Meet the 5 African entrepreneurs who are among the 20 finalists in the worldwide startup competition Seedstars World: VC4Africa members Jooist, RetailTower and SimplePay – and GustPay and Foyo! This Tuesday night, in a grand finale in Switzerland, the Seedstars World winner will be announced. Nearly a thousand startups from all across the world applied. The final winner will receive an equity investment of up to $500k, and be crowned “Best Startup In The World”. The VC4Africa community wishes the 5 listed African startups the best of luck and success!!
Criteria to enter the competition were as follows: less than $500k capital; maximum 2 years since founding date and a product that is up and running on the market; global project, potentially scalable at an international level.
Jooist is a social gaming network for mobile phones. They were selected as one of the DEMO Africa 2013 finalists. Jooist enables users to discover games, play with friends, compare scores and share achievements. Check out their VC4Africa venture profile.
SimplePay is Nigeria’s number one payment processing platform. It can be used from PCs or web-enabled mobile phones. Check out their VC4Africa venture profile.
Gust is a quick and easy mobile payment experience. Pay with your smartphone or NFC wristband. Designed and built in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
The Foyo Group forms part of the kLab innovation hub in Kigali, Rwanda. Foyo develops mobile applications and provides consultancy management services.
“Silicon Valley is not the only place in the world where talented entrepreneurs hide” says Alisee de Tonnac, cofounder of Seedstars World. “All entrepreneurs, no matter where they come from deserve a chance to thrive. Many of the projects we’ve seen are fantastic, they have a viable business model that not only works in their local market but also may serve as a global product. Those, we believe, are the leading companies of tomorrow.” Seedstars World focuses on fast-growing markets and emerging startup scenes because there is a tremendous amount of untapped, and global, opportunities and passionate entrepreneurs waiting to be discovered.
The Seedstars World team travelled to 20 different countries in 2013 to bring the best entrepreneurs to the grand finale in Switzerland. In each of the 20 countries, an exclusive one-day pitching event was organized, supported by local incubators and other partners, followed by an acceleration and coaching program for the winners. In Switzerland, the 20 regional winners get a bootcamp with international entrepreneurs, companies and accelerators. And on Tuesday night, February 4th, the winner will be announced!
Want to enter next year’s Seedstars World competition?
Simeon Ononobi, CEO of SimplePay, gives you a tip: “Get your pitch ready, it’s just 6 minutes and must contain all relevant information. I know it’s a great event and you can grow from the exposure you get. We need to take Africa higher and rightfully contribute to the world economy. You can drop me a line and I will send you our pitch, maybe that will help.”
He adds what he hopes to get out of the bootcamp and the Seedstars World event in Geneva: “Learn, learn and more learning. And as for the main event, I hope to get funding and capacity to expand operations.” RetailTower co-founders Bayuo Blaise and Isaac Nortey agree: “We hope to meet, share, learn and network with other startups and investors at this event.”
To the other Seedstars World contestants, SimplePay CEO Ononobi shares: “Congrats and keep doing what you are doing! We all can change the world, create more jobs and help our various economies by providing world class solutions.” RetailTower co-founders Blaise and Nortey add: “Take advantage of this opportunity to showcase your startup to prospective partners, investors and the startup community in Europe.”
They also have no problem telling what makes them fit for possibly winning the title “Best Startup of the World”. RetailTower’s co-founders Bayuo Blaise and Isaac Nortey explain: “Over the past two years RetailTower has evolved from a concept or proto-type to a platform that supports thousands of businesses around the world to sell more online. Our aim is to become an integral part of the eCommerce value chain. Presently we help approximately 13,000 small and medium online retailers around the world to increase their sales. ”
SimplePay’s CEO Simeon Ononobi tells: “We have a solution that addresses loads of problems in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world. We constantly improve our solutions to provide aid in all aspects of financial and technological needs. We have created loads of solutions for personal use, merchants, and have also created tailored made solutions for schools, hotels and organizations. We constantly listen to our users and clients and create solutions based on needs.”
Also see the Seedstars World website. Which of the startups listed above do you think is the most disruptive? Do you think one of Africa’s startups is the “Best Startup in the World”? We invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below!