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Angani Support Entrepreneurs through PIVOT East

Finalist, PIVOT East

July 22, 2015

We are proud to announce that Angani is one of the Sponsors of PIVOT East. PIVOT East, now in its 5th year,  aims to  demonstrate its commitment to amplifying and consolidating the gains of East Africa’s mobile developer and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Established in 2013, Angani Ltd., is the first Kenyan public cloud computing and solutions provider located in Nairobi, dedicated exclusively to the provision of cloud services to the entire Eastern, Central and Southern African region.

With a current installed capacity and growing, of more than 2,500 Virtual Servers and in excess of 1 PB of storage capacity, in 2 redundant, reliable data centres in Kenya. Angani Ltd., has invested significantly in infrastructure and remains committed to doing so in the foreseeable future.

Angani are consistently at the forefront of supporting and enabling the Youth and SMEs actualize their ideas into income earning ventures. The founders of Angani believe that IT, like electricity and telephony, is a huge business enabler, especially for Mobile Application Developers. To mitigate against the significant costs of servers and other IT infrastructure, Angani seeks to provide a platform  where developers can lease high quality virtual infrastructure that meets international standards at “local” prices.

Under this partnership:

  • Angani will provide, 3 months free service for all finalist and up to Kshs 5,000 per month in Angani credits.
  • They will also provide 12 months free service for the 5 winners and up to Kshs 10,000 per month in Angani credits for the winner in every category.

_ANGANI_-01Why angani believe the partnership with PIVOT East is important;

  1. They offer East African developers the opportunity to scale their businesses rapidly, as they can increase or decrease capacity as the need arises through their automated provisioning process
  2. They offer free local bandwidth and transfer – This provides for significant reduction on the Total Cost of Ownership on their Virtual Servers, as developers need not pay any more for network bandwidth.
  3. The Angani cloud is hosted in Kenya. This also means that developers are now able to improve the user experience for their customers with reduced latency, thus leading to significantly improved speeds. To this end, Angani, has invested in a 1 Gbps link on the KIXP link ensuring fast connectivity to all major ISP’s and Telco’s in Kenya
  4. Because, they are a local company, they are able to offer both on site as well off site support 24/7, backed up by a comprehensive SLA.
  5. Through the strong partnerships they have created with organisations like Microsoft, VMware, Xen, they guarantee you the best of breed technology and reduce the time it takes for developers to get their products to the market.

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Pivot East Speed Dating Event

Finalist, PIVOT East, PIVOT EAST 2015

July 19, 2015

m:lab East Africa has since 2011 been organizing Pivot East, a program of targeted educational workshops for mobile entrepreneurs and business advisory sessions that culminates in the top 25 mobile startups in East Africa pitching to investors and partners at a finalists conference.

The format of the event has been in the past, a two day pitching event, of course with the fireside chats and several talks. This year, the format has changed slightly, with one day fully dedicated to pitching and the other a speed dating event with investors, users, partners and the public in general. The pitching event will be on the 22nd July at the Panari Hotel and its attendance is on  invites  or ticket purchased basis. If you would like to purchase a ticket for this, do so HERE.
10401951_802506236435803_3770686065236324287_nThe 23rd July will be a speed dating event at the iHub. This event is Free and Open to the public. The speed dating event is not a romantic event, just in case the name got you wondering. It is a business session where the startups will be pitching to the attendees, with the hope of getting them interested to either use their product, partner with them, invest in them, join their team or generally give them feedback. How will it work? Well, the entrepreneurs will be seated at tables while people with interest in knowing more about their startups rotate. Each entrepreneur and person will have a maximum of 4minutes to introduce themselves, the entrepreneur will pitch their business and receive feedback. A buzzer will ring, prompting the person  to move to the next entrepreneur.
10511321_802506176435809_2504760781036660565_nThis year’s event is designed to facilitate maximum interaction and networking between startup founders, investors and other industry players. The finalist of the competition will have demo pits at the exhibition area where they will showcase their products to the investors and interested delegates, both at the pitching and the speed dating events. You wouldn’t want to miss this year’s conference or the speed dating as it promises to be hotly contested with 25 exceptional mobile startups in the region set to fight out to win market recognition and investor interest.

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Top 25 Startups to Compete in PIVOT East 2015 Competition

Finalist, PIVOT East, PIVOT EAST 2015

June 23, 2015

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.


