Six SA start-ups picked for AfricArena VivaTech 2019

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2018 AricArena Vivatech finalists.
2018 AricArena Vivatech finalists.

Cape Town-based tech accelerator AfricArena has selected six local start-ups to showcase their business models at the fourth edition of the VivaTech conference in France.

The South African start-ups are among 10 from Africa that emerged as the top high-growth and high-potential start-ups in the Open Innovation Challenge of the AfricArena 2018 Tour.

AfricArena scours the continent for the best innovative start-ups. As part of its partnership with VivaTech, a rendezvous for start-ups and business leaders, AfricArena will lead a delegation of firms that will showcase at the VivaTech 2019 conference in Paris from 16 to 18 May.

The six SA finalists are agricultural platform, Aerobotics; OMNI software solutions provider, DataProphet; fintech start-up, FinChatBot; safety tech solution, Guardian Gabriel; Internet of things start-up, HomeFarm; and virtual reality solutions provider, SeaMonster.

Participating start-ups will attend the VivaTech conference and accompany AfricArena to New York as part of an investor roadshow prior to the conference.

"Cape Town has been named Africa's leading technology hub, and so it is our honour to see Cape Town-based start-ups having such an impact on the tech ecosystem," says alderman James Vos, City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management.

"We are incredibly proud of the local start-ups selected to be part of the AfricArena 2019 delegation and look forward to accompanying them to VivaTech in Paris this year to represent SA. As an opportunity city, we look forward to continue enabling the tech sector and seeing more success stories related to smart cities and economic improvement."

AfricArena teams up with corporate and institutional partners under the banner of utilising business and technology as a force for good in uplifting the African continent. Its partners helped handpick the delegation and key representatives will accompany the team to VivaTech.

"We are honoured to be chosen as one of the 10 start-ups to attend VivaTech," says Frans Cronje, CEO of DataProphet.

"AfricaArena is leading the way and opening doors for innovative technology vendors born in Africa. The African market is often overlooked when it comes to foreign investment, yet the expertise and innovation is more advanced than some of the biggest tech vendors in the world. We're excited about the opportunity to showcase our proven artificial intelligence solutions in manufacturing to investors at the event and meeting other technology pioneers."

The start-ups will participate in a pitch battle, which will see the winner presented with an award endorsed by the President Macron Council for Africa.

The 10 start-ups selected to form the AfricArena 2019 delegation are:

Aerobotics (Cape Town): Aerobotics uses aerial imagery from drones and satellites and machine learning algorithms for early problem detection on tree and wine farms to optimise crop performance for farmers.

DataProphet (Cape Town): DataProphet's OMNI provides solutions to critical manufacturing challenges. It is AI-enabled dynamic parameter optimisation for manufacturing.

FinChatBot (Johannesburg): FinChatBot develops AI-powered chatbots that help financial services providers acquire and retain customers while reducing operational costs.

Guardian Gabriel (Cape Town): Guardian Gabriel is an early stage venture incubated at French South African Tech Labs specialising in safety tech, providing a wearable panic button that works with no connection to a smartphone.

HomeFarm (Johannesburg): HomeFarm is a smart IOT, crop-growing app that allows users to effortlessly grow a variety of micro-greens from the comfort of their home all year round.

MedBit (Nairobi): Medbit provides a means to search for, book and pay for various healthcare services on a smartphone or computer.

OniriQ (Dakar): OniriQ designs and manufactures the next-gen solar home systems for African populations living off-grid (600 million people).

PayDunya (Dakar): PayDunya is a global online payment service for Africans that allows customers to send and receive payments from mobile money wallets, credit cards and cash, and allows users to get paid and sell online without the need of a Web site.

SeaMonster (Cape Town):SeaMonster creates custom virtual reality games that entertain passengers and allow them to compete for rewards.

TravelBudds (Mauritius): TravelBudds is the social network for young, connected travel lovers looking for the best ways to travel the world and share experiences with their friends.

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