Saisai Grabs SWELL Innovation Award As DEMO Africa Comes To A Close

Last Friday marked the final day of the 2014 edition of DEMO Africa. The event which drew the attention of top investors, IT buyers, IT consumers, Government officials and IT enthusiasts from across Africa, saw new flames fanned around the unveiled innovations.

The event has ended on an indescribable high note as Saisai from Zimbabwe rightfully scooped the SWELL Innovation award with Irofit and VOTO taking the first and second runners up positions respectively. The start-up will receive an all-expense paid trip to Silicon Valley as part of the SWELL Innovation Tour, which includes the exclusive participation in SWELL’s intensive soft landing program in Silicon Valley. Mike Chen, SWELL’s Founder expressed his excitement to be holding the inaugural SWELL Innovation awards in Africa and partnering with DEMO Africa. “I am confident that the SWELL Awards in Africa will represent an important element of the Global Startup Engagement platform to accelerate disruption and invoke corporate participation.”

Harry Hare the Executive Producer of DEMO Africa commended the participants for showing such great enthusiasm towards finding the much needed solutions for Africa. 

“It is inspiring to see that, now, more attention is being accorded the pursuit of solutions to problems that are uniquely African. The continent has one of the most diverse and talented pool of young people and finally, we are seeing a real intent by authorities to utilize the massive power within these brains to bring positive change, especially through technology.”

This week at DEMO Africa, besides the boom Camp and the Ampion Venture bus which graced this year’s event, serious minds came together through various organized meetings including the LIONS@frica Summit and the Pan African Angel Investors Summit which were held on Wednesday. VC4Africa’s CEO and Founder Ben White explained that the introduction of the new exclusive investor only event as part of the DEMO Africa is the next step in making sure the leading innovators from across the continent are going to get the backing they need to achieve scale. “We have seen angel networks emerging across the continent and now is the time to bring them together in a shared conversation about how best to move forward.”

This year’s event had been organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners (Microsoft, Nokia, US State Department, DEMO, USAID, African Development Bank, VC4Africa among others) and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.

The DEMO Africa 2014 event was sponsored by Nigeria Information and Technology Development Agency (NIITDA), Software Giant Microsoft, USADF, Department of State, Evernote, SWELL, Airtel, Bank of Industry, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, Accenture, MTN, Oasis Management Company, Tony Elumelu Foundation and Main One.

DEMO Africa, one of the flagship initiatives of the LIONS@FRICA partnership has over the years cemented its reputation for consistently identifying tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies, and served as a launch pad event for Africa technology start-ups. The DEMO experience is 22 years old globally and in its third year in Africa with chapters in the United States, Europe, Brazil and Asia.

DEMO Africa Kicks Off In Lagos

The DEMO Africa event finally kicked off at the Lagos Oriental Hotel in Nigeria to an expectant audience of top investors, IT buyers, IT consumers, Government officials and IT enthusiasts from across Africa.

The event which begun on an amazing high note, saw the first batch of the forty DEMO Africa finalist launch their IT generated solutions with the hope of attracting the right eye to take their innovation to the next level. These included VOTO Mobile from Ghana, Chura from Kenya, Cube and Hutbay from Nigeria.

Welcoming the guests, Honorable Minister of Communication Technology Dr Omobola Johnson commented that Africa is no longer a continent plagued with disease, hunger and illiteracy.  She emphasized that Africa is rising and it’s time to invest in Africa. “Aside from Asia, we are the fastest rising continent and we are very excited as a government about the prospects that we are seeing in our young .I would urge the demonstrators to believe that it is possible to be the next Alibaba.”

Harry Hare the Executive Producer of DEMO Africa commended the participants for showing such great enthusiasm towards finding the much needed solutions for Africa. 

“It is inspiring to see that, now, more attention is being accorded the pursuit of solutions to problems that are uniquely African. The continent has one of the most diverse and talented pool of young people and finally, we are seeing a real intent by authorities to utilize the massive power within these brains to bring positive change, especially through technology.”

The DEMO Africa forum has seen serious minds put together through various organized forums including the LIONS@frica Summit and the Pan African Angel Investors forum held yesterday. VC4Africa’s CEO and Founder Ben White explains: “Going into the third year of DEMO Africa, we are excited to introduce a new exclusive investor-only event as part of the DEMO Africa 2014 event. This is the next step in making sure the leading innovators from across the continent are going to get the backing they need to achieve scale. At the same time, we see angel networks emerging across the continent. Now is the time to bring them together in a shared conversation about how best to move forward.”

Tomorrow will see the final group of the Final Forty take to the DEMO Africa stage as well as see eight of the start-ups participate in the SWELL Innovations awards. The winner will receive a one week business development & investor roadshow in Silicon Valley. 

This year’s event has been organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners (Microsoft, Nokia, US State Department, DEMO, USAID, African Development Bank, VC4Africa among others) and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.