Ubongo Kids team from Tanzania pitching during PIVOT East 2014 conference which was held at the Panari Hotel

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.

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Meet MobiDev, a mobile consulting company that helps you innovate for emerging markets

Finalist, Incubation, PIVOT East

May 14, 2015

Almost 3 years ago, 6 young minds from very diverse background including Engineering, the Military, Actuarial science and computer science were brought together by one shared vision: To define the standards in mobile application development for emerging markets. In each of these minds was a burning desire to build amazing mobile experiences that not only would be impactful but also great to use. This meeting was the birth of a mobile consulting company: MobiDev that has grown to deploy mobile applications in Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and most recently Nigeria.

Led by Leonard Korir, one of the co-founders, the team has successfully gone through the tough first two years where most early stage company die off and things seem to be looking up in their 3rd year of operation.

MobiDev Kenya LTD focuses on developing enterprise grade SMS/USSD applications, Android, iOS and Windows apps. The technical strength is founded on hands on experience gained from designing, development, testing and deployment of mobile apps across the continent and also the fact that each team member went through infoDev sponsored 4-6 months mobile app development and entrepreneurship program offered at m:lab East Africa – one of the 5 labs in the world that is focused in technology in the mobile space.

The training program which covered the technical skills coupled with entrepreneurship, a bit of user experience and design skills saw over 100 developers trained and startups like MobiDev Kenya LTD mTracker, mVerified among others created.

Last month, MobiDev partnered with Scytl – a worldwide leader in provision of secure electronic voting, election management and election modernization solutions – to deploy a real time election results transmission and tallying system engaged in Nigeria. The application, that ran on a combination of technologies including USSD, SMS and Maps was used by one of the leading political party to receive real time vote tallying results from the agents on the ground thus enabling party officials get the elections results as soon as they were counted from over 119,000 polling stations.

According to the team lead, Leonard and the project management lead, Moses Kioko, a project of such a scale comes with lots of challenges. The first being a 4 week hard timeline to develop, deploy and train all the agents on how to use the application. The team travelled to Nigeria on 22nd of March, a few days before the elections to conduct trainings and generally prepare for the elections. Just to get a sense of the scale: Nigeria has a total of 36 states and the FCT (Federal Capital Territory of Abuja) with 119,000 polling stations, about 4 times the number of polling stations in Kenya as per the last election. The population is also estimated at over 173 million people, more than 4 times Kenya’s estimated population and has a total area of over 923,768 km2(356,669 sq mi), making it the world’s 32nd-largest country.

Challenges were many in the project and it takes an experienced team to continuously respond to each challenge faced promptly and in the wisest way possible. This was well shown in the ability to have work around on logistical challenges, simplifying the training material for users and even making changes to the application based on factual real-time data and feedback came from agents and users.

According to Leonard Korir, the Chief Executive Officer MobiDev,The project opened up opportunities for the startup in Nigeria and they might be doing more projects in Nigeria and West Africa in the near future.

Apart from elections, MobiDev has deployed a number of projects in other industries including Mobile payments/banking, Agriculture, education, Insurance and Governance. One of the notable apps is a County Yetu, a governance app that enables citizens stay up to date with what is happening at their counties including news, development projects, tenders, job vacancies and general information on their county. The app also enables citizens to engage county leaders through provision of both textual and pictorial feedback .

In education, MobiDev helped see Akengo (now Arifu), develop from an ambitious idea to a live SMS and Web-based adaptive learning system that serves users in Kenya and soon Tanzania.

MobiDev has also seen through a product in mHealth- Totohealth, led by Felix Kimaru from an idea to a platform that is helping save lives of children under 5 years using simple SMS technology. Totohealth provides twice-weekly customized alerts on expected development changes from conception 5 years of age and currently serves over 6000 mothers. Totohealth also won 2015’s vision 2030 innovation award from Kenya’s ICT Authority.

It has taken time to build a great team culture and as per Leonard, there is still a lot of work to be done and he is positive that mobile will continue to impact so many people’s lives in ways that we cannot even imagine at the moment.

For more information on MobiDev visit there website or get in touch via You can also follow them on twitter @devsmobi and like them on facebook

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Totohealth: Transforming Maternal Healthcare in Kenya!

