Nairobi, October 11, 2017

Calling all Startups in Sub-Saharan Africa 

The African continent is rich with diversity – in language, culture, and perspectives – which has fostered innovation and creativity across a broad spectrum of categories. TechCrunch is bringing its experience with Startup Battlefield, one of the world’s premier startup competitions, to Sub-Saharan Africa to discover great early stage companies that have created technology to solve problems and develop the ecosystem within the region.

Productivity & Utility

Startups with the product or service most likely to go into full commercial production and have the biggest impact on human potential and/or the largest exit.

Social Good

Startups with the product most likely to catalyze social development through technology.

Gaming & Entertainment

Startups with the product or service most likely to see wide consumer adoption and have either the biggest exit and/or impact on gaming and entertainment.

For more information about the pitch-off competition and FAQs, click here.

Startup Battlefield Africa Coverage

More Coverage

Speakers / Judges

  • Chukwuemeka Afigbo

    Chukwuemeka Afigbo

    Emeka is a Strategic Product Partnerships manager for Facebook focused helping developers in Africa and the Middle East succeed by leveraging Facebook’s platforms , products and initiatives. Emeka has a passion for growing the tech ecosystem in emerging markets. Prior to Facebook , Emeka led Google developer community initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of the Africa and Middle East Developer Relations team. He started his career as a software engineer at Socketworks and also spearheaded strategic initiatives at Parkway Projects both in Nigeria.

    See Chukwuemeka Afigbo's Crunchbase profile
  • Ime Archibong

    Ime Archibong

    Ime Archibong leads a business development/product partnerships team at Facebook. Ime has led several of the company's major media related partnerships, including those in the music industry and online video space. Prior to joining Facebook, Ime was an Advanced Technology Business Development Professional at IBM where he focused on the licensing of IBM’s global portfolio of storage research technology. Ime started his career at IBM as a software engineer working in the Systems and Technology Group before transitioning to the IBM Corporate Strategy team, and eventually settling in business development. Ime holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Yale University and a MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

    See Ime Archibong's Crunchbase profile
  • Solomon Assefa

    Solomon Assefa

    Dr. Solomon Assefa is the Director of IBM Research | Africa. He is responsible for IBM’s research labs in Kenya and South Africa, and heads IBM’s research strategy and partnership across the African continent. IBM Research | Africa is developing technologies that transform key industries and address Africa’s grand challenges; promoting Africa’s leadership in science and technology; and fostering local innovation ecosystems to enable Africa’s international competitiveness.
    Previously, he was the Director of Research Strategy & Growth Initiatives for Africa. In that role, he developed research strategies by identifying emerging trends, creating talent pipeline, and exploring partnerships. He has also served as a Program Manager in the office of Science and Technology, with responsibilities for evaluating science and technology roadmaps for IBM’s worldwide research laboratories.
    As a Research Scientist, Solomon has worked on IBM’s nanophotonics technology with responsibilities spanning research, development, and technology transfer to commercial foundry. His research contributions include high-speed optical detectors, nano-structured platforms for bio-sensing, and quantum information processing. He has co-authored over 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, has over 50 patents, and has appeared as a guest speaker at numerous conferences worldwide. His work has been featured in Nature magazine, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, Forbes, Technology Review, EE Times, and IEEE Spectrum, among many others.
    Solomon is a member of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society (APS), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has served as committee chair and workshop organizer for various conferences including the Optical Fibers Conference (OFC) and Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO). He is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Next Einstein Forum, an initiative launched in 2015 by the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). He is also a Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, and an Honorary Professor at University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.
    Solomon is a recipient of several awards including the Technical Accomplishment Award, Corporate Recognition Award, and Invention Achievement Awards from IBM. He is a frequent speaker at business events, international conferences, universities, and research institutions. He was named one of the World’s Top Young Innovators under 35 and received the TR35 awarded by MIT’s Technology Review (2011). Solomon was honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2013. He received a B.S. in Physics (2001), a B.S. in EECS (2001), a M.S. in EECS (2001) and a Ph.D. (2004) all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

    See Solomon Assefa's Crunchbase profile
  • Wale Ayeni

    Wale Ayeni

    Wale Ayeni leads the IFC's Venture Capital practice focused on Africa - the International Finance Organization is part of the World Bank Group. The IFC's Venture capital team invests in technology companies in frontier markets. IFC’s tech portfolio in Africa includes Andela, Bridge International Academies, Interswitch, Mobisol, Zoona, etc. Wale has a global technology experience spanning several roles including Venture Capital, Investment Banking, Corporate Development, and Microprocessor & ASIC chip design. Prior to the IFC, Wale led venture capital early-stage investments in disruptive startups across various technology sectors for Orange Digital Ventures in Silicon Valley with representative investments in the US including PayJoy(FinTech), Veniam(Mesh Networks), Chain (Blockchain), WEVR (Virtual Reality). He also led transactions on behalf of EchoVC (an early-stage Pan African tech fund) in, and Printivo.

    Wale started his finance career with J.P. Morgan’s Technology Investment Banking group in San Francisco where he successfully executed over $12BN worth of closed transactions spanning mergers & acquisitions to IPOs for large-cap technology clients including Facebook, Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Intel Corp., AMD, Shutterfly, etc. Wale started his career as an Engineer, and in his previous technology career Wale was a microprocessor design Engineer with Intel Corp. where he led critical aspects of Intel's "CSI" chip architecture - the biggest micro-architecture change in Intel's history. He also led aspects of the very first "Snapdragon" chipsets working at Qualcomm Inc.’s chip design center enabling the initial smartphone designs.

