Complete Farmer Wins DEMO Africa, heads to Silicon Valley

Sylvana Lewin, Monday October 29th 2018

Recently, MEST Portfolio Company and winner of the KIC AgriTech Challenge 2017 Complete Farmer headed to Casablanca, Morocco for the seventh edition of DEMO Africa. Having won the DEMO Africa pitch competition for Ghana, the team had the opportunity to compete with thirty startups from all over the continent.

An annual competition and conference, DEMO Africa is an initiative that aims to connect African startups to the global ecosystem. Sponsored by Lions@frica and Microsoft, this year the annual showcase also served as a celebration of the growth of the North African startup ecosystem.

During the conference, the DEMO Africa finalists were able to showcase their innovations on a global stage. Ultimately, five winners were announced, including MEST’s own Complete Farmer. The other winners were Chefaa of Egypt, Khourtim of Morocco, VertoFX of Nigeria, and Hawkar of Tunisia. All five of these teams will now head to Silicon Valley to join a group of international startups for the 2019 edition of the Lions@frica Innovation tour.

We caught up with Complete Farmer CEO Desmond Koney to get his perspective on the experience.

What does winning DEMO Africa mean for Complete Farmer?

Winning DEMO Africa is a great experience for us as a startup because it gives us validation and some relief that our hard work is paying off. It’s been a very challenging year and we have had to work hard to prove a business model can be profitable while working at digitizing farming.

DEMO Africa gave us the opportunity to show Africa and the world our solution, and it was good knowing that people saw the potential of Complete Farmer. There's is more work to be done, and this, hopefully the first of many, would inspire the Complete Farmer team to try to reach greater heights. The DEMO Africa win makes a big difference because it has given us insight into the African start up ecosystem and created the right awareness we were hoping for. It also goes a long way to show to the rest of Africa the value MEST adds to startups like Complete Farmer in trying to find solutions to some of Africa's great problems.

What do you hope to gain from being a part of the Lions@frica Innovation Tour in Silicon Valley?

Going to Silicon Valley as an African startup that has global aspirations is a dream come true. Not just the networking opportunity that it brings but also the opportunity to raise funding in pursuing growth is very critical.

DEMO Africa brought Silicon Valley investors to Africa to meet great startups from across the continent, and the Lions@frica Innovation Tour is a big opportunity  to meet the right partners to take our solution to a global audience. We are also hoping to create synergies and collaborations with other business to pursue growth in the agritech industry. I am looking forward to having a great time in Silicon Valley and gathering the necessary resources for Complete Farmer to pursue our next stage of growth.

From Seedstars Lagos to NASA Space Apps Challenge Ghana, the MEST Community has had a successful few weeks. Learn more about Dropque’s Seedstars’ success and the MEST EITs’ NASA Space Apps Challenge win!