”We will be postponing this year’s PIVOT East startup competition and conference, which was scheduled to take place on 15th November 2016 in Nairobi,” said the organizers in a statement.
In October, after an intense evaluation process by a panel of over 10 investors, PIVOT East chose 25 startups from across the region to compete to win market recognition and investor interest during the PIVOT East pitching competition and conference set for November this year. The 25 finalists, 5 from each category were selected from the 50 semifinalists announced earlier.
Out of the 25 startups that were to pitch 15 are from Kenya, 5 from Uganda and 3 from Tanzania. Ethiopia and Rwanda are represented in the list by one startup each. For each category a 6th best startup had been placed in a waiting list and may pitch at the conference if a finalist in the category drops out for any reason.
Since 2011, m:lab East Africa has organized annual editions of PIVOT East, an annual pitching conference for startups with mobile technology based businesses where 15 startups have raised close to US$120,000.
Last year’s edition, saw startups get a $5,000 grant and a $5,000 seed investment which may be topped up by other investors depending on the startups funding requirements and their ability to convince other investors.
100 startups have participated in the annual competition so far and the previous finalists have so far raised over $5m in investments directly or indirectly as a benefit of going through the PIVOT East competition. Postponing the competition is a big loss to both the startups and the entire ecosystem.
“The training, coaching and mentorship program that we provide to the finalists sets Pivot East apart from many other competitions in the market,” said m:lab East Africa. “This year, however, we have been going through a lot of changes and implementations towards our next phase and we have less time than we need to provide our finalists for the competition the experience and support they deserve.”
m:lab East Africa added it doesn’t want to compromise the quality of the training it gives to startups and will continue working with the finalists to refine key elements of their business models and prepare the finalists for the conference next year. The organization also said it will give the finalists an opportunity to gain more traction and be able to compete effectively and position their startups next year.
“We will announce the new date for the competition soon,” said m:lab East Africa. “In the meantime we also are looking forward to continue engaging with sponsors, who are interested in helping us to get this program restarted in 1Q2017 with full force and energy.”