After almost a year, the Pitch Storm stage at Techpoint Build will once again be lit up. This time, with exciting pitches and faces from across West Africa.
Pitch Storm happens to be one of the core segments of Techpoint Build, where selected startups get to pitch to a panel of judges and for the 2019 edition, one will deservedly walk home with $10,000 prize money.
For Pitch Storm 2019, the best amongst the best have been chosen from countries across West Africa, including Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sierra Leone.
Outside Nigeria finalists
In countries outside Nigeria (except Ghana), Techpoint had to work with local partners, who organised their respective preliminaries for Pitch Storm.
The Senegal competition was held on the 29th of November courtesy of Impact Dakar. Although there were 35 entries, it was Oniriq that emerged winner.
- Oniriq (Energy) prides itself in combining solar with digital technologies. A typical Oniriq device (Solarbox) offers solar energy to off-grid populations, high-speed internet, IPTV, 24-inch TV set and three sets of lamps for a monthly subscription fee.
Thanks to The Global Entrepreneurship Network Sierra Leone (GEN SL), Sierra Leone hosted an amazing pitch competition with a “get in the ring” format on the 15th of November. The margin between the top three was just whiskers but Agro fish farm won the heart of the judges.
- Agro fish farm (Agritech) is addressing the issue of malnutrition by providing digitally bred table-sized fishes and fingerlings as commercially viable alternatives to regular fishes in the country.
Also held on the 29th of November was the Pitch Storm Abidjan, courtesy of the good people at Incubivoir.
In Côte d’Ivoire, more than 6.4 million traders are struggling to demonstrate their value creation, as the existing management tools are too sophisticated and unsuited to their level of education. This is the problem the winner of Pitch Storm Abidjan, Keiwa is attempting to solve.
- Keiwa (Financial Tech) offers a unique proposition of providing a simple and accessible management tool while promoting access to financial products.
In the month of September, Techpoint embarked on a tour of West Africa. During the Ghana stop, we came by an interesting educational startup. While we considered the startup fit for Pitch Storm, upon our return we carried out due diligence on them.
Our sentiments matched our results and we decided to give Codetrain the Ghana spot at Pitch Storm 2019.
- Codetrain (Education) trains young individuals on how to code and then matches them to reputable tech companies across the continent.
In typical fashion, we received an overwhelming number of applications when it came to the Nigerian entries.
The first screening exercise, which was to scale down the entries to 16, was conducted in-house by selected Techpoint team members.
We then presented this list to an independent panel of judges comprising of Olufunbi Falayi, co-founder Passion Incubator, Damilola Thompson, Senior Corporate Counsel at EchoVC and Lekan Olude, co-founder at Jobberman.
The selection committee met physically at the Techpoint HQ on Saturday, 15th of December and, after a two-hour period of intense deliberation, came up with the following nominations.
- Power stove (Energy): a social enterprise that innovates smart energy products and services that improve lives on a global scale. They’ve developed a product line of smart clean cooking technologies that is smokeless, said to cook food 5x faster — while reducing fuel use by 70% — and eliminating toxic emissions.
- Wellnewme (Health): is working to prevent the risk factors that are responsible for majorly cardiovascular diseases and stroke (which presumably are the leading causes of deaths) amongst adults in Nigeria. They are able to assess the health risks of individuals using an algorithm approach that spans physical, psycho-social and environmental domains and provide advice on all the key drivers of well-being, health and productivity.
- Estate Intel Limited (Real Estate): is trying to build the Bloomberg Terminal for African real estate, because of the perceived lack of centralised and actionable data on the most important commercial real estate market indicators for effective decision making.
- SPUNVERTEK ENTERPRISE (Energy): A renewable energy technology developer that has supposedly innovated the only sustainable solar water pump inverter that can power any type of conventional submersible and surface water pump for irrigation farming, public and community water supply and Livestock.
- HubbonNG (Logistics and Transportation): is simply building an Uber for Logistics. Its solution to logistics is 3-fold; an on-demand delivery booking platform, a business directory and a Logistics Management System.
- HelpMum (Health) is a maternal and child healthcare organisation that combats women and child health challenges in Africa. It sells inexpensive, sterilised birth kits containing 11 essential supplies required at childbirth to ensure a clean, safe and hygienic delivery.
- Natterbase (Service): is a talent accelerator platform that enables companies to hire and manage developers from anywhere in the world to meet their software needs.
Oh, and one more startup….
A day before the selection committee met, 14th of December to be precise, Techpoint hosted its Pitch Friday end-of-year get together. There, the final Pitch Storm slot, which was reserved for one deserving startup from the Pitch Friday community, was announced. That slot went on to:
- Foodlocker, a foodstuff and grocery (eCommerce/retail) startup based in Ibadan that is averaging $30k monthly revenue with an interesting business model.
In all, 12 startups will be competing at the Pitch Storm stage come January 2019.
It is important to stress that visible traction, well-identified customer base and a solid revenue were paramount in deciding startups that made it to the grand finale.
As part of their preparations towards Pitch Storm at Techpoint Build 2019, the above startups will be bracing up for a bootcamp.
Congratulations to the finalists and may the force be with them all.