Startups under the MEST Program pitched their products to investors and VCs from Silicon Valley.
AFRITECH 2016 wrapped up with two panels discussing investment as well as venture capitalism, and MEST Demo Day.
Perhaps the most notable of the products, Henry Mascot of Curacel Health, pitched a system of managing electronic health records for African health facilities to the judges, including Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, founder of the Growing Businesses Foundation.
Following on a brief speech by Samsung’s Director for West Africa, Olumide Ojo on collaborations between the company and other stakeholders at various levels, MEST founder, Jorn Lyseggen spoke, in 6 lessons, on his journey in the African ecosystem.
The discourse was started by a panel of investors moderated by Jorn Lyseggen that had Tomi Davies of the African Business Angel Network; Wale Ayeni of International Finance Corporation; DiGAME’s Nnnena Nkongho; Aadil Mamujee, an angel investor with Musha Ventures and Jason Njoku, founder of Spark and iROKO.
Speaking on investing in Afritech, the discussion revolved around the interactions between African startups and investors and how they raise and use capital.
In response to a question on what startups should prioritise in sourcing for investment, Jason Njoku advised that companies should not operate with a culture built around finding investment but focus on making their processes and products better.
As an opportunity for companies under the MEST program to pitch products, the event moved to Demo Day.
In addition to Curacel Health, the guys at Devless pitched a platform for developers while an app for conducting remote video interviews called Dropque was presented by the team at Dropque, another of MEST’s products.
Next, Jorn Lyseggen was joined by Michael Sharon, formerly of Facebook and Matt Michelsen of Gotham Africa, for the Silicon Valley Fireside Chat. From years of experience in the famed valley between them, the three spoke on the value of mentorships and re-educating the rest of the world about Africa.
Taking a cue from his time at Facebook, Michael Sharon advised startups and founders to run fast and break things by creating amazing products and causing disruption.
Finally, venture capital was given the spotlight; the closing panel was made up of Yassi Hasson of Barclays Accelerator, Hybr Group’s Charles Ojei; Levi Novitske of Singularity; Samuel Ajadi of the GSM Alliance as well as Omotunde Abimbola of Interswitch and Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien as they discussed “Corporate Venture Capitalism”.
Moderated by Jason Spingler, startups were encouraged to develop themselves within accelerators and incubator programs.
Yassi Hasson noted that founders need to understand that most venture capitalists are not interested in building the ecosystem in a holistic sense but in investing in successful products and as such they should focus on creating those products.
The Africa Tech Summit, in collecting the brightest minds as well as influencers and stakeholders in every level of African technology, has presented an opportunity for appraisal as well as earmarking the necessary elements for the levels of growth that is hoped for.
Between panels brimming with expertise and exhibitions of the continent’s talent, the event also provided an opportunity for participants to build networks with a view to future collaboration across the continent and beyond.
To pull the curtains on the summit, Demo Day continued with pitches from Laystar and Flippy Campus in another display of the growing value that MEST is adding to the African tech ecosystem.