Five startups have emerged winners of the African regional heat of the 1776 Challenge Cup, and will progress to compete against other regional winners at the global finals to be held in Washington DC in June.
US-based accelerator 1776 hosts the global Challenge Cup each year, which sees startups compete through three stages. Approximately 20 startups pitch head-to-head in local competitions, with three at each event chosen to progress to the regional heat. Five regional winners are selected to advance to the global finals, to be held in Washington DC in June 2016.
At the global finals, startups will compete for US$175,000 in cash prizes and up to US$1,000,000 in investment from the 1776 Seed Fund.
Disrupt Africa reported in September 1776 announced local African heats in Accra in Ghana; Harare, Zimbabwe; Pretoria, South Africa; Casablanca in Morocco; Ugandan capital Kampala; and Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa; while a Nigerian leg has since been added. The African heats were held throughout December and January; and the regional event was held in Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday.
Five startups were crowned winners of the African event. Two Moroccan startups made the cut – GoMobile, which leverages existing technologies to create innovative products that allow unconnected communities to enjoy the benefits of new technologies; and Moldiag by Mascir, which develops cost-effective molecular diagnostic kits for the detection and quantification of several predominant diseases in Morocco.
Kenya’s Moringa School, which trains its students to become mobile and web developers, was also selected; as was Ghana’s Zeepay – a mobile money payment app with value added services.
The fifth startup selected was Hakeeme – a wearable device that monitors construction workers’ health and provides anonymized reports of working conditions to government agencies; however Hakeeme is based in the United Arab Emirates, and serves Arab markets.
“Africa is increasingly home to so many inspiring entrepreneurs who are building high-growth startups to bring solutions to some of our world’s biggest challenges,” said Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776.
“I’m so pleased that we can give these extraordinary companies an opportunity to present their vision on the global stage and connect to the resources and relationships they need to be successful.”
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