    Wale has an MBA from Dartmouth College, and his Bachelor’s degree with distinguished “Red diploma” from Moscow University. He is a Kauffman Venture Capital Fellow and a recipient of the top global 100 Rising Stars award in Corporate Venture.

    See Wale Ayeni's Crunchbase profile
  • Shuonan Chen

    Shuonan Chen

    Shuonan Chen, Founding Partner of IOVC & Agile VC, CEO of Shinect (Silicon Valley-based community of 3,500+ engineers interested in entrepreneurship), and Board Member of North America Blockchain Association. At IO and Agile, Shuo has invested in and helped various startups globalize and expand into new markets. She is the Advisor and Interim China GM for Rescale, a cloud simulation platform with high performance computing (backed by Peter Thiel, Paul Graham and Jeff Bezos) serving Boeing and Formula 1. Prior, Shuo worked at Goldman Sachs in investment banking, where she was involved in deals including Alibaba’s $21.8 billion IPO, the largest IPO in US history. There, she also helped run the convertibles business and represented the firm on the Board of Women in Finance. Before that, Shuo has been at PwC, where she worked on Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola and LinkedIn’s $119 million acquisition of SlideShare. She also ran Cashify, a social enterprise for financial literacy. Shuo graduated cum laude from UC Berkeley with a triple major (and 2 minors) in 3 years, where she currently teaches and has been a Board Member for the alumni organization. She also completed a JD with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where her work on financial regulation will be soon published by Cambridge University Press.

    See Shuonan Chen's Crunchbase profile
  • Yariv Cohen

    Yariv Cohen

    Yariv Cohen is an impact investor and executive, focusing on value-added businesses and technologies targeted at the developing world.

    Previously, Cohen served for more than 18 years as president, chairman, CEO and chief technology officer in high-growth companies, both public and private, operating in more than 20 countries.

    His experience spans a wide range of cross-border activities, which include investor, project developer, entrepreneur, TV commentator, mathematician and lecturer.

    Cohen holds an M.B.A. with high distinction and a master in research on negotiations, both from the London School of Business. He has multiple publications and registered patents.

    See Yariv Cohen's Crunchbase profile
  • Graeme Cumming

    Graeme Cumming

    Graeme is the Head of DStv Digital Media, the division within MultiChoice that is tasked with building the over-the-top delivery platform and product set. With more than 17 years experience in the digital media space, Graeme has been involved with the development and management of some of Africa’s biggest and most successful entertainment, sport and e-commerce digital platforms. Until recently, he headed up the Video-On-Demand portfolio of the business, responsible for rolling out the group’s Catch Up VOD service, the BoxOffice transactional VOD product as well as DStv Now, the TV Everywhere application that allows subscribers across the continent to watch their favourite shows and channels on-the-go. Graeme holds a B.Comm Honours Degree (Information Systems) from Wits University and is a passionate mountain biker, having competed in endurance events on 3 continents and is always on the lookout for new trails.

    See Graeme Cumming's Crunchbase profile
  • Harry 'Tomi Davies

    Harry 'Tomi Davies

    Harry Tomi Davies (TD) is a versatile technology business leader, keynote speaker and advisor with over two decades of outstanding experience building large-scale, national and regionwide IT infrastructure projects across Africa. He has held a variety of executive and non-executive leadership roles with influential global brands like Ernst & Young, Marks & Spencer, Elf, Sapient and the One Laptop Per Child project.

    Over the last decade TD has looked after a growing portfolio of Africabased tech-enabled early stage businesses and is the Founder of the Lagos Angel Network (LAN). He is also President of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN).

    He is a seasoned technology strategist and project development expert with significant market intelligence, research and project management skills. Author and regular keynote speaker with a substantial network of connections globally including on most major social media platforms. He is an inspiring thought leader TD is a volunteer to a number of non-profit organizations and Guest lecturer at the Pan Atlantic University's Enterprise Development Centre. His rich and varied experience has been leveraged by organisations for advisory services, speaking engagements and nonexecutive board roles at companies like MBO Capital Limited (Private Equity), TextNigeria Limited (Telecoms) and Sproxil Nigeria (Anti-Counterfeit Technologies)

    See Harry 'Tomi Davies's Crunchbase profile
  • Chijioke Dozie

    Chijioke Dozie

    Chijioke Dozie is a co-Founder and CEO of OneFi, a digital financial lender.

    He was previously an Investment Analyst at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) responsible for sourcing investment opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to IFC, Chijioke worked with Zephyr Management LP in the US and South Africa as an Investment Associate sourcing private equity opportunities in Africa and working closely with Zephyr's portfolio companies.

