Startup pitches, competitions and all...

MEST, Monday October 10th 2011

Talking of an emerging tech industry here in Ghana, mobile and web developers in Accra are beginning to witness a relatively exciting increase in the number of tech focused events aiming at connecting developers with potential investors, partners and customers. Typical of such tech events, here in Accra as well, you will find that the majority of participants of these events are what you’ll call the ‘early adopters’, they always want to be the first to try out and test products and give provide feedack. And arguably, if a team fails to excite the early adopters, then perhaps the idea might not 'fly' with customers too (in my humble opinion).

The Mobile Apps Showcase

A couple of weeks back one such event, the “Mobile apps showcase 2011” (#MAGS2011), a maiden edition, took place in Accra at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre of excellence.

The event was in 3 parts:

  1. The first, a forum discussing an overview of the mobile market in Africa, finance & funding options for startups, Global vs Local markets for startups and a host of other startup related topics. This was mostly moderated by @MontyMunford (former bollywood actor,  and journalist at The Telegraph, The Guardian...)

  2. Second part (which happened in parallel with the forum disdussions) was an exhibition of already existing startups afrom Accra.

  3. The final part was a competition; the AppsCircus competition which sought to give a platform for new startups to pitch their ideas to a panel and later for a grand prize.

In attendance were representatives from Google, MEST, Mobile Content, inMobi, Ghana Angel Investors’ Network, Moile Web Ghana and others.

On exhibition were…

Dealeezy, Sproxil, Esoko, MoTech, Nkyea Learning Systems, Leti Games, NandiMobile etc
The AppsCircus competition

As already pointed out, part of the event was the AppsCircus competition, where new companies pitched to a panel of judges for a grand prize of

  • An iPad2, GHC2000 (cash), and finally an opportunity to be nominated to represent Ghana at the Mobile Congress Barcelona, 2012.

Judges’ questions to the companies were mainly centred around technical feasibility and commercial potential of the ideas, an dover all they were looking for new & upcoming ideas with potential.

Some teams at AppsCircus competition:

  1. SMS Sync: Built on top of the Ushahidi platform, is able to make any mobile phone work as an android SMS gateway.

  2. Saya: A mobile group chat application also available on feature phones, using phone’s contacts.

  3. SMS Tweetbox: Simply an SMS to twitter gateway to android

  4. SMS directory: A mobile business directory accessible via SMS

  5. Esoko Android App: An SMS based application for checking market prices of agricultural produce.

  6. MoTech: enabling the delivery of relevant and actionable information from health professionals to pregnant women.

Now, this was exciting and a hugely successful event, as participants were engaged through from beginning till the end. After about an hour of deliberations, the judges announced the following winners relieving the audience of their curiosity and suspense:

1ST Place: Saya (from the MEST Incubator)

2nd Place: NandiMobile (from MEST Incubator)

3rd Place: SMS Tweetbox

Congratulations to all 3 winners and best of luck to all the others, hope to see you again in 2012 :)