Demo Africa, a firm that runs pitching contests for African tech companies in search of investment and exposure, has selected the five best startups that will travel to Silicon Valley as part of the Lions Africa Innovation Tour.
The five startups included Ghanaian agritech company Complete Farmer, Egyptian medicine delivery service Chefaa, Moroccan logistics management platform Kourtim, Tunisian mobility startup Hawkar, and Nigerian B2B currency exchange marketplace VertoFX, according to Africabusinesscommunities.
The five successful startups emerged from a final group of 30 startups that pitched at the firm’s annual conference in Casablanca, Morocco earlier this month.
The 30 finalists made it to Demo Africa’s seventh annual conference by excelling at local pitch events held across the continent.
In addition to the five winners who will visit Silicon Valley, the French Development Agency (AFD) recognized Tunisia’s Toufoula Kids and Hawkar, as well as Ivorian agritech startup WeflyAgri with awards, according to Ventureburn.
The three startups will attend this year’s edition of the Emerging Valley and Social Inclusive Business Camp thanks to a full scholarship from the AFD.
Ahead of the conference in Demo Africa conference this month, the startups were put through virtual and physical bootcamps that were designed to prepare them for the stakeholder engagements at the conference.
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Demo Africa runs various pitching competitions and connects African startups to global tech investors and stakeholders.
It is one of the flagship initiatives of Lions Africa and aims to connect African startups to the global ecosystem.
Lions Africa is a public-private partnership launched by the U.S. Department of State to tap the startup and innovation ecosystems of targeted fast-growing African economies.
At the conference, Demo Africa launched a $100 million fund through investment arm, Demo Ventures, which will be dedicated to supporting African tech startups, according to Techmoran.
The Nairobi-based investment management company will raise and manage the $100 million fund with the aim of assisting early stage and growth startups across Africa.
Having been involved in the support and mentorship of more than 3,000 early stage startups over the last six years, Demo Africa helped those businesses to raise over $60 million for their growth and operation.
The five countries that the new $100 million fund will focus on includes Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, according to Ventureburn.
Demo Africa have a track record of success, with alumni including Soko, Flowgear, Spacepointe, Zuvaa, Weza Tele, and Chura.
Soko is a jewelry e-commerce platform that empowers artisans in East Africa. It works with the United Nations and Hollywood celebrities.
Weza Tele, a Kenya-based fintech startup, was bought in 2015 by financial services giant AFB for $1.7 million, according to Disrupt Africa. At the time it was the largest acquisition in Kenya’s history of startup acquisitions.
SpacePointe is a Nigerian tech startup that helps African small and medium enterprises to increase their bottom line revenue in their offline and online market channels. In 2016 the company raised $1.2 million in funding from numerous investors.