    Chijioke holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an MSc in Risk Management from University of Reading. He also graduated with a BA Economics from University of East Anglia

    See Chijioke Dozie's Crunchbase profile
  • Rebeca Enonchong

    Rebeca Enonchong

    Rebecca Enonchong is founder and Chief Executive Officer of AppsTech, a leading global provider of enterprise application solutions. She is cofounder and Chair of ActivSpaces (African Center for Technology Innovation and Ventures), a tech incubator in Cameroon and Board Chair of the Afrilabs Foundation, a network of 50 tech hubs in Africa. She also cofounded ABAN (African Business Angels Network) and CAN (Cameroon Angels Network). She is an advisor to Venture Capital for Africa (VC4Africa), the largest online community dedicated to entrepreneurs and investors building companies in Africa. She has been a board member of award winning social enterprise since 2002.

    See Rebeca Enonchong's Crunchbase profile
  • Michael Essien

    Michael Essien

    Michael Essien is a product of Los Angeles Unified School District. He left home to attend UC Berkeley. At UC Berkeley, he played college football while completing his undergraduate degree in African American Studies. After graduation, Michael worked as a mentor in the High Achievement Wisdom & Knowledge (H.A.W.K.) Program focused on African American youth in the City of Oakland. Mentoring youth caused him to choose education as a career. Michael began teaching at McClymonds High School in Oakland Public Schools. He taught Algebra 2/Trigonometry, Geometry and Special Education for 22 years. Michael became a UC Berkeley Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (M.E.S.A.) instructor while simultaneously teaching in Oakland. M.E.S.A. focused on increasing the number of African American and Latino students eligible to attend the University of California system. Michael felt the classroom limited his ability to impact change for African American and Latino students and decided to return to school and become an administrator. He received his masters degree from UC Berkeley's Principal Leadership Institute with a focus on urban education. Michael became an administrator at MLK Middle School in San Francisco Unified School District four years ago. He has worked to address inequities in the system and end the predictability of negative student outcomes for African American and Latino students.

    See Michael Essien's Crunchbase profile
  • Aaron Fu

    Aaron Fu

    Aaron has more than 10 years of experience in financial services and technology across Europe, Asia and Africa with Standard Chartered and Société Générale. He also kickstarted and led Nest VC’s Africa operations, a Ventures team that has invested in and helped scale African startups across and out of the continent, an Innovation team that has built startup engagement platforms with partners like Visa, MTN, Barclays, Standard Bank and an Ecosystem team, Mettā, which today counts in Nairobi over 300 members who represent innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts.

    See Aaron Fu's Crunchbase profile
  • Erik Hersman

    Erik Hersman

    Erik Hersman is an entrepreneur and technologist focused on advancing the use of technology in Africa. He is the CEO of BRCK a rugged wireless WiFi device designed and engineered in Kenya for use throughout the emerging markets. In 2010 he founded the iHub, Nairobi’s innovation hub for the technology community, bringing together entrepreneurs, hackers, designers and the investment community.

    He is also a co-founder of Ushahidi, the free and open source software for crowdsourcing crisis information, and also established and as key online communities promoting creative solutions entrepreneurship and development challenges across Africa. He is also a general partner in the Savannah Fund, and sits on the boards of Gearbox, Akirachix, the Kijabe Forest Trust, and the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI). You can find him on Twitter at @WhiteAfrican.

    See Erik Hersman's Crunchbase profile
  • Monique Idlett-Mosley

    Monique Idlett-Mosley

    Monique Idlett-Mosley is a globally recognized entertainment pioneer. Her power and influence stem from a unique blend of business acumen and innovative strategic vision. Monique brings over two decades of unprecedented success as a CEO. By adeptly traversing the spectrum from entertainment, marketing, press, and entrepreneurship, she has earned a reputation as an industry visionary. One of Gotham Magazine’s Powerful 100 names to know, her expansive reach into the hearts and minds of people across the world is transforming the way people interact with each other and iconic brands. In 2017, she founded Reign Venture Capital, an early stage investment firm that focuses on women and minority led startups. Reign invests at the Seed and Series A Stage in promising technology and tech-enabled startups with high-potential founders. The firm brings together a network of LPs who are leaders in business and entertainment to help accelerate the growth of their diverse portfolio through mentorship and unique access. Working with companies like the award winning technology innovator LISNR, and Appy Couple, Reign Venture Capital is changing the VC world. Since 2014, she has lent her industry expertise to FOX’s #1, record-breaking television show, Empire. Her As a music and fashion consultant, As an executive music producer and fashion consultant, Mrs. Idlett-Mosley brings her insider knowledge and keen fashion sense to the network.

    For over fourteen years, she served as the CEO of Mosley Brands and Mosley Music Group, home to a multiplatinum roster of artists, including iconic producer Timbaland, One Republic, Nelly Furtado, and Chris Cornell. Under her leadership, MMG artists were RIAA certified platinum 64 times and RIAA certified gold 22 times. Timbaland celebrated his most successful multi-platinum album to date, Timbaland Presents Shock Value, going platinum sixteen times in ten countries. Nelly Furtado’s Loose was certified platinum over 44 times in 17 countries. Most notably, she brokered groundbreaking deals with corporate powerhouses such as Pepsi, Verizon, MTV, Mini Cooper, Gucci, and Rockstar Games, amongst many others.

    Prior to 2004, Monique directed and developed sales, marketing and public relations strategies for personal clients such as Kanye West, Verizon, Burrell Communications, T.I. and Timbaland. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she served as a Senior Sales Executive with USA Today, developing nationwide strategic sales plans for Saab, Ford, Lincoln, Turner Networks, Home Depot, ING, Motorola and Minute Maid, to name a few. As the youngest executive at the time, she was the first account executive to broker a multimedia advertising campaign with The Coca Cola Company. In addition to her entrepreneurial pursuits, Mrs. Idlett-Mosley is well known for her philanthropic work. As the Founder and Executive Director of Always Believing Foundation, Monique finds innovative and empowering solutions to combat childhood obesity, promote healthy lifestyles and expression through education and communication.

    Since 2014, Monique has served as a National Trustee for The Boys & Girls Clubs of America. She became the first African-American woman to serve as a chairperson for the Southeast Youth of the Year gala. She is on the Board of Directors for The Miami Bridge, a south Florida based nonprofit organization that provides emergency shelter, food and counseling for at-risk youth and has previously served on the board of the Ryan Cameron Foundation. Her impact on youth is globally recognized through her role as a UN Foundation Representative, part of the first-ever mPowering Mobile movement, the United Nation’s largest youth initiative in history, leveraging youth voices to drive international policy decisions. A strong voice for change through social media, she was appointed as a surrogate in Gucci’s CHIME FOR CHANGE campaign. Alongside Beyonce and Salma Hayek, Monique works to positively impact the lives of women across the globe. With a focus on women’s empowerment, she shares her wisdom and experience, inspiring countless women to achieve their dreams through education and the power of perseverance.

    See Monique Idlett-Mosley's Crunchbase profile
  • Wambui Kinya

    Wambui Kinya

    Wambui Kinya is Chief Strategy Officer at Andela, a company that recruits the most talented software engineers on the African continent and pairs them with global tech companies as full-time, distributed team members. Founded on the premise that brilliance is evenly distributed, Andela has built one of the most selective engineering institutions in the world, with headquarters in Lagos, Nairobi, Kampala, San Francisco and New York City. As Chief Strategy Officer, Wambui develops partnerships with top tech organizations across Africa and spearheads Andela's efforts to recruit technical leadership. Wambui was formerly Group Managing Director, Pan Africa and South America, for global technology consulting firm ThoughtWorks. She has since transitioned to a consultative role building the open source and health service ecosystems in Africa, both areas of great personal passion. Currently based in Nairobi, Wambui has been in the professional services (digital, mobile marketing and technology consulting) industry for over eighteen years and has worked in North America, Europe and Africa for companies such as Praekelt Consulting, IBM Global Business Services and Digitas (Publicis Groupe).

    See Wambui Kinya's Crunchbase profile
  • Isis Nyong’o Madison

    Isis Nyong’o Madison

    Isis is an African business leader with deep operational experience scaling media and digital businesses across the continent for notable brands including Google, InMobi and MTV. She is a Founder and Principal for Asphalt & Ink, an Africa-focused strategic advisory firm. She is also the Founder of MumsVillage, a media platform designed to inform and enrich the lives of who are rapidly coming online in Africa.

    Isis is active in Africa’s tech entrepreneurship and women’s leadership spaces. She’s a mentor and angel investor in several start ups and an early member of the Kenya Chapter of Grace Machel Trust’s New Faces New Voices which is focused on growing women’s participation across sectors in Kenya.

    Isis is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Business School. She has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of Africa’s most Powerful Women by Forbes.

    See Isis Nyong’o Madison's Crunchbase profile
  • Samuel Mensa

    Samuel Mensa

    Sam Mensah is Founder and CEO of KISUA, a unique fashion brand that takes inspiration from traditional African techniques and materials, blending them with a contemporary design aesthetic and ethical production methods to create styles for the modern professional. The brand’s clients include award winning musician Beyoncé and the YOOX Net-a-Porter Group, the world’s leading online luxury fashion retailer. KISUA is the only African fashion brand with distribution centers on 3 continents- Africa, Europe and America, from where the company services a global client base through its international ecommerce platform. Sam has long been an advocate for the adoption of technology as a driver of economic growth and development in Africa. He has advised the African Union and several governments on digital inclusion and entrepreneurship policy. Prior to founding KISUA he worked in investment banking at Deutsche Bank, in technology at Intel setting up the Silicon Valley company’s Africa operations, and in venture capital as Africa Director for Intel Capital. Sam who is from Ghana but lives in Johannesburg holds an MA in Economics and Management from Oxford University, is an Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu African Leadership Fellow and a Board Member of the Tomorrow Trust, a charity that provides holistic financial support for the educational needs of over a thousand disadvantaged and vulnerable children and youth, the majority of whom are female.

    See Samuel Mensa's Crunchbase profile
  • Andreata Muforo

    Andreata Muforo

    Andreata Muforo is a Partner at TLcom TIDE Africa Fund and is based in Nairobi. She is engaged in local partnerships with tech entrepreneurs, accelerators and incubators for deal flow generation and mentoring. Andreata has extensive transaction structuring and corporate finance experience. She has worked on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and capital raising mandates for projects across Africa and has a strong network among entrepreneurs and financiers in East Africa.
    Prior to joining TLcom, Andreata was a transaction Manager at Horizon Africa Capital Ltd, a boutique M&A firm, in Nairobi, Kenya. While at Horizon, she structured and advised on complex M&A, and capital raising transactions in the greater East African region. She covered a range of sectors including ICT, financial services, manufacturing, real estate, and fast moving consumer goods. Andreata also worked as an Investment Officer in the private sector department of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Tunisia where she participated in the structuring of project finance transactions and evaluated the AfDB’s investments into private equity funds. Also while at the AfDB, Andreata worked directly with President Kaberuka and his Advisors to support them on issues of corporate and strategic significance to the Bank.
    Andreata holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in Economics from Grinnell College in Iowa, USA.

