Yesterday, a total of 15 startups pitched at the ZOL sponsored Startup Challenge, held alongside BarCamp Zimbabwe. It was quite an experience seeing the 15 teams, one after the other, present their ideas and solutions. We have quite some talent and ingenuity among us. This was the first tech pitching event for a lot of people present and there was a lot to learn for everyone; organisers, startups and we’re sure even the judges learnt a thing or two.
The goal was to come up with 5 finalist startups that pitch at another event for the main prize: US $10,000 for the winning startup and US $5,000 each for the two runner ups (half of the prize money for each winner is in actual cash and the other half in internet services.) The 3 winning startups will also benefit from some business mentoring by the main sponsor to the challenge, Zimbabwe Online.
Of the startups that pitched, two were selected by the judges to go through to the finals. These are; Mukela Travel (www.mukela.com ), an online reservation site connecting local and international tourists to a network of accommodation options in Zimbabwe, and AvisPar Visual Package (www.sadomba-mahari.com), a 3D computer graphics animations application for advertising media production and film-making. At this stage, the 2 startups have received US $500 in cash and US $500 in Internet services.
In order to fill the remaining 3 slots, a follow-up pitching event will be conducted at the
Miekles Hotel Harare Club in Harare, in which new startups are open to pitch and stand a chance to be among the 5 finalists. Startups that pitched at BarCamp Zimbabwe on 3 August are also welcome to pitch but will obviously need to fix the issues they had, or come up with a new idea/solution. We will open for submissions as soon as possible. An announcement will be made on the BarCamp site and here on Techzim this week.
The actual final pitching event is scheduled for a date to be announced when the 5 finalists have been chosen.
Some pictures of the startups that through to the finals: