The MEST Africa Challenge is the first Pan-African pitch competition hosted by MEST, which gives applicants the opportunity to vie for a trip to Cape Town to pitch at the finals during the MEST Africa Summit and a chance at up to $50k in equity investment.
The challenge kicked off in April. After receiving over 800 impressive applications through our recruiting partners VC4A from the continent’s most exciting tech startups, the top 32 finalists — 8 from each of the following regions: South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana — were selected to face off in regional competitions over the last few weeks.
These finalists pitched in front of a board of experienced judges to prove they’ve found product market fit and are well positioned to scale into new African markets. After an incredible demonstration of innovation and technology, one winner from each of the four regions was selected and will be flown to Cape Town for the final competition on June 20th, at the MEST Africa Summit.
The Summit, in partnership with Facebook, MTN Merck and GHL Bank, is in its third year and will bring together leading global investors, entrepreneurs and executives in African tech to discuss trends impacting the continent. One representative from each winning regional startup will be flown to South Africa via MEST partner RwandAir on their new Kigali to Cape Town route and pitch to a crowd of leading global industry leaders, investors and fellow entrepreneurs during the finals.
The MEST Africa Challenge Finalists
The first to compete will be Cowtribe, a subscription service based in Ghana which allows farmers to schedule and receive veterinary treatment for livestock. Their system tracks the health statistics of each animal, reminds the farmer when it is time for the animals to receive vaccines and then facilitates the logistics and supply processes to reliably deliver these vaccines. Since its inception in 2016 Cowtribe has aided over 29,000 farmers and 240,000 animals throughout 119 remote communities, effectively removing barriers between farmers and the veterinary treatments they require in order to raise healthy livestock.
Representing Kenya is fintech company Data Integrated Limited. Specialized in developing end-to-end, customized, enterprise payment solutions for African SMEs. With the mission of automating payment services through an integrated, reliable, secure and easy to use platform, Data Integrated Limited is connecting “the street” with “high finance” and solving the first mile of financial inclusion.
Through three product lines, DIL is able to service transportation companies, retail businesses, and food establishments. The company reinvests the majority of gross revenue into growing their reach, ensuring the fulfillment of their mission, and advancing sustainable development goals such as promoting gender equality and empowering women.
From South Africa comes agriculture platform swiftVEE, an app available for Android and IOS, that puts easy livestock and agricultural trading at the fingertips of its users. Their goal is to bring the agri-sector into industry 4.0 by offering substantial profit margins that facilitate sustainability and social impact, and to address water scarcity, food security, and trade vulnerability in the livestock sector by providing the technology to enhance market efficiency and meet these challenges. SwiftVEE has been recognized internationally for technology innovation and shortlisted as one of South Africa’s top 100 most innovative companies.
Rounding out the final four is Accounteer, a smart cloud accounting site from Nigeria that allows businesses to professionalize and automate the financial administration of their organization. On this platform users can create invoices, track expenses and follow up on their finances with ease while the integration of external services like banks, e-invoicing platforms and e-commerce means that all financial needs of a business can be solved in one place. Acounteer also allows accountants to collaborate in real time with clients, save time, and provide better financial insights.