Less than two months after Senegalese logistics start-up Yobante Express was announced as the best emerging entrepreneur at AfricArena’s West African summit, it also won the Best Scale from Africa to Europe award at Viva AfricArena in Paris, France.
Yobante Express co-founder and chief executive Oumar Basse was among the 45 African techpreneurs vying for European investment. This was during Viva AfricArena, a one-day showcase of the continent’s finest start-ups held at Station F, the world’s largest start-up facility located in the 13th arrondissement of Paris.
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Speaking to Ventureburn after his big win, Basse said he was humbled and honoured with the recognition a mere six weeks after also being honoured in Dakar, Senegal.
“Having this recognition of what Yobante Express has demonstrated over ten months as part of our scaling pilot programme in France, Brussels, Italy and Spain validates the amazing work we’re doing as a team.
“It will also help us engage more with European Union partners and investors. This will definitely allow us to efficiently deliver to more places at a lower cost and also faster than any other player.”
Basse added, “I had interesting conversations with investors, key potential partners and amazing folks. [I am] looking forward to moving these conversations forward, and to my meetings over the next few days at VivaTech.”
South Africa shines at Viva AfricArena
Viva AfricArena preceded VivaTech, the biggest start-up and tech event in Europe. On the speaker A-list for VivaTech is a number of the world’s top tech leaders, including Vitalik Buterin from Ethereum, Changpeng Zhao from Binance and Ryan Roslansky from LinkedIn.
Judges at Viva AfricArena also awarded no less than three South African tech start-ups and investors.
Anne Gabathuse won most promising entrepreneur with Sermo, a social network for physicians. Orion Herman’s Liquidgold, which “saves the environment” though recycling and repurposing human urine, won most innovative business model while Janade du Plessis from Launch Africa was the most attractive investor.
Taking to LinkedIn after news that the Pan-African venture capital fund closed its $36.3 million fund this week, Du Plessis, a fund manager, said it was an honour to work with Launch Africa’s 238 ventures with investors “believing in our vision to support African start-ups.”
More than 350 people attended Viva AfricArena in Paris while an additional 1 500 virtual viewers tuned in for the live broadcast. Among the dignitaries were Dr Mame Aby Sèye, who champions women and youth in entrepreneurship on behalf of the Senegalese government.
She said she was happy to see the inclusive and participatory approach with this country’s ambassador to France sharing his enthusiasm for his home country’s techpreneurs, including Yobante Express.
Among the other African start-up founders who pitched at Viva AfricArena were Wandile Khumalo from Syked, a healthtech start-up offering virtual private counselling, and Chris Bruchhausen from Strove, a comprehensive employee wellness solution.
“It’s been incredible showcasing Strove at the Viva AfricArena event alongside some of the best start-ups from the African continent,” said Bruchhausen, founder and chief executive of Strove. “From panel discussions to start-up pitches and investor meetings – we’re feeling inspired about the future of African tech.”