A record 300 technology startups from 24 African countries have applied to launch at this year’s DEMO Africa Conference, the first Pan-African launch pad for emerging technologies and trends, to be held in Nairobi in October.
Speaking after the official closing of the three-moth application period, Harry Hare, the Executive Producer of DEMO Africa noted that 2013 had seen 100 more companies register than in 2012 when 150 startups applied for the top 40 positions to launch at the DEMO Africa stage.
“We are excited that this phase of the DEMO Africa initiative has been successful, now the hard work of adjudication and selecting the most innovative technology startups in the continent starts,” said Hare.
At each DEMO event, hand-selected class of new products is introduced to the world for the very first time to global press and prolific bloggers, investors, corporate acquirers, strategic partners and buyers.
“We have seen excellent applications this year around and the competition for the 40 positions will be tight,” said Ben White, the Founder and Director at VC4Africa the platform partners for DEMO Africa. “The judges have their work cut out,” he continued. The adjudication process has begun, and the announcement of the final 40 startups to launch at DEMO will be announced in the first week of September.
“We now embark on the selection process, but first we need to clean up all the applications and make sure the judges receive only those that are eligible, and plan to have the final 40 within a month,” Mr. Hare said.
Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana produced most of the applications with Kenya submitting 73 applications, Nigeria presented 50 and South Africa forwarded 33 applications. These are said to be the technology hotspots in Africa. Ghana and Egypt each forwarded 19 applications.
It is estimated that the last class has generated about US$8m in either investment, business or partnerships.
Each year, over 2,500 people from around the globe attend DEMO to experience innovation at its birth. DEMO Africa is the flagship initiative of the Liberating Innovation in Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA) partnership, an innovative new partnership aimed at enhancing and deepening startup and innovation ecosystems of fast-growing African economies.