50 semifinalists to compete at PIVOT East 2016 startup contest


PIVOT East , a startups competition and conference geared towards raising the quality of startups in the region and improving their investability, has unveiled semifinalist for this year’s competition. The semifinalists totaling 50 will be competing to be in the list of 25 exceptional startups set to fight it out for market recognition and investor interest during the finals conference on November 15, 2016.

The competition opened the call for applications in August 2016 with startups from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi, DRC, Sudan and Somalia applying through the Venture Capital (VC4Africa) platform.

To reach the best startups in the region, the PIVOT East team worked closely with hubs across the region to ensure that the best entrepreneurs in the region take part in PIVOT East. The competition attracted over 120 applications from Across the region. Compared to the previous editions, this year the competition received many applications from countries like Rwanda and Ethiopia.

The competition also attracted applications from Somalia, Burundi and DRC. Other entries came from non-East African countries – that is Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Lesotho, Tunisia and Gabon.

Thirteen thought leaders were drawn from across the region to review the PIVOT East 2016 submissions. This culminated in the top 10 startups in five categories being determined.

The panel consisted of; Emrys Schoemaker – Research and Strategist at Caribou, John Kieti – Consultant at the World Bank , Richard Magu – ICT Projects Manager at Software Group, Stephen Deng -Strategy & Innovation Manager at Caribou Digital , Jacqueline Dismas – Fabrication Laboratory Manager at Buni Hub , Kimathi Ikiao – Investment Associate at Accion Venture Lab, Kishor Nagula – Director at Caribou , Josiah Mugambi – COO at iHub, James Odede – Director at LakeHub, Musa Kamata – Manager at Buni Hub, Marissa Drouillard – Senior Director at Caribou, Keziah Njeri – Angels Interactions at Viktoria Solutions and Craig Perue – Research Fellow & Senior Consultant at Mona School of Business & Management, UWI.

The criteria used by the judges helped to evaluate the startups’ purported customer pain, opportunity and customer segments, the solution and its fit to the problem, the revenue model, and analysis of the competitive landscape. Other selection criteria items helped to evaluate the calibre of the team and the startups’ focus to grow into sustainable enterprises. These included the team composition and commitment, current market traction, and projections for milestones and key metrics.

PIVOT East is East Africa’s premier startups pitching competition and conference held annually since 2011. It is organised by m:lab East Africa an initiative of the iHub. The competition is comprised of a series of activities that culminate in the finalists conference that will he held on November 15, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. About 125 mobile startups from across East Africa have participated as finalists of past PIVOT East editions. And 20% of them have cumulatively raised over US $20 million in funding after their participation in the competition.