    See Andreata Muforo's Crunchbase profile
  • Lexi Novistske

    Lexi Novistske

    In 2012 Lexi moved to Nigeria, from The United States, believing that the country held immense untapped potential, having an under-penetrated consumer population, expanding infrastructure and online access, and an active entrepreneur network.

    In 2014, Lexi launched Singularity Investments as the Principal Investment Officer, a venture capital vehicle based in Lagos. Singularity lends its relationships and expertise to source extraordinary investment opportunities, while supplying the skills, resources, and capital to grow portfolio companies into industry leaders across the continent.

    Lexi previously managed investments at Nigerian private equity firm Verod Capital Management. Prior to joining Verod, she was focused on Africa investments at Small Enterprise Assistance funds and in financial services at New York-based Sandler O’Neill Asset Management.

    Lexi is a board member and advisor to several early-stage companies and faculty member and mentor to several accelerators and startup academies. Lexi is a CFA Charterholder and a Kauffman Fellow

    See Lexi Novistske's Crunchbase profile
  • Uche Ofodile

    Uche Ofodile

    Uche Ofodile, Regional Head Africa for Express Wi-Fi, is a senior business leader with extensive expertise in building businesses in emerging markets. With 10 years in CEO, CMO, and CCO roles, she has been the driving force behind transformative change in blue-chip multinational companies.

    Uche was raised and educated in the United States, earning a bachelor’s degree from Ramapo College in New Jersey and, later, a Strategic Marketing Diploma from Columbia University.

    An early career in marketing, advertising, and public relations gave Uche a diverse foundation in the automotive, consulting, higher education, and broadcasting industries. In 2002, Uche accepted her first position in Africa as a Corporate Brand Manager. This was the first step on a path that led to a meteoric rise to senior leadership positions with some of the continent’s fastest-growing companies.

    As the Chief Commercial Officer with MTS, Uche was instrumental in restructuring the business and relaunching the brand to capture game-changing growth in revenues, brand recognition, and customers. A transition into the food and beverage industry saw Uche serve as the Executive Marketing Director for a high-growth start-up. She spurred significant top-line growth and introduced a first-of-its-kind retail initiative in the Nigerian market to support the company’s aggressive 5-year growth plan.

    One of her hallmark achievements is the transformation of Vodafone Ghana from a struggling business, with deteriorating market share, into the country’s #2 telecommunications provider. As Chief Marketing Officer, Uche was instrumental is delivering 3 consecutive years of double-digit revenue growth, resulting in significant awards such as “Telecommunications Company of the Year,” “Best Telecom Brand,” and “Most Admired Brand.”

    Uche was recruited to serve as CEO of Tigo DRC and transform the business. In 18 months, she rebuilt the business strategy, ignited 20% year-over-year growth, positioned the company for rapid market share gains, and revitalized the workforce through strategic cultural and diversity programs. These strong commercial results catalyzed the acquisition of the company by Orange, the French multinational telecom giant, to deliver significant value to shareholders.

    Uche is committed to nurturing and empowering the next generation of leaders. Known for harnessing the power of people to move businesses forward, Uche injects enthusiasm and accountability into an organization to create engaged, high-performing, and cohesive teams.

    See Uche Ofodile's Crunchbase profile
  • Eghosa Omoigui

    Eghosa Omoigui

    Eghosa Omoigui is the founder and Managing General Partner of EchoVC Partners (a seed & early-stage technology venture capital firm bridging Silicon Valley & underserved emerging markets), EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund, a seed-stage tech VC fund focused on sub-Saharan Africa & EchoVC+, an early-growth-stage VC vehicle focused on emerging markets including Africa. Before this, Eghosa was with Intel for nearly 10 years and his last role was as Intel Capital Director, Consumer Internet & Semantic Technologies, where he acted as a senior investment professional focused on platform-agnostic consumer, web services and digital media-based investment opportunities in the US, EU & Asia. Omoigui also drove ICap's stage-agnostic investment focus on next generation semantic technologies, smart data and the realtime web. Eghosa was personally responsible for (developing supporting theses for and) sourcing investment opportunities in various companies including AdMob, Jaiku, Powerset, Facebook, LinkedIn, Teracent, Qik and Pandora.
    Investments in the US and India include: Betaworks, StackCommerce, Talkable, GraphScience (acquired), Stipple (acquired), (acquired), Retailigence (acquired), Sense Networks (acquired), Voxify (acquired), SmartZip, Yatra (IPO), and BuzzInTown (acquired).

    Eghosa has advised SWIFT (the inter-bank consortium) on technology innovation for financial services (InnoTribe), is a member of the ASTIA Venture Advisory Board (an organization focused on mentoring and supporting women entrepreneurs), was a winner of the Moss-Adams/ASTIA Women Entrepreneur Mentor of the Year award, and is a Kauffman Fellowship and Pipeline Angel Fellowship Mentor.