Finalist, Incubation, PIVOT East

January 13, 2015

“It is estimated that 7,700 women die each year in Kenya from pregnancy related complications. This translates to 21 women dying each day or one woman every hour from preventable causes, making the need to address safe motherhood a human rights imperative” This is according to the Centre for Global health and diplomacy.

Totohealth is addressing the above problem by  providing  an affordable and innovative mobile technology solution to address the high maternal and newborn mortality rates in Kenya. Totohealth aims to help parents receive targeted and action oriented SMS messages with dates for important vaccination dates, signs and milestones in the child’s health and ability to connect mothers with local hospitals. Totohealth SMS’s predict warning signs in kids, dispel myths, give nutritional advice, teach parents on reproductive health, refer them to the right doctors and clinics near them, reminds them to go for vaccination and clinics and also set appointments with doctors or nurses.


The platform also allows the parent to receive timely guidance and evident-based approaches to improve the health of pregnant mothers and also the child regardless of the type of phone the parent or caregiver has. Totohealth is targeting expectant mothers and parents with kids less than 5 years.

Since inception in March 15th 2014, Totohealth has grown tremendously. Currently the startup has 9 hospitals and 2 organizations using their platform to help improve health outcomes.The organizations are Carolina for Kibera an NGO that  fights abject poverty and helps prevent violence through community-based development in the slum of Kibera and Kidogo a social enterprise that improves access to high-quality, affordable early childhood care And education in informal settlements. Kidogo is also incubated at m:lab East Africa.

The startup has managed to signup 4,600 mothers and fathers who are currently using Totohealth to monitor the development of their children and also receive timely and targeted information about their health and that of their children. According to Felix Kimaru the founder of  Totohealth, various cases of growth abnormalities that could possibly lead to disabilities have thus far been successfully detected and referred for further care.

Totohealth Team

Totohealth Team

The startup was founded by a team of three founders; Felix Kimaru, Victoria Nyakundi and Joseph Murgor. Over the past nine months, the team has grown and currently they have 6 individuals passionate about the mission of the startup.The startup’s revenue comes from a business-to-business (B2B) model.

Totohealth applied for  PIVOT East, East Africa’s startup pitching competition and conference last year and despite the startup being at it’s very early stage, the judges saw the potential of the startup to grow and they were able to make it to the final 25 startups that pitched at the finalist conference on 24th – 25th June 2014. They emerged the 1st runners up in the mobile society category. “The feedback and the connections we got from PIVOT East is what has enabled us achieve the much we have today” says Felix Kimaru

Victoria and Moses from Totohealth pitching during PIVOT East 2014

Victoria and Moses from Totohealth pitching during PIVOT East 2014

Through PIVOT East, Totohealth got an opportunity to be incubated at m:lab East Africa incubation facility. The incubation space offers a quiet and dedicated space conducive for team building and “heads down” focus.

The startup was also part of the Mobile Impact ventures Program (MIVP), m:lab East Africa’s accelerator program for impact ventures with innovative solutions in Agriculture, Education, Health and water. Below is a video of Felix Kimaru explaining his experience in the program.

The startup raised  15,333 Euros through the Cheetah Fund crowdfunding campaign  which was held last year. In addition to working with hospitals and NGOs, the startup was invited to partner with “We see ourselves reaching more parents in Kenya through this platform. This is also good for us because of the publicity that has come out of this partnership” says Felix.  The startup has also partnered with University of Helsinki to produce video content.

Totohealth participate in Startup Sauna, 2014’s Fall Program. According to Felix, The program was important for Totohealth because of the business coaching sessions and access to potential partners in Europe. The startup was also shortlisted to showcase their product in Europe’s Premier Investor and Startup Conference called Slush. The conference had over 14,000 attendees.

For more information on the company, visit their website, like them on facebook at and follow them on twitter @totohealth

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Eneza Education 2014 Impact Study

Finalist, PIVOT East

December 3, 2014

Only 32% of Kenyan students enroll in high school. Most fail their high school exit exams or are ill equipped to finish primary school. This is due to different reasons such as a high student to teacher ratio (often 50:1), lack of individualized attention, and lack of accessible, quality study materials. Eneza Education provides a solution for students to actively engage in affordable, interactive study content and a solution for teachers and parents to monitor students’ progress and receive tailored tips. They are creating a network through devices that families and schools already use


Eneza Education’s goal is to make educational content accessible to 50 million students across the African continent using a technology that they have access to, a mobile phone. In order to be able to achieve their goal, the company has partnered with heads of schools and Service providers in the country to help them market their product through the great network that Kenya Primary School Head teachers Association (KEPSHA) and Safaricom have. Currently they have over 150,000 lifetime users registered on their platform across 3000 schools in Kenya.


