DEMO Africa is one of the flagship initiatives of [email protected] and aims to connect African startups to the global ecosystem. The initiative awards innovative African startup entities the chance to make a global impact. The awards aim to enhance the African startup and innovation movement in all fast growing economies. The initiative invests in Media and Entertainment, Energy, Finance and Banking, Water and Sanitation, Agriculture, Health, Education, Manufacturing, Waste Management and Recycling, Retail, Communication, Transport and Logistics. In the past two years, DEMO Africa has managed to raise US$8 million in investment, business and partnership which is available for startups and innovators.
Launched in 2012, Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations ([email protected]) is a partnership mobilizing the knowledge, expertise and resources of leading institutions. This is in a bid to encourage and enhance African innovations and drive entrepreneurship on the continent. Below is a least of the founding partners of [email protected]:
U.S. State Department, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Microsoft, Venture Capital for Africa, Nokia, InfoDEV, African Development Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development, DEMO, Startup Weekend, Appfrica,Business Action for Africa, Business Fights Poverty, and Venture Hive.
5 African startups were crowned at the 2016 DEMO Africa event. The finals were held at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. The five companies that won get a 2-week tour of Silicon Valley. The tour is meant to expose the companies and set them up for investment and mentosrship opportunities.
Here are the 5 companies that won:
Through the use of Building Integrated Photovoltaics, Strauss energy have managed to sell electricity that is 75% cheaper. How? Solar roofing tiles is the answer. The company has installed solar roofing tiles on 1000 Kenyan houses. The company is set to expand by installing a further 10000 house in 2017.
Another energy company made the cut. Solstice Home Energy Solutions have developed an domestic energy management system. Via a mobile application homeowners can track energy usage, set budgets, and get energy saving tips in real time.
This e-health system is composed of two components namely ConnectMed Prime and ConnectMed Care. ConnectMed Prime is a platform where patients seek treatment from General Practitioners through a mobile app. The platform targets upper income South African with good internet access. The latter allows treatment through Clinic partners.
By bundling up popular content providers like DSTV, ShowMax, Netflix and Supersport, MediaBox provides massive convenience. The Mediaox and an internet access of at least 2Mbps and one gets home entertainment on either an old or new TV alike. Standard and High Definition streaming is catered for. The MediaBox eliminates the need for tuner or satellite dish.
Another South African company. This product suite aims at helping people escalate conversations into action right from the source. The system integrates seamlessly with email, IM, Skype and Slack. The vision is to create an all-in-one Communication & Teamwork Platform. The application target small to medium enterprise businesses.
A few thoughts
The 5 businesses are evidently potential powerhouses. All the ventures are extremely innovative and enterprising. It will be interesting to note whether the organised tour of Silicon Valley will reap benefits for any of the businesses. Many potential packed African tech startups have crashed and burned in the past. We will watch these 5 businesses and see how they progress. Meanwhile we hope and wish them all the best!