After an intense evaluation process by a panel involving over 15 investors, we are happy to announce the top 25 exceptional startups that will participate in PIVOT East 2015. The finalists, 5 from each category were selected from the 50 semifinalists announced two weeks ago. The finalists from across the region will compete to win market recognition and investor interest during the pitching conference which will be held on 22nd July in Nairobi, Kenya.
The startups that have made it to the finals are;
- Finance category:Hisa Play, BitFinance, Eko Biashara and Shield from Kenya and V-Money from Tanzania
- Enterprise category: Djuaji Research Limited, Mobu Limited, SaniCMS, Tenderpreneur and Duma Works all from Kenya
- Entertainment category:Makarao and Game 254 Studios from Kenya and Guumzo, Moview, and Soka from Tanzania
- Society category: FeedBack-RT – NATKOM from Uganda, Politk, Arifu, Bookex and MySecurity from Kenya
- Utilities category: Snapp Builder and ENT-Mobile Labs from Kenya, SafeMotos from Rwanda, Nikweli and Africa Fashion from Tanzania
Here is the full list of the finalists with a brief description of their product.
Out of the 25 startups that made it to the finalists, 17 are from Kenya. 6 of the startups are from Tanzania. Uganda and Rwanda are represented in the list by one startup each. For each category a 6th best startup has been placed in a waiting list and may pitch at the conference if a finalist drops out for any reason. Startups in the waiting list are; Bangaiza App, Ekodi, Softballot and SpotMe – Skillence from Kenya and Yanguwa from Uganda
Investors that formed the finalist selection panels were among venture capital firms, angel investors and impact investors. Some of the venture capital funds involved were Savannah Fund, Kuramo Capital Management LLC, Novastar Ventures, and TLcom Capital LLP. Other venture capital funds involved were Gray Ghost Ventures, ACCION’s venture labs, the Invested Development, Kaizen Venture Partners, Inventure Management Ltd, and Investec Asset Management
The individual angel investors were from thriving startup ecosystems such as Silicon valley, Berlin among others. Here is the full list of judges with brief descriptions about themselves.
This year, the finalists of the competition will receive training, coaching and mentorship in the weeks preceding the pitching conference and also after the pitching conference. These activities assist the finalists to improve key elements of their business models and the positioning of their startups to the rich audience at the conference. Startups in the waiting list and the other semifinalists who did not make it to the finalists will also benefit from the training, coaching and mentoring given to the finalists.
Since 2011, PIVOT East competition has identified and supported 100 mobile startups as finalists of the competition. The m:lab has funded 20 of these startups through PIVOT East to the tune of US$200,000 thus far. The funding was mostly split into two halves, the first of which is a $5,000 grant and the other portion $5,000 investment. Unlike the previous editions, this year the m:lab will not provide funding for the winners of the competition. The competition will emphasize for competitors to persuade the investors present at the competition to provide funding.
PIVOT East competition aims to facilitate discovery and nurturing of the next wave of high potential mobile innovations into sustainable business, ensuring that mobile innovations are high in the agenda of regional, governments, corporates and development agencies for amplified development impact and to raise the quality of mobile startups in the region.
The competition has supported mobile startups and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in terms of revenues, access to fundings and other enterprise growth indicators which in turn has contributed to creation of jobs and ultimately to the growth of the economy.