DEMO Africa ended its four-day conference with a bang in the City of Ekurhuleni, Gauteng Province, South Africa, when it announced the five top start-ups with the most meaningful and market-ready technologies as winners of the DEMO Lions Award.
The DEMO conference, which originated in North America, serves as a launchpad for Africa’s emerging technology and trends. It is one of the largest startup events on the continent, and has established a powerful international network that attracts a global audience of innovation and investment stakeholders.
“The shortlisted companies went through a rigorous selection and mentorship process in a series of boot camps at the beginning of the four-day conference to prepare them for market engagements and possible investments,” said Harry Hare, executive producer, DEMO Africa.
This year, the conference ran from November 21st to 24th at the Birchwood Convention Center. It was well attended and provided valuable networking to the delegates. The guest list included top local and international venture stakeholders, and also featured the Deputy General for the Department of Small Business Development, Ms. Edith Vries, who spoke in support of the conference and its importance on the South African economic landscape.
Out of the 30 new products launched at DEMO, the panel of experts selected five winners that fulfilled the competition’s requirements for pan-African and global expansion. The selected startups will proceed to the 2018 edition of the Lions@frica Innovation Tour in Silicon Valley California, to showcase their technologies and engage with international stakeholders.
“We witnessed fresh and exciting innovations at this year’s conference. It was tough choosing our top five but in the end the selected startups will be worthy ambassadors of Africa’s burgeoning technology ecosystems. We wish all of the participants every success with their products as they continue on their entrepreneurial journeys” commented Harry Hare says.
The five selected startups are: SOS Sante from Morocco, ZOA Tech and M- Post from Kenya, Rooster from South Africa, and Versecom from Nigeria. The African Technology Foundation’s impact award was presented to Powerstove from Nigeria.
Since DEMO Africa’s inception in 2012, at least 180 start-ups have been launched and connected to investors, technology buyers and the media.
“Start-up companies get the chance of a lifetime when they showcase their innovations at DEMO Africa. They also get exposure by networking with the corporate developers and acquirers, trade and mainstream media, venture capitalists, angel investors, buyers and entrepreneurs attending the conference,” said Hare.
DEMO Africa is one of the flagship initiatives of LIONS@frica, a public-private alliance aimed at enhancing and deepening the start-up and innovation ecosystems of targeted fast-growing African economies. The 2017 edition of DEMO Africa was sponsored by the South African Department of Small Business Development, the City of Ekurhuleni, and Microsoft.