Today Africa has 300 tech hubs in 93 cities across 42 countries. Ten years ago, there was nothing. It is an understatement to say that startups have disrupted the African continent – VC funding raised by African tech startups totalled US$ 366.8 million in 2016!
As the Mobile 360 event in Dar-es-Salaam this month looked to navigate the digital age of Africa, we had to make sure that a cross section of the region’s most exciting startups took centre stage at the show. To achieve this we teamed up with the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund to source four hot startups to take part in our first on-stage Startup Ignite!
The format was simple, throughout the day, each startup kicked off a content session with a 5-minute pitch using image-only slides. We were delighted to showcase a range of pitchers at the cutting edge of their respective industry verticals:
• The Future of Travel – Peter Kariuki, Co-Founder and CTO, Safemotos
• The Future of Retail – Caine Wanjau, CTO, Twiga Foods
• The Future of Education – Tonee Ndungu, Founder and CIO, Kytabu
• The Future of Car-sharing – Samira Negm, CEO, Raye7
Each pitcher was briefed to invigorate and inspire the audience on the real life impact potential of digital in Africa. One by one, each speaker took full command of the stage and delivered a high-impact and high-energy presentation which left the senior audience excited and eager to learn more – testimony to this included Strive Masiyiwa, Founder of Econet and renowned advocate of encouraging local grown talent, calling Twiga Foods out on stage to approach him for investment!
Picture: The 2017 pitchers in action
(Clockwise from top left: Safemotos, Twiga Foods, Raye7, Kytabu. Photo from @Cvllr)
The energy was electric. In the midst of the hype and passion, we were also served a reminder of the reality of what these startups are providing. As highlighted by a number of senior figures, the two biggest and most critical issues facing the African continent are Food Security and Job Creation. As stressed by Strive Masiyiwa “the greatest challenge facing the continent is creating jobs…and the most exciting thing happening today on the continent is entrepreneurship”.
Africa is just at the beginning of its chapter led by tech startups and we look forward to continuing to host the incredible innovations at our future platforms.
To find out more about the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund visit the website.