US-based online publisher of tech industry news; TechCrunch earllier this week on Tuesday chose 15 startups across Africa to pitch at their annual Battlefield startup competition – one of the world’s premier startup competitions. Sponsored by Facebook, the competition was the first of its kind in Africa, and thus was looking for great early stage companies that have created technology to solve problems and develop the ecosystem within the region.
The Battlefield featured several prominent startups from the region, each vying to be crowned the most promising startup in sub-Saharan Africa.
Each startup pitched their business to a panel of judges in their respective categories where every winner was chosen. However, out of the 15 startups, the overall winner, “Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup,” – who in this case was Lori Systems from Kenya won the cash prize of USD$25,000 in no-equity cash plus an all-expense paid trip for two to San Francisco to compete in the Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event Disrupt SF 2018.
Lori Systems is a local startup building a logistics platform to improve cargo transportation across Africa. Most importantly, they can optimize truck utilization so that you don’t waste time and money. The firm also handles invoicing, payment and tracking. It’s an all-in-one platform that leverages technology to elegantly solve logistics issues that have been around for a while.
Notably, Lori Systems has been named Best of Show and also won the productivity and utility category.
On the other hand, the judges also selected AgroCenta (from Ghana) and SynCommerce (from Ghana) as winners in Social Good, and Gaming and Entertainment categories respectively.
AgroCenta is helping farmers to improve the agricultural value chain. In particular, small farmers in rural areas facing many challenges to access large markets. The startup is helping them cut out the middlemen, and optimize truck deliveries to large markets thanks to an online marketplace WHILE SynCommerce worked on the perfect service for e-merchants that lets them list all their products on Shopify, eBay, Etsy. The service also looks at your inventory and hides products on all your platforms if you’ve run out of stock.
Speaking at Startup Battlefield Africa, Ime Archibong; Facebook’s Vice President of Partnerships congratulated all the finalists.
“I’ve been so impressed with what I’ve seen today. Africa truly is a continent with remarkable creativity and talent – it was amazing to see some of Africa’s best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs showcase their disruptive innovations and tell their stories. I’m looking forward to what Africans will produce in the years to come – truly global products that will become household names,” Ime said.