CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

15 October 2012

Africa: Demo Africa Startups Seek to Raise Over Ksh. 500 Million in Growth Capital

The 40 start-up companies that will launch at the inaugural DEMO Africa conference, a launch pad for emerging technology innovations, are seeking to raise over $60m to take their businesses to the next level of innovation and development.

DEMO Africa, which will be held in Africa for the first time after it started 21 years ago in the US, will bring together the most innovative companies from across Africa, as well as leading investors and corporations to see the start-ups launch their latest products. Paying tribute to the diversity that richly characterizes the continent, the 40 start-ups extend across five core categories, including consumer technology, mobile technology, enterprise technology, cloud services and social media.

DEMO Africa Director, Harry Hare confirmed that the 2.5 day conference to be held on October 24th - 26th will provide a platform for start-ups from across Africa to pitch for growth capital and strategic partnerships, with the aim of developing the companies' capacity to compete with tech startups across the globe.

"Cumulatively, the nominees are looking to raise over $66,280,000. This event firmly demonstrates that Africa is the next frontier on all economic facets. We are seeing a renewed energy even in the invention of technological infrastructure, initiatives that we are keen to nurture." Harry said.

According to 2009 DEMO demonstrator research study conducted by BluePoint Ventures, in the past 20 years, 22% of past demonstrators received funding within 60 days as a direct result of a DEMO launch. 92% who secured funding, did so within 9 months of DEMO, whereas 62% received over $1 million in funding - mostly from venture capital funds and angel investors.

"We have seen unprecedented acquisition with the global chapter where more than 50 demonstrating companies were acquired in the last four years alone. Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Motorola, Symantec, HP, SAP and Yahoo! have all been to DEMO more than once, acquiring multiple DEMO companies. " Harry noted.

He added that in just the past five years, DEMO companies have raised over $4.5 billion dollars in the months/years following their debut at DEMO. DEMO Africa is sponsored by Microsoft, US State DEPT, AFDB, CCK, Nokia and Safaricom.

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