The announcement came at an official Press Conference hosted at the InvestSA One-Stop Shop in Cape Town hosted by Wesgro. Proceedings included a panel discussion on how to successfully do business in Africa. Panellists included: Christophe Viarnaud, founder of AfricArena; Alexander Fraser of VC4A; Kerry Petrie of Silicon Cape; Xabiso Lombo, founder of Guardian Gabriel, Rudi Visser Head of Innovation Acceleration for RCS, and Victoria Jackson of MEST.
“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,” comments Christophe Viarnaud, founder of AfricArena and CEO of the international digital firm Methys.
Celebrated as the largest tech ecosystem accelerator on the African continent, 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 Afric@Tech 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.
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.
Reflecting on the opportunities created by AfricArena, Cedric Atangana, CEO of startup WeCashUp (winners of the 2017 event) commented: “We came, we pitched, we won. This is not only a very big validation for my small team and I, it’s also the proof that we are doing something meaningful, not only for Africa, but for the entire world. After winning the AfricArena award, we got investment term sheets from 47 investment funds from the Silicon Valley, Europe and Africa.”
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.
Sponsoring the event for a second consecutive year, Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO, commented:
“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 our 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. There is a possibility to purchase a joint VIP Investor Pass valid for both events. comments Alina Vinogradova, Programmes and Partnerships Lead of VC4A.
Frank Legré, SVP of Air France-KLM for Africa said, “We are committed to supporting innovation in Africa. As one of the initial launch partners of the Cape Town-based AfricArena
conference, we are thrilled to announce that this year, Air France-KLM will be again a key sponsor of AfricArena 2018 and its pan-African AfricArena Tour.”
“Silicon Cape is excited and honoured to be a strategic partner for AfricArena 2018. Tech-enabled startups from our continent are uniquely positioned to find solutions for some of the critical social and environmental challenges facing our world. Investors are looking here for ideas and products that will have an impact globally. AfricArena creates an amazing opportunity for entrepreneurs from across the continent to showcase the best we have to offer. Silicon Cape is looking forward to identifying collaborative partnerships from African ecosystems to improve access to market, collective mobilisation and growing a more inclusive and diverse continental community,” states Kerry Petrie, General Manager of Silicon Cape.
For more information on the continent-wide tour to be kicked off in May, click here.
If you’re a startup, potential sponsor or just a spectator and would like to be involved in the AfricArena 2018 International Africa Tech, click here.
For more information on AfricArena’s 2018 programme, please visit: http://africarena2018.com/.
For more information on key role players, click here:
La French Tech: http://capetown.lafrenchtech.com/
Silicon Cape: https://www.siliconcape.com/
Startupbootcamp Africa: http://www.bit.ly/sbcafrica
The Loudhailer: http://theloudhailer.org/