Africa’s best tech entrepreneurs: 3 weeks left to apply for DEMO Africa

DEMO Africa - applicants 2013
DEMO Africa 2013 will launch 40 of the most innovative startups in Africa and highlight some of the best new technology innovations from across the continent. You have until the end of July to apply! Applications are handled by VC4Africa. David van Dijk, VC4Africa’s Director of Entrepreneurship Development, gives an update and shares some last tips for those who want to apply!

How many and what kind of entrepreneurs have applied so far to launch their products and services at DEMO Africa 2013?

“We see some SUPER exciting plans and products and technologies. I promise you an inspiring event in October with a lot of entrepreneurs making headlines. Even more so than last year this will be a pan-African event and the standard will be super high!

So far we have received over 150 applications, from 22 countries. Close to 40 entrepreneurs have unlocked the DEMO Badge – meaning they meet the application requirements. We expect at least another 100 applicants the coming weeks and it wouldn’t surprise me if the total number of applicants that meet the requirement will be more than 150. Once the application closes the jury will select the 40 best-of-the-best to join us in Nairobi, October 24-25, to present their plans to an audience of international technology movers and shakers as well as investors.”

What would be your tips for entrepreneurs who want to apply?

“First of all I would recommend everyone to just go for it. Sometimes I talk to young entrepreneurs who are not sure if they are ready or good enough, but applying is easy and I would let the jury decide if you are ready and good enough. DEMO means great exposure, meeting the really inspiring people, gaining experience in pitching standing in front of investors and shaking hands with some top business people and fellow entrepreneurs.

Second: don’t wait, apply now! Even though you can apply in a few clicks you will want your profile to stand-out from the rest. Making a solid presentation, adding your team members, adding that snappy video, etcetera, does require efforts. Better to take your time and add to your profile until it looks the way you want to present it to the judges. Afterall, they will select based on the venture profiles.”

What will happen after the application deadline?

“The jury will select the 40 best of the best. More info about pitch training, coaching and the like for the selected entrepreneurs will be announced soon.”

What makes DEMO Africa so special?

“There are a number of great events that are happening in Africa nowadays; Pivot East, Tech4Africa, and many more. These events are critical for getting these entrepreneurs into the spotlight, the chance to build stage presence and getting that direct feedback and critical questions for improvement. These events confirm the market is growing and and I think we can use them all and more. DEMO builds on such a strong international experience with over 20 years of DEMO events around the world and the companies that launched for the very first time at a DEMO events are just so inspiring, who doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of Adobe, Salesfore, TiVO and so many others.

Could you share some success stories from last year?

“There is too much to mention! Just take a look at the 40 entrepreneurs selected for last year’s event. Since the event they have closed around US$ 8 million in investments, business deals and partnerships. Five out of the 40 companies that launched will be going to participate at DEMO Silicon Valley in October 2013, when the new selected entrepreneurs will present at DEMO Africa 2013 in Nairobi. For a few highlights we were able to document check out interviews with SOKO, m-Kazi, TaxTim, mPawa, and see the Global Top 50 entrepreneurs, to name a few examples.”

Check out here who’s in the race so far. For more information, see previous articles with more info on criteria and why to apply, and also see the DEMO Africa website. To apply to launch at DEMO Africa 2013, visit www.demoafrica2013.com. Deadline for applications is July 31st 2013.