Five DEMO Africa winners join global startups for Startup Grind Conference and the Lions@frica Innovation Tour

Palo Alto, California — February 20, 2017 — African innovation meets Silicon Valley this week as part of the 2017 edition of the Lions@frica Innovation Tour in California. The five winning startups from DEMO Africa 2016; Sortd, Solstice, MediaBox, Strauss Energy and ConnectMed, will compete alongside Silicon Valley technology startups, and engage the venture ecosystem in Northern California through a series of curated events and activities. Organized by the Silicon Valley based African Technology Foundation, the fifth edition of Lions@frica Innovation Tour is focused on knowledge sharing with leading Silicon Valley stakeholders, and networking opportunities that will yield deeper engagements between the African startups and their target partners in Silicon Valley. Since the inaugural edition in 2013, twenty-five (25) African startups have benefited from this transcontinental program that seeks to bridge knowledge gaps, and enable African technology startups to showcase their innovation on a global scale.

“These five startups have been prepared for the tour through a series of learning activities over a two month long virtual bootcamp”, commented Aliesha Balde, Communications Manager for the Lions@frica program. “We want them to engage the Silicon Valley ecosystem on their own terms, but armed with the right tools and equipped with the necessary resources”.

Over the last five years, DEMO Africa alumni have raised around $16 million in funding and continue to advance the cause for African led innovation on a global scale. Alumni of the tour include Soko, Flowgear, Spacepointe, Zuvaa and Chura.

“After emerging as winners from an application pool of over six hundred startups on the continent, we are eager to ensure that these five companies successfully assume an ambassadorial role for African innovation”, said Stephen Ozoigbo, Managing Partner of the Lions@frica Program. “They are re-inventing Africa’s future, and we are supporting their strategic actions to increase their likelihood of success”.

About the companies


ConnectMed is an online medical practice that allows patients to seek treatment from General Practitioners over video for common ailments directly through a web & mobile application.

Country of Origin — Kenya

Key Executive

Melissa McCoy


MediaBox is a video-on-demand content aggregation platform that gives viewers the easiest way to watch international and local content, both on demand and live over the internet.

Country of Origin — South Africa

Key Executives

James Muir

Roeland Van Nieuwkerk


Solstice Home Energy Solutions offers a simple multi-energy source management and energy control system for homes and buildings. Solstice uses data from their integrated hardware/software system to provide clean, reliable and affordable energy solutions.

Country of Origin — Nigeria

Key Executives

Ugwem Eneyo

Cole Stites-Clayton

Strauss Energy

Strauss Energy is a solar energy and manufacturing company that produces innovative BIPV Stima solar roofing tiles. Strauss energy offers a cost-efficient alternative to modern solar roof panels and distributes and sells energy at a significantly reduced price.

Country of Origin — Kenya

Key Executives

Tony Nyagah

Charity Wanjiku


Sortd is a Gmail smartskin that expands the functionality of an email inbox by providing users with the option of organizing emails as a flexible set of lists or tasks.

Country of Origin — South Africa

Key Executives

Rodney Kuhn

For more information on the Lions@frica Innovation Tour, please visit You can also follow LIONS@FRICA on Twitter @lionsafrica. For media requests and interviews, contact: or call 1 (818)-660–5676.


A public-private partnership launched by the U.S. Department of State aimed to enhance and deepen the startup and innovation ecosystems of targeted fast growing African economies through investment in Capacity-building, access to Capital, enhanced Connectivity to global markets, and Credibility, by raising awareness of Africa’s innovation potential.

About African Technology Foundation (ATF)

The African Technology Foundation (ATF) exists to globalize African technologies and introduce global technologies to the African ecosystem. To achieve this, we support a broad range of initiatives around key economic sectors, and we are committed to providing African technology startups and enterprises with the necessary knowledge and resources that empower them to raise the economic profiles of their communities, municipalities and countries.

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