Startupbootcamp (SBC) AfriTech, the global tech accelerator program in Africa, received 1,804 applications for its 2019 cohort - an astounding 80% increase from last year. Now, the very best have been selected. The top 22 tech teams have been invited to attend the final selection days to be hosted at Amazon Web Services' Head Office in Cape Town from 10-11 July 2019.
SBC AfriTech is the African campus of a global family of industry-focused accelerators. This is the third consecutive year that the programme will take place in Cape Town, and over the past three months the SBC team has criss-crossed the globe in search of the very best in tech talent.
Now, the SBC team, in conjunction with the programme’s corporate sponsors – Old Mutual, RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Nedbank, PwC and new partner Dentons - have narrowed the applicants down to 22 top-tier tech startups that will be invited to the final selection days hosted at Amazon Web Services’ Cape Town Head Office.
Of the 22 teams that were chosen, seven are from South Africa, six hail from Nigeria and two are from Kenya, with Uganda, Togo, the United Kingdom, Morocco, the United States, Senegal and Zimbabwe each being represented by a team.
During the final selection days, the startups will have the opportunity to present their pitches to high-profile corporate sponsors, investors, thought leaders and industry experts and will have the chance to engage with mentors and sponsors alike.
At the end of the second day, the top 10 will be announced and welcomed into the Cape Town-based accelerator programme that kicks off on 12 August 2019 and culminates in a Demo Day on 7 November 2019. Over this three-month period, the startups selected will have the opportunity to scale at an incredible pace and seal pilots and proofs-of-concept with the corporate sponsors of the programme and others.
In 2017, the programme received a total of 520 applications. Last year, SBC’s scouting efforts resulted in 1,004 startups applying for the programme from over 77 countries. In 2019 this was surpassed with an impressive 1,804 applications from 64 countries in total.
“The startups that applied in 2019 were exceptionally impressive and are significantly later-stage, showing more market traction than applicants from previous years. What’s more, the talent originating out of different regions in the African continent is astounding,” states Motlhabane Koloi, legal and scouting manager for SBC AfriTech.
“In 2019, we saw more than 30% of our overall applications coming from Nigeria, 20% from South Africa and 8% from Kenya. This trend has been consistent over the past three years, showing that the ‘big three’ ecosystems are still leading in terms of innovation and tech. New applicant countries that are rapidly emerging in the tech and innovation development space are Senegal, Morocco, Cameroon, Zambia and Tunisia.”
In previous years, the focus of the accelerator has been on fintech and insurtech startups. Over the past two years however, the SBC’s team’s learnings have demonstrated and proven that the African innovation landscape crosses sectors and allows for collaborations between industries.
“The majority of this year’s applications were from the ICT industry, with an overall 22% application count. In this sphere, we are seeing an acute emphasis on big data in e-commerce, fintech and software as a service for financial services,” adds Philip Kiracofe, CEO and co-founder of SBC AfriTech.
“The second largest industry, contributing 12% of our applications, was agriculture, with startups particularly in West Africa developing IoT tools for farming, and fintech solutions for financing the agricultural sector. Next was business services, comprising 11% of the total applications received. Innovation in this field is concentrated around developing solutions for data management and aggregation, knowledge management and predictive analysis. Another rising sector in Africa specifically is Smart Cities and clean technology, where the focus aligns with the intrinsic nature of innovation to create solutions for the pain points innovators are experiencing in their own countries and communities.”
Top startups selected
The Top 22 startups invited to the final selection Days are:
South Africa: 3DIMO, Convergenc3 Databotics, KURAI, Last Mile for BoP, Mshtarii Investments, Rentoza, and Snapslip Holdings
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