With the aim of assessing the impact of Eneza as a tool for revision,  Eneza Education conducted an impact study in March this year, focusing on four schools in Meru. The impact study that took a period of  seven months, involved 153 students all in class 7 from the four schools namely, Kariene Primary School, Nyweri Primary School, Kirigara Primary School and Kiria Primary School. The outcome of the impact was just amazing. The impact study showed that Eneza students scored 9.5 points more than their peers at the same schools with the same teachers. This depicted a 22.7% growth in the scores for the students. For more information on the impact study, you can view the Infographic representation of the impact HERE

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PIVOT East Finalist Chura, Shares Their Progress and Lessons Learnt

Finalist, PIVOT East

October 14, 2014

Launched in December 2013 by a group of friends all alumni of the University of Nairobi,Chura makes it possible for subscribers to swap airtime for money. The startup dubbed Chura (Swahili for frog), is anchored on the idea of being able to leap from one operator to another at will without having to port. Not only can you sell your airtime for cash on, but you can also switch your Safaricom airtime for either Airtel or any other service provider and you can also buy airtime with mobile money and if you run a company, buy airtime in bulk.

The award-winning application that is available on the web portal and via SMS 24/7, provides a cross platform for mobile service users to freely hover between service providers as they wish. The company offers four services as follows;

Chura[list type=”bullet”] [li]Switch airtime service – where users can exchange airtime from one service provider to another, for example, if you have Safaricom airtime, you can exchange it for Airtel  or Orange airtime[/li] [li]Airtime for cash service – where users are able to exchange airtime for cash. All you need to do is fill a form with the phone number and network you are sending the airtime from and the number to receive the money as well as the service provider then Chura agents will instantly send the money to your mobile money account.[/li] [li]Bulk airtime service – where users send airtime conveniently to multiple phone numbers in any network in Kenya, at once.[/li] [li]Buy airtime service.- where users can buy airtime for any mobile phone number in Kenya using any mobile money transfer service.[/li] [/list]

Chura has since reduced the cost of exchanging Airtime for cash to20% plus the transaction charges, more information on how to swap airtime for cash can be found here. Users will also receive a bonus of  5% when purchasing any form of Kenyan airtime Orange,yu,Safaricom or Airtel from chura, more information can be found here. For companies that want to send bulk airtime to many phone numbers in different works, Chura allows them to use the bulk airtime service for free. Chura has made their service very efficient for the users by allowing all transactions to run in under 5minute.


Since the company launched in December, they have been able to acquire over 3,500 users with over 50% being repeat customers and 1000 transactions done daily/monthly. They are looking to replicate their service in other Multi-Sim markets in the region

Chura applied for PIVOT East 2014 early this year and was one of the finalist at the competition in the finance category. The 25 finalists got a chance to pitch their products/services in front of a rich pool of investors during the finalists conference which was held at Panari Hotel.

Samuel Njuguna and Stephanie Gaku from Chura pitching during PIVOT East 2014 which was held at Panari Hotel

Samuel Njuguna and Stephanie Gaku from Chura pitching during PIVOT East 2014 which was held at Panari Hotel

Finalists of the competition receive training, coaching and mentorship before the finalists pitching conference. These pre-conference  activities  assist  the  finalists  to  improve  key  elements  of  their  business  models  and to position their startups  to the  rich audience at the  conference. “PIVOT East pre-conference activities helped us to position ourselves better for the Demo Africa Win” says Samuel Njuguna one of the co-founders of Chura. According to Samuel,they were able to refine their pitch and presentation skills, they got a new perspective on how to get their product to the market and also benefited from the publicity they got and the networks they got throughout the whole period of the competition.

In addition to being finalists at PIVOT East 2014, the company scooped the Demo Africa award at a gala event held in Lagos, Nigeria last month. They received sponsorship by the US State Department through the LIONS@FRICA partnership, for a 10-day US trip to silicon valley in November to pitch to investors and attend mentorship programmes.

