This one’s for you, startups in sub-Saharan Africa. TechCrunch is excited to be partnering with Facebook to bring our illustrious startup competition, the Startup Battlefield, to Nairobi, Kenya later this year, and we’re looking for some promising startups to take part in the inaugural Startup Battlefield Africa.
Startups can apply to one of three categories: social good, productivity and utility or gaming and entertainment. As long as your company fits into one of these categories and you meet the eligibility criteria at the bottom of this post, you are encouraged to apply no later than July 14, 2017 at 5pm PST.
The application can be found here. Companies selected to participate will be notified by August 21.
TechCrunch will host Startup Battlefield Africa in Nairobi in front of a live audience and prominent judges in each category, and we will live stream the show on TechCrunch and Facebook so the rest of the world can tune in.
The judges will choose a winner in each category and select an overall winner, “Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup,” whose founders will win $25,000 USD in no-equity cash plus an all expense paid trip (for two to San Francisco to exhibit at Disrupt SF, TechCrunch’s flagship event) in September 2018 to compete in Startup Battlefield there, assuming the company still qualifies.
We’re especially excited to be hosting this event during a period of promising growth for the region. Sub-Saharan Africa just produced its first unicorn, online shopping site Jumia, exits in the region are increasingly frequent and VCs all around the world are taking notice.
The Startup Battlefield Africa event will take place October 11 in Nairobi, Kenya at a location to be announced. We hope to see you and your promising social good, productivity and utility or gaming and entertaining company there.
Additional information about eligibility criteria and the event itself is found below.
Here’s how to participate
Startups must fit into one of three categories (social good, productivity and utility or gaming and entertainment) to participate. Five startups in each category will be selected to join us onstage for the Battlefield Africa in Nairobi.
Apart from clear relevance to one of the three themes, qualifying startups should:
- Be early-stage companies in “launch” stage
- Be a resident from our eligible countries
- Have a fully working product/beta, reasonably close to or in production
- Have received limited press or publicity to date
- Have no known intellectual property conflicts
What do the winners receive?
Apart from the exposure that comes from pitching to the global TechCrunch audience, as well as the live audience of distinguished technologists, entrepreneurs and investors in Nairobi, the overall winner will receive $25,000 in no-equity cash plus an all expense paid trip (for two to San Francisco to exhibit at Disrupt SF, TechCrunch’s flagship event) in September 2018 to compete in Startup Battlefield there, assuming the company still qualifies.
Are costs to attend the pitch-off covered?
No, but TechCrunch will try to find financial assistance for a startup in need of assistance to reach the Nairobi event.
Who picks the startups that will compete?
The TechCrunch editors who run the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield competition will choose the finalists from the application pool.
Who will judge the pitch-offs?
TechCrunch and Facebook will select four judges for each theme. They will be noted entrepreneurs, investors and technologists with experience relevant to the category. A TechCrunch editor will moderate the judging and cast the tie-breaker ballot, if needed.
What is the pitch-off format?
Each company will have five minutes to present. The judges will have five minutes to ask questions. Live demos are strongly encouraged.
What are the judging criteria?
Productivity and Utility — The judges will pick the startup 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 — The judges will look for the startup with the product most likely to catalyze social and economic development through technology.
Gaming and Entertainment — The judges will pick the startup 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.
When is the application deadline?
July 14th, 2017 at 5pm PST.
When will you notify the finalists?
August 21st, 2017 at 5pm PST.
Will TechCrunch’s team help prepare startups for the pitch-off?
Yes; in-person training and rehearsal sessions will be required, as well in-person rehearsal on October 10th.
What else do I need to know?
The pitch-off is on October 11th, 2017. There will be a reception at the end of the pitch-off, where each company will have room to exhibit and talk 1:1 with pitch-off attendees.
What countries are eligible?
Residents in the following countries may apply: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the foregoing language, the “Applicable Countries” does not include any country to or on which the United States has embargoed goods or imposed targeted sanctions (including, but not limited to, Sudan).
See you in Nairobi!
(Note: Text above regarding the prize for the winner of Battlefield Africa was modified for clarity.)