    In September 2014, Nigeria’s then Communications Technology Minister announced that EchoVC Pan-Africa would be the sole manager of the Federal Government of Nigeria's pioneering $15m ICT Innovation Fund.

    EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund's disclosed investments include HotelsNG, the leading hotel booking platform in Nigeria, S&T Media, the fastest growing small-screen digital out-of-home network in West Africa, Ma3route, Kenya's go-to social traffic info platform, and, the largest online print community and marketplace in Africa. EchoVC+ is an investor in Frontier Car Group/Cars45.

    Eghosa collects colognes, has a particular fondness for big dogs, and loves futbol and cricket.

    See Eghosa Omoigui's Crunchbase profile
  • Tayo Oviosu

    Tayo Oviosu

    Tayo Oviosu is the Founder and CEO of Paga, Nigeria’s leading mobile payment service. Tayo has over sixteen years of experience in a variety of technical and business roles in High-tech and Private Equity. Most recently, he was Vice President at Travant Capital Partners where he was responsible for executing the firm‘s investment strategy in West Africa.

    Prior to joining Travant, Tayo was a Manager, Corporate Development, at Cisco Systems in San Jose California. In that role, he was responsible for strategy, acquisitions, and private equity investments in four technology sectors - Virtual Computing, Application Networking, Security, and Network Management. Tayo also helped lead Cisco‘s investment expansion in Africa. At Cisco, Tayo led numerous acquisition and private equity investment opportunities, including the $130m acquisition of Reactivity, and investments in Aquantia (10G Base-T, Series A), and Guardium (Database Security, recently sold to IBM). Tayo was also responsible for the private sale of 22% of Cisco‘s South African operations to a consortium of investors in 2007.

    Prior to Cisco, Tayo was a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting in the CRM and Technology practice. At Deloitte he worked on cases in five industries – high tech, telecom, pharmacy retail, government, and healthcare. He was primarily responsible for leading technical implementation teams. Tayo also had stints at start-ups Biomorphic VLSI as a Semiconductor Chip Design Engineer, and Event411 as a Software Engineer.

    Outside of work, Tayo is passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship across various sectors. He believes entrepreneurship is a major driver of sustainable change and growth across the continent. This passion has led Tayo to work with entrepreneurs to develop their ideas as an Angel investor and adviser. He is currently an investor and adviser in ReelFruit, a Nigerian fruit processing agribusiness; and ChopUp, a mobile gaming start-up. He is also an Ambassador for Junior Achievement – working with one of the largest non-profit youth groups, to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

    Alongside Paga’s numerous achievements, Tayo has been nominated for the West African Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2013 All African Business Leaders Awards

    See Tayo Oviosu's Crunchbase profile
  • Sacha Poignonnec

    Sacha Poignonnec

    Sacha Poignonnec is the Co-CEO of Jumia (formerly Africa Internet Group), Africa’s leading Internet platform, a group that operates online and mobile e-commerce retail, marketplaces, classifieds and services companies and facilitatory services such as booking agencies. Since starting in 2012, he has overseen with Jeremy Hodara the launch and expansion of ten companies in more than 30 countries across Africa. Previously, Sacha worked for McKinsey in Paris and New York, focusing on Consumer Goods and Retail. He started his career with Arthur Andersen, and then participated in the creation of Accuracy, a corporate finance boutique based in Paris. Sacha holds a master's degree in business administration from EDHEC Business School, France, where he majored in Finance.

    See Sacha Poignonnec's Crunchbase profile
  • Juliana Rotich

    Juliana Rotich

    Juliana Rotich is a consultant, technologist, strategic advisor, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker. Juliana serves as an advisor to the councils of BASF, Risk Cooperative, Africa Technology Ventures (ATV) and the Lemelson Foundation. She is also a trustee of Bankinter Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Spain, board member of Digital Impact Alliance and the Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board.

    Juliana enjoys forging powerful partnerships to accomplish transformational projects and provide opportunity for innovators in East Africa. Her personal mission is to make things, fix problems and help others. Wherever technology can help to do these three things and accelerate progress, she enjoys figuring out that intersection and adding constructive value. She is a champion for internet connectivity, science education, inspiration and works to support entrepreneurs to scale their work and impact.

    She is Co-founder of BRCK Inc, a hardware and services technology company based in Nairobi, Kenya. BRCK was formed to realize a vision for enabling communication in low infrastructure environments by developing useful, innovative, and exciting hardware-centered technologies in Kenya. She drives partnerships for tackling social problems through appropriate technology.

    Juliana co-founded Ushahidi Inc., a non-profit tech company, which specializes in developing free and open source software for changing how information flows in the world. She was Executive Director from Jan 2011 to September 2015, strategically spearheading Ushahidi to be translated into over 30 languages, over 90,000 deployments and a 20 million populations reach. She was instrumental in increasing business development revenue and philanthropic capital into Ushahidi and its related initiatives like iHub. Before Ushahidi, she worked in the telecommunications and data warehousing industry with over 10 years of experience.

    See Juliana Rotich's Crunchbase profile
  • Chris Savides

    Chris Savides

    Chris Savides is the head of the Showmax business in Africa. He’s part of the core team that first conceptualised and built Showmax, bringing extensive online payments and marketing experience from previous roles at DStv Digital Media, First National Bank (FNB) and Sun International. In his role at FNB, Chris was instrumental in bringing PayPal to South Africa and Kenya.

