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Opportunity For African Startups To Attract Investors: Africarena Open Innovation Tech Challenges Now Accepting Applications



Christophe Viarnaud and Maxime Baffert announcing Viva Technology partnership with AfricArena at VivaTech 2018 Christophe Viarnaud and Maxime Baffert announcing Viva Technology partnership with AfricArena at VivaTech 2018[/caption] AfricArena, the largest African tech ecosystem accelerator in the world, currently has no less than six open innovation challenges running that entrepreneurs globally can apply to. Two of these challenges close this week, if your startup would like the chance to compete on the global stage in front of investors, sponsors and partners – Apply Now. Most recently, AfricArena attended the world’s rendezvous for startups and leaders, Viva Technology (VivaTech) in Paris. At the conference VivaTech announced a partnership with AfricArena in order to expand their African focus. The agreement has culminated in the two partnering to run a joint challenge for African startups which will see the top three finalists pitch at the Cape Town summit of AfricArena. The details of this challenge have not yet been released, so watch this space! “This partnership between two of the major ecosystem events in Africa and Europe will strengthen collaboration between our respective ecosystems and facilitate our mission to bridge African startups with international investors and large corporations. On the back of a highly successful first edition of AfricArena with over US$2 million in deal impact and much more in commitments, we have decided to double down on our investment and exponentially increase our impact. This year AfricArena will be expanding its pan-African footprint to find the best startups of the continent. With a fully open collaboration model bringing an increasing number of sponsors and ecosystem partners, AfricArena is committed to its mission to accelerating the African Tech ecosystems,” comments Christophe Viarnaud, founder of AfricArena and CEO of the international digital firm Methys. However, there are currently six challenges open to which entrepreneurs can apply and the details have just been released:   AFRICA TOUR CHALLENGES In April, AfricArena announced the launch of an Africa tour to scout for startups that are to be flown to Cape Town, where they will undergo training, and thereafter pitch at the summit set to take place on 15 and 16 November. The cross-sector challenges are open to all startups with an existing product. In addition, applicants are expected to be able to prove substantial growth and traction, as well as have attained market and customer validation. For successful applicants, the pre-selection pitching sessions are set to be streamed on international investor platform Euroquity and viewed by hundreds of heavyweight investors across the world. Casablanca: Moroccan startups have until 26 Juneto apply for the pre-selection pitch session set for 4 July. To apply, click here. Lagos:Nigerian startups must apply by July 8. The pre-selection event is set to be held shortly after that on 18 July. To apply, click here.   SPONSOR CHALLENGES Two of the big-name sponsors to AfricArena, Vinci Energies and RCS Group, have each launched challenges that will see three startups from each challenge selected to attend AfricArena for training and the pitching sessions.   VINCI ENERGIES Vinci Energies launched a challenge for Kenyan startups for which applications close 6 June. The deadline for Morocco is 24 June and the deadline for Senegal and Nigeria is 1 July. Vinci Energies is looking for disruptive solutions that use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain to quantify, manage and optimise energy exchange flows at microgrids and, or national grid level. These solutions should optimise renewable energies production, manage the monetary exchanges of energy through blockchain and leverage interactions between micro-grids and national grids. The solutions should also optimise energy networks for a better access to energy. “What AfricArena is doing is great. This road show throughout the different English and French speaking countries in Africa is key to gather, to foster the innovation ecosystem and to give the opportunity to startups to be accompanied, incubated and accelerated locally. We as Vinci Energies want to focus on developing things locally, helping to support education and skills because it is key to give the opportunity to the startups to increase very fast and to go abroad,” states Lydia Babaci-Victor, the Director of Development and Innovation and Vinci Energies. The winner of this challenge will get to work on a mutual proof-of-concept (POC) with Vinci Energies, as well as receive the opportunity to pitch to the company’s Inerbiz Corporate Fund. To apply to the Vinci Energies Challenge, click here.   RCS GROUP RCS Group also recently launched their challenge and are searching for entrepreneurs that have a solution able to secure and store customer identification and authentication credentials in order to ease customer on-boarding and transaction approval. Entrepreneurs and innovators have less than a month left to apply for this challenge. For applicants to be selected, their solutions which must be available in-store, online and on mobile applications, should include the legislative and security requirements that RCS is required to fulfil in each relevant customer process, especially South African regulation, allow for access to verified and trusted external data sources (e.g. Home Affairs) to ease customer input, facilitate a once off on-boarding and verification process with seamless repeat use when required, and cater for multiple white labelling requirements. “There is an abundance of untapped potential that exists in Africa,” adds Regan Adams, CEO of RCS, “As a sponsor of the Africa Arena programme, RCS can enable entrepreneurs in the Fintech industry to rise above the challenges that so many startup business ventures experience. Our customer-centric and data rich strategy enables us to constantly look for innovative ways to improve our credit product offering for our business partners whilst improving our overall customer experience. This forms the main theme of our startup challenge for AfricaArena. We look forward to the outcome of this exciting challenge and the innovative solutions the startups will propose.” The winning startup will have the opportunity to potentially partner with RCS in the integration of their solution with the company’s existing system. To apply to the RCS Group Challenge, click here.   AIR FRANCE KLM Air France KLM has an open innovation challenge that states they’re looking for solutions aimed at Joon, their new lower-cost subsidiary. Entrepreneurs and innovators also have less than a month left to apply for this challenge. This challenge in particular is aimed at innovators with solutions that either enhance passenger’s personal devices’ experience or the customer on-board connected experience. Applicants should consider entertainment, passenger assistance, and a better customer experience both on-board, and off-board. “We believe only African entrepreneurs can really find solutions to the African needs and this year as we are also innovating within AirFrance’s new branch Joon, we believe Joon is a great place to innovate and the things we want to start doing we are starting with Joon. This year the challenges will not be for the brand of AirFrance, it will be for Joon and we will have 2 very interesting challenges. One on the door-to-door experience for our customers, what can artificial intelligence bring on that part. And the second one is on on-board entertainment, about connectivity. We will be more and more connected. What can a startup bring to us on these things? We are very excited about these two challenges,” states Frank Legré, the Senior Vice President for Africa at the AirFrance KLM Group. To apply to the AirFrance KLM Challenge, click here.   Shortlisted startups, the winners of the challenges aforementioned, will be flown to the Africa event AfricArena in Cape Town, South Africa on 15 and 16 November and will stand a chance to pitch to hundreds of investors, partners and sponsors present. The pitches will also be live streamed via EuroQuity which means that international investors will be able to see the pitches and potential global partnerships and deals could be struck for African startups in this way. To learn more about the AfricArena current open innovation challenges and to apply, click here.  ]]>