The DEMO Africa 2014 event is sponsored by Nigeria Information and Technology Development Agency (NIITDA), Software Giant Microsoft, USADF, Department of State, Evernote, SWELL, Airtel, Bank of Industry, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, Accenture, MTN, Oasis Management Company, Tony Elumelu Foundation and Main One.

DEMO Africa, one of the flagship initiatives of the LIONS@FRICA partnership has over the years cemented its reputation for consistently identifying tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies, and served as a launch pad event for Africa technology start-ups. The DEMO experience is 22 years old globally and in its third year in Africa with chapters in the United States, Europe, Brazil and Asia.

For more information please contact:

Evelyne Wangui | Project and Communication Manager
Office:+254  20  404 1646
Mobile:+254  726 087 451
Email: evelyne.wangui@demo-africa.com

Mr. Yele Okeremi | Chairman, Nigerian Local Organising Committee
Mobile: +234 803 304 1049
Email: yele@thepfs.biz

Tony Elumelu, Other Top Business Executives Attending DEMO 2014

A sneak preview into DEMO-Africa’s list of expected guests has revealed the names of some of the most influential business and technology personalities. The list features Mr. Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings and founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation; Mr. Baybars Altuntas, Vice president of The European trade Association for Business Angels (EBAN); Fernando de Sousa, the General Manager, Microsoft for Africa initiative; Mr. Jason Njoku the founder of IROKO and Mr. John. Momoh, the CEO, of Channels TV, Nigeria.

This year’s edition of DEMO Africa which will also be addressed by the Minister for Communication Technology, Dr (Mrs.) Omobola Johnson and her counterpart in the ministry, PS, Dr Tunji Olaopa, is expected to fuel discussions geared towards making critical adjustments that will allow Africa to create a better environment for business.

Besides gracing the event to scout for talent on the DEMO Africa stage, the key guests are scheduled to exchange ideas at the Angels Investors Summit on the 24th which will allow a knowledge exchange between the continent’s various angel investors and map out the future of angel investing in Africa.

Commenting on the heightened excitement from the expected participation, Mr. Yele Okeremi, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, expressed confidence on the outcome of the event. “We feel honored to be able to host some of Africa’s biggest minds. We are positive that the ideas shared at this forum will be implemented to make Africa realize the dream of self-sufficiency.”

SpacePointe’ s   founder Sayu Abend, one of the finalists scheduled to pitch on the DEMO Africa, expressed optimism in the event stating that the unique mix of mentors and role models expected at the event is a rich source of important lessons for young entrepreneurs and the start-up businesses in Africa. “I am positive that SpacePointe and other participating start-ups are bound to grow from this experience.”

The DEMO Africa event preparations are now in the very final stages. Participants are being called upon to sign up on https://www.eventbrite.com/e/demo-africa-2014-tickets-10936486325 to secure their participation. There is a special package available to investor delegates which comprises 15% discount on a DEMO Africa ticket, 15% discount on a VC4Africa Pro Account, Access to the companies’ financials, Ticket to the Investor Cocktail on DEMO Africa’s opening evening, Ticket to a special Investor Boomcamp as well as access to a special Investor Lounge and Deal Room at DEMO Africa. More information on this package can be found athttp://vc4afri.ca/h6j8u

This year’s event is being organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners (Microsoft, Nokia, US State Department, DEMO, USAID, African Development Bank, VC4Africa among others) and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.

Chillax Invited To Pitch at Mobile Web Africa Competition in South Africa

Chillax – Feel your city’s pulse. 

Chillax has been invited to pitch at the Mobile Web Africa Conference App Developer Competition in Johannesburg this Thursday. The App Developer  competition is sponsored by Intel, Mobile Monday & App Circus. The competition brings together the very best of early stage startups across the continent with the winner getting a fully paid trip to Barcelona next year to participate in the Mobile World Congress as well as other prizes from the sponsors.

Chillax’s participation in the competition is sponsored by The Whitaker Group Inc TWG – an international trade consultancy firm with a focus on helping African businesses achieve their full potential.

Chillax is a city themed app for major cities in Africa, in light of this we are pleased to announce that we will be officially launching Chillax Johannesburg in South Africa on Thursday. We will also be looking to establish strong partnerships to build the Chillax brand in Johannesburg.

Chillax was birthed at last year’s Startup Weekend Accra event held at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. It came tops amidst 13 ideas presented in November 2013. The current Chillax team comprises:
  1. Jesse Johnson – Product Devt/Design Lead
  2. Gerald Pharin – Tech Lead
  3. Laud Bentil – Data/Backend Devt.
  4. Ama Asantewaa aka Poetra Asantewaa – PR. Communication, Social Media 8 Branding
  5. Kingsley Abrokwah – Team Lead/ Business Lead

About The Whitaker Group
The Whitaker Group (TWG) is the premier consultancy focused on trade, business and investment in Africa. Led by Rosa Whitaker, the first ever Assistant US Trade Representative to Africa, TWG has facilitated over $3 billion in capital flows to Africa since its founding in 2003.
Follow Chillax on Twitter and download their Android app. Kudos to the team, we wish them the best.

