For the first time, TechCrunch will host its Startup Battlefield competition in Africa in an event that will go live on October 11 in Nairobi. The event will offer an opportunity for startups to walk away with USD 25,000 in non-equity funding, among other additions like getting a chance to take part in TechCrunch’s top-of-the-line event, Disrupt, that will take place in 2018.
Battlefield Africa will be sponsored by Facebook as the competition looks forward to selecting Sub-Saharan Africa’s best entrepreneurs, innovators and makers. Startup applications, which have since closed, are pegged on three categories: social good, utility and productivity, gaming and entertainment. Successful applicants have probably been notified, and participation will take place in front of a live audience and judges.
Speaking of judges, it has been confirmed that the program will include Naspers’ ShowMax Africa Head Chris Savides, IFC Senior Investment Officer Wale Ayeni, Nataal founder Helen Jennings, MEST MD Aaron Fu, and Agile Venture Capital founding partner Shuonan Chen.
It should be noted that other issues will be covered, including how the continent is tackling its challenges and leveraging opportunities to spur a vibrant information technology ecosystem. Admittedly, Sub-Saharan Africa is packed with potential that has been manifested in mobile fintech innovations, agritech, to mention a few. By doing so, these startups have demonstrated their abilities in offering solutions to existing problems, and that accomplishment has been met through low-cost mobile applications rather than spending fortunes on capital-intensive web apps. While connectivity options and mobile phone penetration are not at their peak, a lot of people have access to them, which is why mobile applications make sense.
Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore will also be part of the event, where he will address the audience about how Africa is tackling connectivity issues. BRCK’s Erik Herseman will also talk about connectivity issues, and possible solutions that startups can adopt to manage the situation. At the same time, Jumia CEO Sacha Poignonnec dive into key insights on what it took to build a $1-billion-dollar company.
The event will be streamed on Facebook.