    See Chris Savides's Crunchbase profile
  • Blinky Bill Sellanga

    Blinky Bill Sellanga

    Blinky Bill (Bill Sellanga) is a Kenyan Musician/Producer and DJ and a founding member of the forward thinking Art and Music Collective Just A Band. He is an alumni of the US State funded music Program One Beat Music in 2013. He was also participant at Red Bull Music Academy Tokyo in 2014 and is a TED Fellow.

    He has played in numerous places around the world including 2017 Design Indaba in Cape Town, TEDGlobal Africa in 2017, SXSW in 2015 and 2012 , Summerstage In Central Park in NYC, Paleo Festival in Switzerland, Future Ports Of Entry Festival in 2016 in Germany and Made In Space in Copenhagen in 2017 amongst others. His music is a mix of futuristic African beats meets, Funk, hip hop, electronica and hint of jazz. He is currently in studio working on his first full length project ‘Everyone’s Just Winging It And Other Fly Tales’ which is slated for an early 2018 release, coming hot off the heels of his first EP that came out in 2016 and is available on all music portals

    See Blinky Bill Sellanga's Crunchbase profile
  • Leonard Stiegeler

    Leonard Stiegeler

    Leonard Stiegeler has been the General Manager of Swiss Ringier Africa AG since 2016 – responsible for the company's operations in classifieds and content and its marketing and digital services provider on the continent. Ringier is active in 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and leads brands such as Pulse, Business Insider, Jobberman, Cheki, Private Property, BuyRentKenya, Pigiame, ZoomTanzania, Ringier Digital Marketing and many more. Prior to his work with Ringier since 2013, Leo helped to establish Rocket Internet and other German investors in Africa. Leo is originally from Germany and has been based in different African countries since 2011.

    Leonard earned his degree at London School of Economics and Political Science.

    See Leonard Stiegeler's Crunchbase profile
  • Eric Thimba

    Eric Thimba

    Eric Thimba is co-founder and CEO at MOOKH which is a social e-commerce platform that allows sellers to quickly and easily set up online stores with full payment integration. MOOKH currently allows sellers to set up online stores within 4 specific categories i.e. Products, Ticketing, Music and Donations (crowd funding).

    MOOKH launched in August 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya and over the last 2 years has had over 1,000 merchants use the platform to trade online.

    Eric is a seasoned marketer with over 15 years experience in the industry. He is a strong believer in design centered innovation.

    See Eric Thimba's Crunchbase profile
  • Alexia Tsotsis

    Alexia Tsotsis

    Alexia Tsotsis is the former co-editor of TechCrunch. She attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, majoring in Writing and Painting, and moved to New York City shortly after graduation to work in the media industry.

    After four years of living in New York and attending courses at New York University, she returned to Los Angeles in order to continue her career in new media, first as LA Weekly’s Internet culture reporter, and then as SF Weekly’s web editor.

    Before she joined TechCrunch in 2010, Alexia ran the SFweekly website from San Francisco, staying on top of the tech scene and human behavior in the digital age.

    At TechCrunch, Alexia covered young companies, and has had the opportunity to interview everyone from Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to Facebook investor Peter Thiel to fashion blogger Leandra Medine. In 2011, Alexia made the Forbes “30 Under 30: Rising Stars of Media List.” In 2012 she was promoted to Co-EIC of TechCrunch.

    In 2015, she stepped down as co-editor to attend Stanford.

    [**Disclosures**]( I own Aol stock, diversified investments via ETFs and Mutual Funds, and shares in Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter. I am a board member of MAS, a non-profit design lab in Los Angeles. I’m also in a relationship with a VC at General Catalyst Partners. Whenever there is the potential for real or perceived conflict in what I write about, I promise to bring it up, and link back here.

    See Alexia Tsotsis's Crunchbase profile

Judging TechCrunch’s Battlefield Africa

At TechCrunch’s first-ever Startup Battlefield competition in Africa, 15 companies pitched in three categories, and judges picked a winner in each category, as well as an overall ‘best of show’ winner.

Thanks to an incredible turnout by the companies involved, attendees, judges and panelists, the event was a huge success. The enthusiasm of the entrepreneurs and technologists in attendance brought an amazing energy, and we can’t wait to come back again.

Since the event, we’ve had a few questions from attendees about the competition, including how the companies were picked to compete in each category and how the judges made their selections. The process was explained during the show and also issued as written instructions to the judges, but it may be helpful to re-cap again.

The selection process

We selected the Battlefield competitors starting with an application process, which we announced in this post — applying is free and open to any company that meets the criteria of the competition. We saw hundreds of incredible completed applications come in from across Sub-Saharan Africa. TechCrunch editors read all the applications and selected 15 finalists. We notified the finalists on September 1st, but as is our usual practice for Startup Battlefield, we kept the finalist names confidential, and announced them on October 10, the day before the show, which took place on October 11. Four of the finalist companies dropped out of the competition, and we slotted alternates in as the dropouts occurred.Those companies, which had to meet the same criteria, were our next best picks after the initial batch of 15 companies.

