Pitch AgriHackwhich aims at accelerating youth-led e-agriculture entrepreneurship for improved livelihoods and food security unveiled the winners of the 2016 pitching event. The announcement was made during a cocktail award ceremony which was held at the Safari Park Hotel on 24th November.
Pitch AgriHack 2016 was organized by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA www.cta.int), in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the support of partners including the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI) and mLab East Africa.
The competition was hotly contested with 25 finalist, selected out of 152 e-agriculture startups from across Africa and the Caribbean. Before the announcement of winners, finalists benefited from a training bootcamp on 22nd November at iHub Nairobi, focused on issues related to offering successful business services in e-agriculture; they were also coached on how to pitch effectively. On 23rd November, they presented their services publicly before judges and an audience composed of agriculture and ICT experts and institutions including venture capitals. The panel of judges consisted of; McKenzie Slaughter from Prohaus VC (USA), Niraj Varia from Novastar Ventures (East Africa), Herve Pillaud (Agreenstartup and Chambre d’agriculture de Vendée, France); Jermaine Henry (Devlabs, venture capital firm, Americas), Ralph von Kaufmann (Hakika Ltd, UK), Peris Bosire (FarmDrive, start up, Kenya).
Grants to enhance and scale up services offered to farmers
Four startups were selected as official winners: three in the early stage category and one in the advanced stage category.
Early stage category
Winner: Brastorne Enterprises (Botswana), with the mAgri platform: it is a USSD application that gives farmers access to relevant information and to a mobile marketplace. mAgri can be used on any phone including basic feature phones. The application has currently about 150, 000 users.
First Runner Up: Daral Technologies (Senegal) - Daral is a livestock application. Its web component helps collect and visualize data regarding farmers and their livestock while providing advisory service platform for farmers. Its mobile component consists of an SMS-based alert system. Daral has been collaborating with the government of Senegal.
Second Runner Up: MobFit(Uganda) - MoBFiT is a GSM supported agricultural supply chain software, ambitioning to directly connect 20 millions smallholder rural farmers in Uganda to buyers in the market at a low cost via SMS, and automated voice call technology. Mobfit collaborates with SACCOS and the Uganda National Farmers Association (UNFA).
Winner in the Advanced stage category:
Sooretul (Senegal) - Sooretul is a web and mobile marketplace for agricultural processed products offered by women. The platform ensures a better access of rural women offerings to the urban demand. Customers buy online and can be delivered at home. Current partners include Orange Senegal, IFAD, Eiffage.
The winners will receive from CTA, a cash prize of;
€15,000 - Winner Advanced Stage Category
€7,500 - Winner Early Stage Category
€6,000 - First Runner Up Early Stage Category
€5,000 - Second Runner Up Early Stage Category
These grants will be used to better deploy and scale up services offered.
Additional winners and prizes from partners
Winners will in addition benefit from promotional opportunities and other benefits, including investments, facilitated by CTA. They will thus benefit from the following services and resources provided by Prohaus VC , one of the partners of Pitch AgriHack;
- 2 months complimentary to Founder Pro Membership - (digital tools, startup ratings report, mentor sessions)
- One complimentary remote accelerator or workcation program
- Prohaus VISA Cards (issued for free)
- Seed capital from Prohaus Capital between $10,000 - 20,000
Prohause VC gave additional prizes to startups whose business models they found to be promising. They include; Kuza from Kenya, AgroCenta from Ghana and FarmAfriQuefrom Nigeria. These three startups are also recipients to the above mentioned benefits.
Other partners pledged support to the winners and finalists. The African Agribusiness Incubation Network (AAIN)represented by the Director of its Funds, Mrs Adebakin Abimbola, promised to liaise with incubators in the countries of startups and provide mentorship/incubation to all 25 finalists. DevLabs, a venture capital active in Chile and California also promised support.
Each of the 25 finalists received books from CTA, including the bestsellers “The Lean Startup” and “My personal MBA” as well as CTA publications.
Prizes and trophies were handed out by representatives of the African Development Bank (Mr Enock Yanozi) , the Ministry of Agriculture of Kenya (Honourable Vincent Sagwe), the representative of FarmDrive as well as some partners mentioned above.
Ken Lohento, in charge of Pitch AgriHack at CTA, warmly thanked, on behalf of CTA’s Director, winners and all partners, particularly the African Development Bank (AfDB) whose financial support was instrumental for the organisation of the event. Follow-up initiatives are planned.