Here are the five companies selected as SA’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups


The Heavy Chef Foundation last night announced the names of SA’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups at an awards ceremony at Workshop 17, as part of Cape Town Startup Week 2019.

It follows the announcement last week by the foundation, which is the research and fundraising arm of entrepreneurship learning platform Heavy Chef, of the 12 finalists shortlisted names, drawn from over 600 nominations (see this story).

To be considered, entrants had to have firms that had operated for less than five years, have their own intellectual property (IP) and have the potential to scale.

Explained Heavy Chef Foundation chairman Louis Janse van Rensburg: “‘Most exciting’ allows for a certain subjectivity on the part of the judges, as opposed to ‘best’ which would require full financial analysis and performance.

SA’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups were announced at Workshop 17, as part of Cape Town Startup Week 2019

“We don’t take into account revenue targets and pitch decks, market size or investment. From past results, we’ve seen that the winners generally are the ones who have generated the most amount of buzz and excitement in investment circles — and the nominees that make it to the Top 5 are generally the ones that are telling the best story.

“This award is meant to be cast a celebratory light on the sector as a whole, as well as give an insight into the breadth, depth and ‘good news stories’ of what’s happening out there,” he said.

Without further ado, the five are and their respective founders are:

  • 3X4 Genetics (Dr Yael Joffe and Jason Haddock): A genetics-based foundational health company founded last year that combines advanced genetic testing, nutrigenomic education and a global network of accredited practitioners to help people listen to their bodies and make sound, daily choices to live longer, healthier and better lives.
  • DigsConnect (Alexandra Procter, Greg Keal and Brendan Ardagh): Student accommodation marketplace
  • Lula (Velani Mboweni and Xabiso Nodada): Crowd sources private shuttles, offering scheduled door-to-door rides that take commuters from home to work and back.
  • MamaMoney (Raphael Grojnowski and Mathieu Coquillon): A money-transfer service that provides a modern, safe and low-cost way for migrants to make international payments.
  • MyFanPark (Joy des Fountain, Dylan des Fountain, Wouter Lombard and Jean de Villiers): A platform that enables users to get a personalised video from their favourite celebrities.

The seven other startups that were nominated were: Dorp, FinChatBot, Franc, Offerzen, Pineapple, Trusted Interns and Quicket.

The seven judges that assessed the entries were: Fraser Consulting’s Alexandra Fraser, Knife Capital’s Keet van Zyl, Future Females’ Lauren Dallas, Glengarry Capital’s Louis Janse van Rensburg (pictured above), TMF Youth Hub’s Lukhanyo Neer, Workshop 17’s Paul Keursten and Startup Grind’s Sandras Phiri.

Featured image: Quicket South Africa via Facebook



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