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SA tech start-ups top Startupbootcamp accelerator programme

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Three out of the top 11 tech start-ups picked to participate in a three-month accelerator programme with Startupbootcamp AfriTech are from South Africa.

This comes after the June announcement that 22 tech companies from 10 countries had been selected for the next round. On Friday, Startupbootcamp confirmed SA’s Rentoza, Snapslip Holdings and big data platform Convergenc3 Databotics are among those selected as overall winners.

Rentoza enables businesses and individuals to list their ‘lazy assets’, while giving customers access to these via a low-cost rental model backed by insurance underwritten by Old Mutual Insure.

Snapslip Holdings is a digital receipting and analytics application that takes data from each receipt and produces spend, trend and predictive analytics for retailers, banks, insurance companies and manufacturers.

The other selected teams include Kenya’s Asilimia, Weego from Morocco, two Nigerian start-ups HouseAfrica Blockchain and Curacel Systems, Yobante Express from Senegal, Uganda’s Cinnamon Clubs, Survey54 from the UK, and Zimbabwean start-up YouFarm.

Founded in 2010, Startupbootcamp AfriTech is endorsed by corporate sponsors, including RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Old Mutual, Nedbank and PwC, with global sponsors that include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Cisco.

The three-month accelerator programme seeks innovative early-stage start-ups from all industries, which have developed solutions focused on creating a positive change in Africa. Further, it aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship on the continent, by providing start-up owners with entrepreneurship skills and development support.

According to Startupbootcamp, this year’s top 11 teams were picked from over 1 900 applicants, an increase compared to the 1 004 applications received last year.

The start-ups were flown to Cape Town to pitch their businesses over two days at the AWS head office in Cape Town. From these, the 11 best teams were chosen.

These teams have shown significantly more traction in the market than those in previous years and include mostly later-stage companies, say the organisers.

On 12 August, the selected teams will return to Cape Town to kick-off the accelerator programme, and over a three-month period, they will attend master classes, collaborate with corporate partners, and run pilots and proof-of-concepts in order to scale their companies.

The programme will culminate in a demo day on 7 November, when they will showcase their refined products to a network of investors, corporate partners and industry leaders.

Nsovo Nkatingi, Startupbootcamp AfriTech programme director, says this year’s start-ups represent the most diverse teams they have had from seven different countries across the continent.

“Our corporate partners are becoming more sophisticated in their selection process and we are very excited about the potential for commercial agreements with these start-ups.”

Zachariah George, Startupbootcamp AfriTech chief investment officer and co-founder, adds: “Every entrepreneur who told their story at the pitching sessions is trying to build a legacy that he or she might not even live to see.

“It is our responsibility as mentors to help empower them to live that vision. We urge founders of disruptive start-ups all across the world to apply for opportunities like this to build a bigger, better and bolder future for the African continent.”

Another SA win

Meanwhile, a team from Durban University of Technology (DUT) was crowned winner of the Enactus National Competition, advancing to represent SA at the international leg of the competition in Silicon Valley.

At Enactus World Cup 2019, which takes place in San Jose, California, from 16 to 18 September, the South African DUT team will compete with 36 other countries.

Enactus defines itself as the world’s largest experiential learning platform dedicated to creating a better world while developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators.

Through its competition, Enactus gives university students a platform to develop digital services to address the socio-economic challenges in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Over a two-day period, the contestants were tasked with presenting their business ideas in front of a panel of judges that comprised captains of industry and C-level executives.

The DUT team, the defending champion from the 2018 edition of the national competition, presented their solution that focused on recycling, reusing and re-purposing waste material.

The project is aimed at empowering rural subsistence farmers to transition to small-scale farmers. This is achieved through their adoption of a sustainable vertical farming model of growing fresh produce in tunnels that are built at 47% cheaper than conventional models.

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