The seventh edition of the AfricArena Grand Summit which took place from 5 – 6 December 2023 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, concluded with an exciting awards ceremony; culminating AfricArena’s year-long search for Africa’s top tech startups who are poised to lead the African continent forward into the digital revolution.
Over the two-day summit, 35 of Africa’s top tech startups from each of Africa’s four regions, Southern Africa, East Africa, North Africa and West Africa engaged in several rounds of intense pitch battles to secure a win that will catapult their startups into visibility and secure much needed funding to expand their burgeoning tech empires.
Investors were impressed with the quality of tech startups participating in the Grand Summit and the judging juries had a tough time deciding on the winners.
Ayanda Dlamini, HeartFM radio presenter, stepped onto the Grand Summit stage as Master of Ceremonies and announced the start of the awards ceremony.
Sthe Shabangu, Head of Public Relations at AWS Sub-Saharan Africa, Christophe Viarnaud, founder and CEO at AfricArea and AfricArena Program Manager Nathaniel Witbooi announced the winners, acknowledging that the founders who poured their hearts into pitching their innovative startups before a room of investors are the stars of the show. Viarnaud acknowledged AWS and the amazing support they provide to the entire ecosystem. Each startup winner received up to $25 000 in AWS Activate credits.
AWS in collaboration with AfricArena has this year, awarded a total of $1.8 million in AWS Activate credits to startups who participated in the regional rounds.
Shabangu said, “It has been an amazing journey, and AWS is honoured to collaborate with AfricArena. We’ve been watching the startups pitch over the past two days. As the three-minute clock ticked, we got nervous as we wanted the startups to succeed against all the odds. The startups’ tenacity has paid off handsomely for them. We look forward to a long, fruitful collaboration with AfricArena.”
AfricArena’s overall top seven amazing African tech startup winners for 2023 are as follows:
Best Sustainable Materials Start-Up (powered by Saint-Gobain): LolaGreen (Co-founders Ndivho Mamphiswana and Matimba Mabonda; South Africa)
Best Deep Tech, Science & Innovation Startup: (powered by Savant): Amnova Tech (Denislav Marinov, founder; South Africa)
Best FemTech Startup (powered by AWS): WISI-Oi (Phumi Körber, founder; South Africa)
Best Climate Tech Start-Up: Miyonga Fresh Greens (Yvonne Otieno, Director; Kenya)
Best Agri Tech Start-Up: MooMe (Ahmed Ben Achballah, CEO; Tunisia)
Best FinTech Startup: Julaya (Mathias Léopoldie, co-founder; Senegal)
Best Seed Start-Up: A-TraderTZ (Andrew Tesha, co-founder & CEO; Tanzania),
Most Promising Entrepreneur: Deaf Square (Nourelimen Nasfi, co-founder & CMO; Tunisia)
Most Active Ecosystem Support Organisation (no pitch): Zipho Zwane, Portfolio Manager: International Partnerships, Technology Innovation Agency; South Africa)
Most Attractive Investor: Seedstars (Tamim El Zein, Partner; France)
Amnova Tech who won the Best Deep Tech, Science & Innovation Startup award, becoming Africa’s top deep tech startup received a $10,000 cash prize, the opportunity for further investment from Savant and work with them.
Nick Allen, Managing Partner of Savant, Africa’s only dedicated deep tech and hardware investor and incubator said, “It’s been incredible touring Africa, searching for the best deep tech startups. It’s not about us, it’s about the companies and the quality of the pitches were fantastic. We are thrilled to be taking Africa’s deep tech sphere into the next frontier of deep tech, science and innovation.”
Christophe Viarnaud, founder and CEO of AfricArena said, “We are thrilled with the outcome of this year’s AfricArena’s program – with 9 events across Africa, North America and Europe, to prove that Africa’s tech startups are a promising investment class for investors. In spite of an global funding winter in the venture capital landscape that saw funding decrease by at over 30%, the AfricArena Grand Summit and its side events (VC Unconference and Founders Bootcamp), held this year in partnership with SuperReturn Africa, showcased amazing investable startups from across the continent. Congratulations to the many founders who pivoted and developed resilience during the winter time. The springtime is around the corner and we are looking forward to seeing the African tech ecosystem rise again.”
Nathaniel Witbooi, Program Manager said, “It has been a crazy year with its ups and downs, a year of incredible successes and in one of the most difficult landscapes in tech history. We are very excited to have pulled off 9 summits in 12 months with over 150 plus founders and over 800 plus investors within the ecosystem. We are continuously growing and working toward the future of Africa.”