M-SCAN, a Ugandan company that specialises in developing portable mobile ultrasound devices (Ultrasonic probes), was crowned as Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup at TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018, held in Lagos, Nigeria on 11 December.
Bettr, a virtual banking experience powered by the smartphone and data emerged runner-up.
TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018, sponsored by Facebook, sought to find Sub-Saharan Africa’s best innovators, makers, and technology entrepreneurs.
Leveraging on the success of last year’s event in Nairobi, Kenya, the second edition of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa exceeded the breakthrough and success of last year’s event.
Fifteen African companies were shortlisted from hundreds of entries and competed to be chosen as Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup. The overall winning startup’s founders will be awarded US$25,000 in cash plus a trip for two to compete in Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt in 2019. This is a valuable boost for the winner in a continent where funding—particularly venture capital investment—is in short supply.
Since 2007, 778 Battlefield startups have raised a collective $8.5 billion in funding after launching on stage, with a total of 105 exits. In the past year, TechCrunch has held Startup Battlefield across the globe in cities including Sao Paulo, Beirut, Sydney and Nairobi. In Startup Battlefield Africa, M-SCAN follows in the footsteps of the 2017 winner, Lori Systems, which has significantly grown revenue, headcount and geographical reach since competing in the event. Hailing from Kenya, Lori Systems have built a logistics platform that is revolutionizing the cargo-transport value chain in Africa.
“Africa’s tech ecosystems is really coming into its own as successful entrepreneurs scale up their businesses and achieve good exits and IPOs. The strength of the entries for this year’s Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 confirms that there is no shortage of creative inventors, makers, and entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Mike Butcher, Editor at Large, TechCrunch.
“We are excited to showcase great startups that not only have the potential to produce an exit in the years to come but which are also using technology to solve real-world problems in innovative ways, from healthcare to financial inclusion. There is some world-class technology coming out of Africa, which promises to help drive prosperity across the continent and position it as an important player in the digital economy of the future.”
At Facebook, nothing excites us more than supporting the work of diverse talent and young businesses, so we have been thrilled to see some of Africa’s innovative and disruptive startups tell their stories at Startup Battlefield 2018,” says Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Developer Programmes. “I’m excited to see these startups flourish and provide truly Pan-African and global solutions for the future”
The other startups pitching were:
Apollo Agriculture: Leverages advances in machine learning, remote imaging via satellite and mobile money to deliver input finance and agronomic advice to smallholder farmers with radical efficiency and scalability.
Sudpay: Developed an integrated, multi-support, multi-service and multi-operator digital tax collection platform that connects merchants to financial institutions.
LabTech: UriSAF by LabTECH is a urine testing hardware and software solution designed to speed up the diagnosis of Uterine Tract Infections (UTIs).
Complete Farmer: A “crowd-farming” platform that enables users to invest in sustainable farms and monitor farming activities without discarding their daily routine using data-driven cultivation protocols and IoT-enabled precision farming.
FoodHubs: Uses mobile solar-powered cold carts and cold rooms to help smallholder farmers store their produce, so as to avoid post-harvest losses.
Honey Flow Africa: Optimizes beekeeping operations by digitizing and bringing the power of IoT to the beekeeping process to improve honey production, processing, and predictability.
Agripredict: Provides farmers with tools that equip them with information that will improve predicting disease, pest infestations, and extreme weather conditions.
MAX: Transforms moto-taxi mobility in Africa using mobile apps, inclusive data-driven asset-finance and a comprehensive driver on-boarding program that uses machine learning and psychometric tests to profile drivers and create credit scores for them. MAX enables financial inclusion for drivers, prioritizes safety and uses IoT technology to track all drivers in real time.
CodeLn: An end-to-end technical recruitment platform that automates the entire recruitment process, making it fast and easy for companies to find and test Software Developers and reduce the risk of bad hires.
Bankly: An innovative financial product focused on reaching the unbanked in Africa, in a “Recharge to Save” model. Bankly developed a cash-digitization payment and savings products, in which users pay using Bankly vouchers.
Powerstove Energy: The world’s first clean cookstove with built-in self-powered IoT System for real-time monitoring. Its 100 percent smokeless biomass cookstove cooks food faster and burns 70 times less fuel using processed proprietary water-resistant Goodlife Biomass Pellets produced from forest and agricultural waste.
Pineapple: A fully decentralized insurer. With Pineapple, members pay premiums into their own wallets rather than a central pot. When claims occur, they are distributed to all wallets in the community, which collectively help pay for the claim.
Trend Solar: Assimilated a 4G Android Smartphone and Solar Home System to provide affordable access to energy, internet, and mobile in an all-in-one solution that seeks to address the needs of 640 million+ people currently living off-grid in Sub-Saharan Africa.