#DEMOTop40 : mergims Aggregates Product Listings from Merchants Across Africa

Online retailing is growing across Africa. Several startups are making strides in targeting these sectors. One of such startups is mergims. Mergims is currently listing merchants to its site and mobile app to allow diaspora members purchase goods or services online for their loved one in Africa.

Product
A website and a mobile application (IOS now, soon an Android app)

Value
Our business model will bring the cost much lower than the 10% minimum charged by Western Union and its lookalikes . The processes will take 5 minutes instead of 2 hours required in average.

Successes

  • We have an angel investor with us, Mr Pule from African Angel Network
  • We have our IOS mobile App ready
  • We made it in top 40 for DEMO Africa 2014
  • We are securing partnership with merchants in East Africa that we can not disclose for now
  • We have a strong team
  • Lot of followers on various social media platforms
The MERGIMS Team

Team
MERGIMS (combination of merging markets was started in the summer 2012) is run by the following people:

  • Muhire Louis-Antoine, a Canadian University graduate in communications. As the Founder & CIO and in charge of investor relations Muhire has been in Internet business since he was 20 years old. The Rwanda-born entrepreneur left Rwanda after the genocide and has been living in Canada since then.
  • Gilbert Niyo Mugabo, COO, who has been to US and Canadian universities graduated in Logistics, a Siupply Chain Specialist with extensive experience in business administration.
  • 2 Partners (Mr Rey Lionel, Accountant; Miss Ayesha Akhtar, Legal manager and Executive Marketing)
  • Mr Jean Paul Mugizi, Technical Product Manager and IT Consultant

Development Stack
Confidential

Contact/Social Media/Job Openings
PR : Muhire Louis Antoine ,CIO and Co-founder muhirela@mergims.com

Website : www.mergims.com
Twitter : @infomergims
Facebook: /MERGIMS

Job opening : CEO, Webmaster and CRM with experience and ready to work in  East Africa.

Microsoft Takes Up Platinum Sponsorship for DEMO Africa 2014


PRESS RELEASE

1st September 2014

Software Giant, Microsoft to sponsor this year’s DEMO Africa Event

Microsoft Corporation has taken up platinum sponsorship for this year’s edition of DEMO Africa that will be held later in the month, in Lagos, Nigeria. The company will participate in the event for the 3rd time under the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative.
The sponsorship will see Microsoft offer financial support for the event where 40 tech based start-ups from across Africa are expected to pitch to potential investors. DEMO Africa recently released the names of the final 40 start-ups that will launch on the DEMO Africa stage where Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Egypt will have the highest representation.

Commenting on the collaboration, Fernando de Sousa, GM Africa Initiatives at Microsoft, underscored the importance of innovations to the growing African economy. “DEMO Africa has given a platform for investors to realize the enormous potential amongst African youth showcased through startups. As an organization that has operated in the continent for over 20 years, Microsoft believes  Africa’s economic take-off to long-term growth prospects  will be determined by the investment decisions we make today in support of  youth initiatives. ”

Welcoming the support, DEMO Africa’s Executive Producer, Harry Hare commented that investor’s confidence plays a very critical role in motivating start-up entrepreneurs .” We acknowledge the support of Microsoft and their efforts in uplifting young entrepreneurs in Africa. It’s this kind of support that assures us that the future is indeed bright for Africa and at DEMO Africa we are keen to make our contribution to this success.

As has been witnessed in the past, the September event is expected to attract top investors, tech acquisition specialists, IT buyers and media from across the region and around the globe. Participants’ registration is already open on https://www.eventbrite.com/e/demo-africa-2014-tickets-10936486325.

The secretariat has put together a special package for investor delegates which comprises:15% discount on a DEMO Africa ticket, 15% discount on a VC4A Pro Account, Access to the companies’ financials, Ticket to the Investor Cocktail on DEMO Africa’s opening evening, Ticket to a special Investor Boomcamp as well as access to a special Investor Lounge and Deal Room at DEMO Africa. More information on this package can be found at http://vc4afri.ca/h6j8u

DEMO Africa 2014 is scheduled to take place between 22nd and 26th of September at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. This year’s event is being organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners, VC4Africa and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.

For more information please contact:

Evelyne Wangui | Project and Communication Manager
Office:+254  20  404 1646
Mobile:+254  726 087 451
Email: evelyne.wangui@demo-africa.com

Annette Mutuku|PR & Communications Lead, Africa Initiatives at Microsoft:Email:v-amutuk@microsoft.com)africa.com