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MEST Africa, Microsoft Unveil Pan-African Startup Pitch Winners

By Dipo Olowookere

Regional winners have emerged in the annual Pan-African pitch competition organised by MEST Africa in collaboration with Microsoft.

A statement issued by the organisers disclosed that five promising start-ups from across Africa were chosen, moving one step closer to winning $50,000 in equity investment, a place in the MEST Africa incubator of their choice and global mentorship to help their company scale.

Winners will pitch on a global stage in the finals at the 4th MEST Africa Summit, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, June 10-12.

Out of nearly 1000 applicants from across the continent, 10 finalists were chosen to pitch at the regional finals in Accra, Lagos, Nairobi, Cape Town and Abidjan, held February 27-28.

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From Nigeria, AMPZ.TV, the ‘LinkedIn for Sports’ was chosen for developing the next generation of Etos, Drogbas and Aubameyangs through technology.

OZÉ, a data insights company from Ghana was picked. The firm helps businesses make data-driven financial decisions and achieve growth to improve performance, while Snode Technologies, a platform that provides real-time cyber security for individuals and businesses in South Africa made the list.

Also on the list is Kenya’s WayaWaya, a fintech company that provides seamless transactions into and within Africa for individuals and businesses, with the last being Cote d’Ivoire’s Seekewa, a financing platform that allows Internet users and companies from all over the world to support small agricultural projects in Africa through a voucher system.

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MEST Africa’s Managing Director, Aaron Fu, said: “The winning start-ups stood out as a result of their impressive revenue growth and potential for expansion. There has been a growing number of companies who have managed to scale in a variety of sectors; so this investment will be vital in aiding these companies to join this expanding group.”

With impressive attendance in each region, judges for the regional finals included industry leaders such as Kola Aina, Founding Partner at Ventures Platform and Soromfe Uzomah Head of Strategic Partnerships (Africa Initiatives – 4Afrika) at Microsoft.

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A judge at the Accra regional finals, Abdul Latif Issahaku, Data & Devices Manager at MTN Ghana and Shaper & Founding Curator at the World Economic Forum, said of the competition, “Amazing talent exhibited by the participating scale-up companies. I am thrilled to find new and exciting business models emerging from the pitches. These will definitely make waves in the future.”

The success of last year’s MEST Africa Summit, which took place in Cape Town, has raised anticipation for this year’s Summit in Nairobi, set to attract Pan-African investors, corporate executives and key members of the African tech ecosystem.

The winner of the finals will be the second company to join MEST Africa’s portfolio without going through the MEST Training Program. They will join last year’s winner, Nigeria’s smart accounting platform Accounteer, who has since gone on to expand into Kenya and raise additional funding.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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