Demo Africa kicks off in Lagos, as start-ups tasked on relevant solution

Call it the largest gathering of technology entrepreneurs and enthusiasts alike, you may not be wrong. The long awaited Demo Africa has kicked off in Lagos with tens of tech entrepreneurs exploring the opportunity to attract investors.

Basically, most of the tech entrepreneurs are start ups looking for seed funding to get their ideas off the ground. From the pitches so far, it has revealed that there is a deep thinking and vibrant minds creating solutions for any conceivable problems in the continent. The two day event provided opportunity for the start-ups to present their solutions to listening audience, most of whom are investors waiting to part with their money on any innovative ideas that interests them.

On the first day, there were quite a number of start-ups that demonstrated their solutions before the investors. Some of them included, Paysail, Beamremit, .ConnectFinance, Foodstantly, etc.

Paysail is a solution that helps local businesses, mainly SMEs to effectively manage their payroll as well as tackle the challenges of tax remittances and compliance. The app is developed in Ghana and the developer, Osborne Kwateng said he is looking for $100, 000.

Beamremit is remitting money in Ghana using a cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. The application converts a Bitcoin into its Cedi equivalent and the recipient receives mobile money instantly. The founder of Beamremit, Nikunj Handa said the solution helps to save cost of remittances.

,ConnectFinance on the other hand is a banking and finance app that enables businesses manage data. A bit complex but quite innovative app, the founder, Tope Olutola said the company has raised 25 percent of the $300, 000 that it needs to expand its operations across Africa.

On its part, online food marketplace, Foodstantly said it provides one-stop shop for food sellers and shoppers. This includes both the sellers of raw food and cooked food in restaurants. It also serves as a marketplace for restaurants to sell their cuisine while advertising as well. The founder, Uchay Ariolu said the vision is to use technology to provide access to food for millions of Nigerians and that he needs $150, 000 as a seed investment to take its services to the next level.

There were other interesting and innovative solutions like mobile jobs from Ethiopia, SpellAfrica and Feedbackplus from Nigeria, Online Hisab from Ethiopia, SmartPesa from South Africa, Voto Mobile from Ghana and a host of others presented during the pitch sessions at the ongoing Demo Africa.

The pitch sessions were punctuated by discussions from the investment panel drawn from expert investors in the technology sector. There were different panel sessions all responding to different presentations made during the pitch sessions. Their reactions to some of the products were quite insightful and encouraging to the start-ups.

For instance, Ngozi Bell, from United States Small Business Administration while reacting to the Beamremit solution said it is a relevant solution that will help to save Africans living overseas the huge cost they incur sending remittances.

She said: “Lots of money running into billions of dollars is spent by Africans living in Europe and America annually and lot more money is spent also trying to make those remittances. So it would be a viable opportunity for any idea, like Beamremit that offers to bridge that gap.”

She noted that, e-commerce is already saturated but Africa still has lots of opportunities.

Some other discussants were of the opinion that there is more money coming to Africa than there is a capacity to absorb it. They argue that it is all about getting Africa ready through acquisition of relevant skills and the right entrepreneurship spirit. They advocate an effective communication on the part of entrepreneurs, unbridled passion and knowledge of the intended business and market.

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