Seedstars World, the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup ecosystems, brought its third pre-selection round to a successful close during Seedstars Soweto, targeting startups in the Gauteng area.
The event took place at the eKasi Labs in Soweto, where 11 selected startups were invited to present their ideas in front of a jury panel, which included IT News Africa’s Founder and Managing Director, Abe Wakama.
The South African competition is supported by Standard Bank, who will further support the startups on their path to success.
The top three startups from the Soweto leg to advance to the grand finale are UmoyAir Communications, who provide free calls from mobile phones to any number without airtime or data, Riovic, a digital and P2P insurance platform backed by a crowdfunded marketplace and Sortd, a communication-centric organizer that transforms email and instant messaging into a set of organized to-do lists. The other startups invited to pitch were DroneSnap, BOTTLES, Zula Afrika, Masokko, Black Industrialists (Pty) Ltd, Pinard Aéronautique, GEM Payment Services and GoldPay
“We are super excited to win the SSW Soweto and are looking forward to the national event on the 30th of June at the Standard Bank Incubator. We sincerely believe that participation in the Seedstars World program will open many doors and new opportunities for our company.” says Khaya Cokoto, Co-Founder of Umoyair.
The top three startups will be invited to Johannesburg where they will compete with the best startups from Cape Town and Durban, of which one will be crowned the most promising seed-stage startup of Seedstars World South Africa 2016. As a part of the prize, the overall winner of South Africa will be participating at Seedstars Summit, taking place in Switzerland in April 2017, a weeklong training program with the opportunity to meet the other 60+ winners, as well as investors and mentors from around the world. Traditionally, the final day of the Summit will be dedicated to pitching in front of an audience of 1000 attendees, with the possibility of winning up to USD 1 million in equity investment.
“This was the last South African event before we invite the 9 best startups from across the country to our grand final in Johannesburg on June 30th. Soweto impressed us with their innovative startups that tackle real issues across the country and the continent and we’re confident that they have what it takes to take the win home on June 30th.” says Marcello Schermer, Regional Manager for Africa.
The 11 startups pitched in front of a jury that consisted of Linda Swart, Incubation Manager at Standard Bank, Clive Butkow, Chief Executive Officer at Grotech, Ogone Ntwae, Innovation and R&D Specialist at the Innovation Hub, Abe Wakama, Founder/MD at IT News Africa, Lusapho Njengem, Chief Strategy and Information at Seda and Selam Kebede, Senior Associate at Seedstars World.
In order to provide local entrepreneurs with this opportunity and aiming to deliver the best possible event, Seedstars World is closely working with Standard Bank, who is supporting the initiative in South Africa throughout the year.
“Seedstars provides us with an amazing platform to recognise the startup talent across the continent. Last year Johannesburg produced the global winner Giraffe Jobs. We have no doubt that this year’s inclusion of both Soweto and Durban will highlight more talent across South Africa. We look forward to celebrating the top startups and we hope to find another global winner at the finals later this month.” says Jayshree Naidoo, Head of Incubator at Standard Bank.
In addition, Entrepreneur Traction acts as the local ambassador across the continent and will represent the initiative throughout the year. Other partners include local and international organizations, such as Omidyar Network, Payfast, Glocell and eKasi Labs. In addition, Seedstars World has partnered with TRECC to bring the “Transforming Education Prize”, which will award the best startup in the education space from around the world with a prize of over USD 50,000.
Continuing on its world tour of startup ecosystems in emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes, Seedstars World’s next stop is Johannesburg, where winners of the preselection in Cape Town, Durban and Soweto will be invited to compete at the grand final to become the national winner of South Africa.
The Seedstars World South Africa final event in Johannesburg will take place on Friday, June 30th from 4-9PM. Tickets are limited and attendees can register here.