Picking the winners

As it came to judging, we established a simple plan that we explained to the judges in an email before the show and explained again in person at the show. For each category, the judges left the stage once all of the startups had presented, and walked upstairs to a deliberation room, accompanied by Samantha Stein, Director of Startup Battlefield, Ned Desmond, COO of TechCrunch, and the TechCrunch editor assigned to a category. The assigned editor ran a 20-30 minute discussion with the judges about the teams.

The criteria for picking the winner was the company most likely to have a major positive impact broadly speaking and/or produce the biggest exit.

In all cases, the judges came to unanimous or near-unanimous decisions. The editors did not have to wield their tie-breaking votes. We asked the judges to keep the results secret until we had a chance to announce the category winners at the end of the competition, and we also asked them to reconvene with all of the other judges at 3:30 that afternoon to pick the best overall startup at the show.

TechCrunch Managing Editor and Battlefield host Matt Burns ran the final judging session. Each of the judges had an opportunity to speak briefly about their picks for the best of show. Then Matt met with each judge individually to take down their votes. Once Matt had met with each judge, Lori Systems had attracted more votes from the judges than any other company. Late that afternoon, the TechCrunch team announced the winners of each category, as well as the best of show, Lori Systems, whose founders won a $25,000 check and an all-expenses-paid trip to Disrupt San Francisco in September 2018.

We wish Lori Systems and all the competitors in Startup Battlefield Africa the best of fortune as they build their companies and go on to great achievements.

We are proud to welcome them into the Battlefield Alumni community along with all of our other finalists and winners and look forward to continuing to tell their story.

Startup Battlefield Africa Agenda

Wednesday, October 11

    All times EAT
  • 9:20 am - 9:25 am

    Opening Remarks: Matt Burns (TechCrunch)

  • 9:25 am - 9:50 am

    Africa Unicorn: How Do We Produce the Next African Unicorn?

    In conversation with Eghosa Omoigui (EchoVC Partners), Tayo Oviosu (Paga) and Sacha Poignonnec (Jumia)

  • 9:50 am - 9:55 am

    How the Startup Battlefield Works with Matt Burns (TechCrunch)

  • 9:55 am - 11:05 am

    Startup Battlefield Africa Session 1: Productivity and Utility

    Judges: Wale Ayeni (International Finance Corporation), Aaron Fu (Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology), Andreata Muforo (TLcom Capital), Lexi Novitske (Singularity Investments) and Eghosa Omoigui (EchoVC Partners)

  • 11:05 am - 11:25 am


  • 11:25 am - 11:50 am

    Connectivity: Solving Africa's Connectivity Equation

    In conversation with Kamal Bhattacharya (Safaricom), Erik Hersman (BRCK), Bitange Ndemo (University of Nairobi) and Uche Ofodile (

  • 11:50 am - 12:45 pm

    Startup Battlefield Africa Session 2: Gaming and Entertainment

    Judges: Kamal Bhattacharya (Safaricom), Monique Idlett-Mosley (Reign Venture Capital), Leo Stiegeler (Ringier Africa AG) and Chris Savides (ShowMax)

  • 12:45 pm - 1:10 pm

    Development: Will Startups Solve Africa's Biggest Development Problems?

    In conversation with Dr. Solomon Assefa (IBM Research - Africa), Rebecca Enonchong (AppsTech), Wambui Kinya (Andela) and Juliana Rotich (Africa Tech Ventures, BRCK)

  • 1:10 pm - 1:50 pm


  • 1:50 pm - 3:00 pm

    Startup Battlefield Africa Session 3: Social Good

    Judges: Shuonan Chen (Agile Venture Capital), Yariv Cohen (Ignite Power, Kaenaat), Tomi Davies (Lagos Angels Network, African Business Angel Network), Isis Nyong’o Madison (Asphalt & Ink) and Alexia Tsotsis (investor and former co-Editor, TechCrunch)

  • 3:00 pm - 3:25 pm

    Creative Industries: Digitizing Africa's Creative Industries

    In conversation with Graeme Cumming (MultiChoice), Monique Idlett-Mosley (Reign Venture Capital) Samuel Mensah (Kisua) and Bill Sellanga (Just a Band),

  • 3:25 pm - 3:55 pm

    Facebook Session: Keynote & Fireside Chat

    Ime Archibong (VP Platform Partnerships, Facebook)

  • 3:55 pm - 4:40 pm

    Facebook Session: The Startup Journey to Success

    Facebook’s Emeka Afigbo (Head of Middle East and Africa, Platform Partnerships) in conversation with Chijioke Dozie (Co-founder and CEO, OneFi), Mark Essien (Founder and CEO, and Eric Thimba (Co-founder and CEO, MOOKH)

  • 4:40 pm - 5:00 pm


  • 5:00 pm - 5:15 pm

    Startup Battlefield Winners Announced

  • 5:15 pm - 5:20 pm


  • 5:20 pm - 7:00 pm


Join Us In Person

We’re looking for some hard-core TechCrunch fans to join us for this event on October 11. Not only will attendees be able to see in person which startup will win Startup Battlefield, but we’ll also have several discussions on the hottest tech topics with top tech leaders. We have a limited number of seats available so apply for a chance to get a ticket to secure a seat at the venue. As of September 26, we are sold out of tickets. You can still catch all the action online at on October 11.


Bloomberg. CNBC. Financial Times. Mashable. Disrupt hosts hundreds of accredited reporters, bloggers and correspondents from around the world. Journalists can apply for a media pass to TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa here.