AfricArena, in partnership with Wesgro & Silicon Cape, revealed they will be hosting the AfricArena 2018 International Africa Tech Conference for a 2nd consecutive year with their first ever “World Tour” scheduled for May.
According to Christophe Viarnaud, founder of AfricArena and CEO of the international digital firm Methys,“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. We will also be taking some of the winners of the AfricArena 2017 challenges on an investor roadshow in Paris and New York. 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.”
Last year’s event saw more than 80 startups presenting to over 100 investors with 25 countries being represented. The conference serves as a platform for the continent’s best startups and innovators to showcase their world-class talent in front of an audience of both local and international investors.
“Furthermore, AfricArena will be taking the 2017 winners to the biggest startup conference in Europe, VivaTech, at the end of May. Recognising that technology is revolutionising Africa, VivaTech will feature for the first time a dedicated [email protected] section – showcasing 50 African startups from 4 key sectors,” continues Viarnaud.
Kicking off their 2018 journey in May, the AfricArena team will visit 6 of the fastest growing African tech cities including: Mauritius, Reunion Island, Nairobi, Casablanca, Lagos and Dakar. Whilst in-country a ‘pitch battle’ will be held – giving each startup the opportunity to present their product or idea as a digital clock counts down 3 minutes.
Including an interesting angle for sponsors, the AfricArena tour has made provision for dedicated Tour Challenges. Each sponsor is given the opportunity to pose a problem they are faced with or would like to solve within their corporation, and startups can offer a tech solution and present it in the pitch battles. One challenge winner per city will be pre-selected and invited to attend the AfricArena 2018 Conference on the 15th & 16th of November at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town.
“The South African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) is once again excited to support AfricArena, an event that brings together various players in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, highlighting the creative start-ups in and around Africa,” comments Tanya van Lill, CEO of SAVCA.
“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.”
Key themes for this year’s conference are: SmartCity, SmartAgri, SmartCommerce, SmartSkills, SmartMedia and SmartTravel. Startups from all over the continent will be pitted against each other in front of global investors and sponsors.
AfricArena is anchored and endorsed by sponsors including RCS, Air France KLM, Vinci Energies, Saint Gobain, VC4A, Silicon Cape and Wesgro. Included in this are key ecosystem partners MEST, SAVCA, ABAN, Startupbootcamp Africa, La French Tech, French Chamber of Commerce, EuroQuity and BPI France.
Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO, said Cape Town is the startup capital of Africa, accounting for more than 60% of all startups in South Africa alone. Conferences such as AfricArena help make the ecosystem even stronger, by connecting the best and the brightest from across Africa.
“We are excited to be a part of this innovation, and we look forward to a successful “world tour” and conference later this year.
This year, AfricArena has partnered with Africa Early Stage Investor Summit organized by VC4A and ABAN and taking place in Cape Town in the same week on November 11-12th. This exclusive investor-only event unites early stage investor community from across the continent and beyond to exchange best practices, share lessons learned and plot the roadmap for the future. The Summit brings together Africa’s leading VC fund managers, angel networks, corporate venture arms and top-tier accelerators.