With entries for the 2018 Africa Top 30 Tech Start-Ups competition now closed and an expert judging panel evaluating the submissions, over 300 entrants from 36 African countries are now vying for their place among the continent’s most innovative young businesses.
‘The response has been excellent,’ tells Sandiso Sibisi, Open Innovation Africa Lead at Accenture SA. ‘We’ve had a huge number of entrants from across the African continent. Now we move into the judging phase, which is exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing which companies come out on top.’
Powered by Accenture Africa alongside publication partner Forbes, The Africa Top 30 Tech Start-Ups initiative is honing in on the continent’s tech superstars – the digital pioneers solving critical challenges with technology across Africa. The aim: to identify top-of-class, enterprise-proven start-ups solving the problems impacting business today.
On 20 August 2018, the competition was opened to start-ups from across Africa tackling the continent’s challenges in business, government, civil society and more. Winners will be shortlisted by November 30th and announced alongside the survey results in the Feb/Mar 2019 edition of Forbes Magazine.
To qualify, entering start-ups needed to be a registered African business in operation for less than 9 years, targeting and filling a significant market gap and demonstrating exponential growth.
Entrepreneurs from Nigeria topped out the list of entrants by numbers, followed by those from South Africa and Kenya, then Ghana and Cameroon. B2B2C companies also represented the majority of start-ups, followed by those with a focus on B2C, B2B and finally C2C. Communications, Media & High-Tech proved a major business focus, with Big Data & Analytics and Dev Tech & Automation the predominant foundation technologies.
A better life for all also proved a key concern among entrants, with many start-ups focusing on intelligently harnessing technological innovation to reduce inequality on the continent.
Winning entrepreneurs will attend an exclusive awards dinner in Johannesburg, where they will have the opportunity to meet with corporates and key stakeholders from across the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Winners will also be showcased online and in the media, and will have the unique opportunity to have their solutions showcased in Accenture’s Liquid Studio, attend client workshops, co-create solutions and pitch to prospective clients alongside Accenture’s project teams.
About the Top 30 Africa Top 30 Tech Start-Ups Initiative
Globally, players from business, civil society and government are realising the need to come together to solve the world’s increasingly complex social and business problems. And disruptive tech solution providers – those creating new ways of solving problems, supplying innovative products and offering faster development times and cost-effective delivery – are among the most pivotal players. Africa is no exception.
Against this backdrop, the Africa Top 30 Tech Start-Ups forms part of Accenture’s focus on open innovation. African start-ups often struggle to find an opportunity to integrate their products and services into established client value chains. Yet the right support opens doors to opportunities for value creation, benefiting Africa and all its people. Open innovation facilitates this process – allowing a path for collaboration between established businesses and innovative start-ups with great products but no direct route to market.
2018 Africa top 30 Tech Start-ups Judging panel
Avela Gronemeyer (Accenture) – Avela is an Associate Director within Accenture’s Health and Public Service (H&PS) Africa Practice and the Consulting Lead for H&PS Africa, including Digital Transformation and Innovation.
Charlotte Koep (4Di Capital) – Prior to joining 4Di Capital, Charlotte practiced corporate, commercial and finance law at prominent South African law firm Bowmans, bringing with her strong entrepreneurial expertise.
Claudia Makadristo (Seedstars) – Angolan-born Claudia Makadristo is Regional Manager for Africa at Seedstars, a global investment firm that connects and invests in top seed-stage start-ups in emerging markets.
Clive Butkow (Kalon Ventures) – Former Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Accenture South Africa, Clive has 28 years management consulting experience. During his tenure at Accenture he played numerous leadership roles, including Managing Director of Accenture’s Technology business as well as Managing Director of Accenture’s Resources business. Clive is currently the CEO of Kalon Venture Partners, a disruptive digital technology Venture Capital Fund.
Fred Smith (Accenture) – Fred’s experience includes eight years with SAP in various roles, including as Sales and Operations Director – Africa Region, and most recently, over nine years with Accenture. Currently, he is a Managing Executive for strategic accounts and Africa Market Unit Sales Lead.
Greg Cress (Accenture) – Greg is Digital Lead for the Telecommunications and Media Industry at Accenture South Africa, delivering digital transformation projects in Experience Innovation, Applied Intelligence and IT transformation solutions for Southern African telco and media operators. Greg is also a leading advocate for Futures Thinking and technology disruption.
Retsy Holliday (Accenture) – Retsy is Innovation Partner Manager for Accenture Federal Services (AFS), managing the partner ecosystem and connecting partners to account teams across AFS. Prior to joining AFS, Retsy worked in Uganda for Unreasonable East Africa, an incubator whose mission is to accelerate the growth of high-impact start-ups that contribute to the growth of East Africa’s emerging markets.
Marcello Schermer (Yoco) – Marcello is in charge of international expansion at Yoco, one of Africa’s leading fintech start-ups. Yoco helps over 30,000 SMEs in South Africa thrive by helping them manage payments.
Prashant Prakash (Accenture) – Prashant leads Accenture’s Financial Services Technology business in Africa. Having joined Accenture in 2012, he has worked across the Technology, Retail, Consumer Goods and Financial Services areas and held multiple roles – Value Architect, Sales Lead, Client Account Lead and Blockchain Practice Lead.
Thomas van Halen (V4CA) – With more than 8 years’ experience in emerging markets, Thomas heads VC4A’s investor services, connecting a global network of early-stage investors actively investing in sub-1 million enterprises.