crowdfunding programme to help enable their international development.
Vinci Energies Challenge
Moroccan collaborative transit app Weego won the Vinci Energie Challenge.
The challenge sought solutions in the areas of mobility and transport, energy and environment, security and resilience, urban and spatial planning, as well as in open data and data management.
The startup will now attend the VivaTech showcase in Paris next year and receive assistance from Vinci Energies in developing a prototype or the next version of their product.
Sanofi Mental Health Challenge
South African healthtech Syked won the Sanofi Mental Health Challenge for its solution for mental health patients.
The solution entails an online virtual private practice that provides counselling sessions to students in the comfort of their own home over secure video consultation and text support.
Syked will now showcase their product at VIVA Technology 2020 and receive mentorship from Sanofi South Africa on developing their brand and offering.
Sanofi Diabetes Challenge
Baobab Circle won Sanofi’s Diabetes Challenge. The Kenyan firm uses AI and behavioural science to help its users change their habits, reduce the financial burden of managing their conditions and improve their health.
Baobab Circle will now work with Sanofi South Africa on growing their brand and offering. The firm will also attend VivaTech 2020.
Engie Africa Challenge
PayGas, a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) retailer that provides gas for low income clients through a cashless technology won the Engie Africa Challenge, the ultimate aim of which is to develop a clean cooking energy solution.
As the winner, PayGas will receive a €10 000 cash prize from Engie in addition to funding for prototype development.
The firm will also get to test the efficiency and viability of their solution in the relevant environment within Engie’s African business framework over a period of six months.
Based on the results of the testing phase, this may lead to the solution’s integration into the Engie Africa business portfolio and further co-development of the project.
SA SME Fund Challenge
SA student freelancing platform Jobox won the SA SME Fund Challenge.
The challenge was aimed at SA tech-based small businesses that have high potential for scale.
Jobox won over R50 000 in tech equipment and will also showcase its platform VivaTech next year.
Also announced at the event were the top 10 startups handpicked as Best of Ecosystem from each of the major capitals around the continent during the AfricArena Tour.
Over a seven-month period, the AfricArena team embarked on a tour of the 10 leading tech hubs on the continent to find the most promising tech-based startups in these areas.
Among them were Cloud 9 XP from Kenya, FreshBox from Rwanda, Gerocare from Nigeria, African Food from Ivory Coast, Afrikamart from Senegal, Popaddress from Morocco, Echo from Tunisia, Xiot from Egypt, Africa Business Integration from Cape Town and Khula from Johannesburg.
Featured image: AfricArena 2019 winnners ( France in S. Africa via Twitter)