Chura has also been shortlisted for the Royal Academy of engineering awards based in the UK for a prize inAfrica Prize for Engineering Innovation, they will also be going  to South Africa for training. Chura has since attracted a lot of media attention from both bloggers and also the main stream media. In the beginning of the month, the were featured in Sunday Nation lifestyle magazine, the full article can be found here

For more information on Chura, check out for their website . You can also view their facebook page: and follow them on twitter: @chura_co_ke

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Rapid Experimentation, Catalyst for Innovation & Lean UX/UI Session

Finalist, PIVOT East, Workshops

August 18, 2014

PIVOT East Participants during a previous training.

PIVOT East Participants during a previous training.

On the  27th of August 2014, we will have a training that is one of its kind. The training is aimed at the technical members of the startups teams.  The session will take place at m:lab East Africa from 9:00am to 12:00pm . The sessions will be on Rapid Experimentation, Catalyst for Innovation & Lean UX/UI with Solstice Mobile. Solstice Mobile is one of the leading provider of enterprise innovation and mobility solutions in the US. With the largest dedicated mobile software engineering team in the United States, they have deep expertise across iOS, Android and Windows 8 platforms. Their other specialities include:  Enterprise Mobile Strategy & Innovation, Internet of Things, M2M, Mobile Architecture, Mobile Governance, User Experience Design, Mobile Infrastructure & Security, iOS, Android, and HTML5 Applications, Mobile Testing & Support, Agile Transformation. They have won several awards in the USA .

The sessions will be conducted by:
 jschwanJ Schwan, the Founder and CEO of Solstice Mobile. He was recently inducted into the Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, was awarded the University of Illinois College of Engineering Young Alumnus of the Year award, was named one of Chicago’s Tech Week 100 and has had recent work inducted into the Computerworld Hall of Fame.


Angelique Rickhoff,

Angelique Rickhoff, User Experience Consultant at Solstice Mobile. She received an Associate’s Degree in Digital Design, a Bachelors in Interactive Media, and a Master in Human Computer Interaction. Her studies embodied coursework around visual design, ethnography, designing for accessibility, usability methods, and user research.


mark-wallaceMark Wallace, a management consultant focused on mobile and contextual technologies. He has deep experience in product management and implementation services in both the healthcare and financial industries. Mark has worked with several consumer-directed healthcare startups to build their products and launch. He also served as a lead on the Knowledge Management Team with Ernst & Young, developing intranet strategies for their domestic and international telecom partners.


“Rapid Experimentation and a Catalyst for Innovation”

Disruptive technologies continue to change expectations from already demanding consumers, forcing brands to create more contextually relevant experiences. But how does the enterprise keep up with these emerging technologies and focus in on which ones to harness? To be successful, brands need practices and methodologies that span the gap between short and long innovation horizons.

Join Solstice Founder and CEO, J Schwan, as he shares how rapid experimentation and lean prototyping are accelerating enterprise innovation.

“Lean UI/UX”

Stemming from the Lean Startup Movement, Lean UX advocates for trimming down traditional user experience methods so they can be applied effectively to a fast paced Agile environment. The key principles of Lean UX include early customer validation, collaborative design, solving user problems, measuring key performance indicators, applying appropriate tools, and nimble design. Lean UX provides “just enough” documentation to keep everyone on the same page and allowing the team to iterate as they learn more.

Join user experience expert Angelique Rickhoff from Solstice Mobile, as she shares how these approaches can be applied to your work.

To attend this event, RSVP HERE. (there are only 25 slots available)

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Epic replaces MapJam as Finalist in PIVOT East 2014

Finalist, PIVOT East

June 25, 2014

MapJam, previously announced as finalist of PIVOT East has been replaced by Epic from Kenya. Epic provides a three prong approach to moving the Media houses from in-effective shoot-and-miss online content delivery, to a structured measurable, cost-effective way of creating profitable digital content.

MapJam, a Kenyan startup  brings offline businesses and events online, making it possible for anyone to perform or to sell wherever they see fit, and to find the things or talents they are searching for, when & where they wish. PIVOT East organisers and MapJam have mutually agreed that the startup would not pitch at the finals for reasons touching on preparedness. This means that the startup in the waiting list of the entertainment category replaces MapJam according to the competition rules. In this case Epic has been the beneficiary of this competition rule.

