Pivot East, East Africa’s mobile startups pitching competition held annually in June or July since 2011 has been moved to November this year and more details about the date change will be communicated in due time m:lab’s East Africa lead told TechMoran.
The m:lab East Africa initiative aims to ”amplify and consolidate the gains of East Africa’s Mobile developer and entrepreneurship ecosystem” by helping mobile app developers to turn their mobile and web apps into businesses. The push to November could have as well been caused by anything.
Early last year, m:lab East Africa lost John Kieti, its then director, who wanted time off to finish his doctoral studies at the University of Nairobi, after four years at the helm of the institution.
Kieti wrote in a blog post , “The last days of February are my final moments at the helm of m:lab East Africa – the m:lab. Its now 4 years since I took up a challenge from the m:lab consortium comprising iHub, eMobilis, University of Nairobi and the World Wide Web foundation to setup and run programs at the m:lab.”
After John left, Sheilah Birgen took over the reigns of PIVOT East and successfully unveiled semifinalists for last year’s competition in April 2015 with startup applicants from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. This is what is expected this year. But for this to happen, Pivot East partners with various organizations and corporate sponsors inside and outside the country to bring the event together and though it has big name startups such as Kopo Kopo, Safemotos, Ma3Route, EatOut, SleepOut, Shield Finance and Sendy to its belt, it seems the organization needed more time this year or the June/July dates were no longer convenient for all the partners.
iHub, one of the consortium partners running m:lab East Africa in March announced it was pivoting from a community space to work with selected startups to help them scale regionally and globally. It raised undisclosed funding to do so. iHub also recently announced plans to hire a CEO and a Director of Sales and Strategic Partnerships to achieve its new dream.
This and many other changes could easily delay m:lab and iHub and other partners from getting down to organizing Pivot East. However, there is nothing to worry about as Pivot East is still here and it might be big and better in November with a promise of more local investors and corporate sponsors on board.