Video: Inuka Kenya winner first Startup Weekend Nairobi

The winning Inuka team with judge Kamal Budabhati (Craft Silicon) celebrating their first price.

The first Startup Weekend Nairobi has been won by Inuka Kenya, an online platform to connect non-tech entrepreneurs in Kenya. They were chosen by a experienced jury from a total of 14 entries. Since Friday evening about 90 starting entrepreneurs worked hard to get a demo of the idea ready for Sunday. ‘Who can best solve our problems in Kenya? The people who experience these problems every day,” said Linet Kwamboka, one of the organizers of the Startup Weekend Nairobi.

At the start of the 54-hour marathon about 56 participants pitched their ideas on Friday. From this group a selection was made and teams were formed. These are the ideas the wannabe entrepreneurs worked on:

Cloud Matatu – A mobile application to rate matatu’s (public transport) and report bad drivers.
Inuka – Entrepreneurship platform to connect Kenyans.
Pesa Rahisi – An online /mobile payment money transfer system that is cross platform and international.
Tusemezane – A two-way SMS platform for election communication by politicians.
PayRent – A mobile system based on Mpesa to pay rent.
MVerify – A platform to verify documents that include certificates, references, land title deeds.
Christian Dating site with a difference –  Dating site for Christians.
Masomo Moja –  Making education affordable and available for teachers, students and parents.
Jiamulie – Traffic prevention solution with features of crime reporting and information sourcing.
Patahao – Easy way to build/buy/rent houses according to your needs.
Success solutions – Advertisement space on idle computer screens.
iMedic – Patent status data capture and sharing tool.
iBambe – Facebook/mobile web for sharing playlists.
Darasani – Tutor support system.

The jury of the day, consisting out of Nancy Wang (Innovation for Africa), Mbugua Njihia, Kamal Budabhati (Craft Silicon), Eddy Verbeek (Florensis Kenya) and Johnni Kjelsgaard (Growth Africa), picked Inuka Kenya (‘inuka’ means ‘rising’ in Swahili) as the winning idea. According to judge Kamal Budabhati there is a big need in Kenya to connect entrepreneurs and share knowledge amongst them and that is exactly what Inuka wants to achieve.

“We want to offer entrepreneurs a networking platform where they can find mentors. We want to see them grow and get out of poverty”, said Jayne Du from Inuka. “Also, most platforms are really tech-focussed, but for instance agriculture is a much bigger sector here in Kenya”, she said. Her colleague Geoffrey Gitonga Wanjoi said that they will use the €500 prize to expand their operations.

According to organizer Linet Kwamboka the turnout to the event was much bigger than they expected. “On Friday we had about 120 people coming in and we listened to 56 pitches. They formed teams and they were writing code and designing. It was great to see them working hard to achieve their goals. I’m impressed!”

Ibambe, a streaming social music distributor with local artists, was rewarded with a honourable mention as they were second. The team gets 3 month incubation at the Growthhub, a new hub by Growth Africa to be opened in Nairobi in April. mVerify was acknowledged as most innovative project and ‘iMedic’ won the category of best demo during their pitch.

The Startup Weekend was organised by the Nailab, an incubator and accelerator next to the iHub, and Growth Africa. Taking lead was Linet Kwamboka, a tech event organiser. The general feeling amongst the organizers and participants was that this was the first of many Startup Weekends in Nairobi. Keep an eye on their website for the next edition!

Check out some pictures of the first edition of Startup Weekend Nairobi.