Epic Application : Walkthrough from caesar tuva on Vimeo.

Epic will therefore join the competition against Ubongo Kids from Tanzania. Other competitors in this category are Muva Studios, Momentum Core and Safari Tales – all from Kenya. The pitching session is slotted for 11:30am on 25th June. Judges for this category will be Matthew Papakipos, Invested Development’s Sidd Goyal, TL Com Capital’s Andreata Muforo, Growth Africa’s Johnni Kjelsgaard and 88MPH’s Nikolai Bramwel.

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25 Exceptional Startups to Compete in PIVOT East 2014 Competition

Finalist, PIVOT East

May 27, 2014

25 exceptional mobile startups from across the region will compete to win market recognition and investor interest during the PIVOT East 2014 pitching conference which will be held on 24th – 25th June in Nairobi Kenya. The startups were unveiled today after an intense evaluation process by a panel involving over 20 investors. The 25 finalists, 5 from each category were selected from the 50 semifinalists announced three weeks ago The startups that have made it to the finals are;

[list type=”bullet”] [li]Finance category; Valuraha, Chamasoft and Chura from Kenya and Beyonic and  Ensibuuko from Uganda[/li] [li]Enterprise category; Thinvoid (Uganda), Online Hisab (Ethiopia), Buymore, ASim Mobile and Offers Africa from Kenya.[/li] [li]Entertainment category; Safari Tales, Muva Studios, Momentum Core and MapJam from Kenya and Ubongo from Tanzanai [/li] [li]Utilities category; Maramoja Transport, Gari Sms, Mavazi, Sendy and Mafundi from Kenya.[/li] [li]Society category; SokoNect, Totohealth, SokoText from Kenya and Zapmedic and Moquestions from Uganda. Here is the full list of the finalists with a brief description of their product.[/li] [/list]

Speaking on the list of finalists, Chase Bank Head of Brand and Corporate Affairs Magdalene Mulandi said: “Chase Bank is pleased be part of this innovative initiative. As the gold sponsors of the competition, we are happy to see the contestants present innovative and creative ideas that could transform the socio-economic development of the East African region. Chase Bank lauds the startups that made it to finals and we hope to walk with them as they pursue their dreams of being tech entrepreneurs.”

PIVOT East Banner

Out of the 25 startups that made it to the finalists, 18 are from Kenya. 5 of the startups are from Uganda. Tanzania and Ethiopia 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 in the category  drops out for any reason.  Startups in the waiting list are; Somo (Society), ParcelSolution (Utilities), Epic (Entertainment), RTSOP (Entreprise) and FarmDrive (Finance).

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, TBL Mirror Fund, Beyond Capital Fund, TLcom Capital LLP, and Village Capital. Other venture capital funds involved were Gray Ghost Ventures, Grameen Foundation Pioneer Fund,  ACCION’s venture labs, the Mara Ad-Venture Fund, and Invested Development.

The individual angel investors were from thriving startup ecosystems such as Silicon valley, Berlin, London and Singapore. Here is the full list of judges with brief descriptions about themselves.

The criteria used by the panelists startups helped to evaluate the startups’ purported customer pain, opportunity and customer segments, the solution and its fit to the problem, the revenue model, and analysis of the competitive landscape. Other selection criteria items helped to evaluate the calibre of the team and the startups’ focus to grow into sustainable enterprises. These included the team composition and commitment, current market traction, and projections for milestones and key metrics. Pitch videos and demo videos were also evaluated for seriousness and drive among the founders.

PIVOT East 2013 workshop at Kinu Hub in Tanzania

PIVOT East 2013 workshop at Kinu Hub in Tanzania

Finalists of the competition will receive training, coaching and mentorship in the weeks to come before the pitching conference. These pre-conference  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.

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.

In the previous editions, the competition has attracted support from different organizations across the region. Chase Bank is the gold sponsor for this year’s competition. The bank is commitment to support tech entrepreneurship in the region in an effort to spur the SME market to move with the new global market trends; that is digital and knowledge -based.

Other sponsors of the competition include; InfoDev, Motorola Solutions, Intel, Samsung and Facebook.

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