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Demo Africa Selects 40 Projects for 2013 Launchpad



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40 projects have been selected for launchpad at this year’s DEMO Africa conference, according to the organizers.

300 technology startups from 24 African countries applied for this year’s DEMO Africa conference.

50 percent of the total entries fell under the Mobile and Social Media/Computing category, and 20 percent were placed in the Cloud Computing and Enterprise Systems category.

Speaking during a press conference, Mbugua Njihia, the coordinator, DEMO Africa conference said 19 out of the total 40 projects selected to launch on the 24th and 25th of October 2013, at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi are based on the consumer segment.

The projects mostly focused on social media, cloud services, mobile, consumer and enterprise. However Njihia noted a shift towards mobile telephony as a financially viable solution among the entries, as well as the impact of mobile phone penetration within the continent.

Harry Hare, the executive producer of DEMO Africa said the conference is not a start up competition; it’s a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their projects to investors and technology buyers; though most of the project entries are focused to the consumers creating a gap in the enterprise business sector.

Last year, DEMO Africa Alumni raised USD 8 million in terms of capital, partnership and business after pitching their projects to investors.

SasaAfrika raised 750,000 Euros and Lipisha raised $300,000. Hare said that most of the 2013 DEMO Africa projects are up and running and the owners are looking for funds to elevate these projects to the next level.

“I believe this is a sign that Africans view mobile telephony as an opportunity to solve problems for the consumers on the continent in a financially viable way. This mirrors the increase in mobile penetration across Africa and signals the potential for mobile networks to help many on the continent create wealth and play a role in reducing poverty,” said Muchiri Nyaggah, one of the DEMO Africa Judges.

Mr. Nyaggah added that the entries demonstrated the increased need for investment in ICT education to ensure the demand created for mobile solutions are not only exploited by firms from other parts of the world but by indigenous innovators as well.

The role of DEMO Africa is however to offer coaching and support to entrepreneurs in redefining their business models.

The conference has attracted investors from all over the world though last year, DEMO Africa was faced with a challenge of bring local investors on-board. Hare says most of them focused on traditional investments like real estate and not technology.

The 2013 DEMO Africa application process took 3 months and a month for adjudication. A total of 12 judges from Sub Saharan Africa participated in the judging process.

Out of the 40, South Africa will launch 12 start-ups, Kenya will launch nine while Nigeria and Egypt will launch four and five start-ups respectively.

Tanzania had two qualifying start-ups while Ghana, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Uganda and Morocco will each have one project launching at the DEMO Stage.

The judges looked for products that resonate in a few minutes’ entrepreneurs were required to sell their products to an investor in the shortest time possible at the elevator pitch.

They focused on solutions that addressed local problems and have a commercial element i.e. how the business model will make money.

Now on its 2nd year, the event has already captured the interest of global giants such as Intel, Microsoft, and Nokia, with the finalists getting a chance to present their ideas to potential investors at the forum.

DEMO Africa is the flagship initiative of the Liberating Innovation in Opportunity Nations in Africa ([email protected]) Partnership.

The DEMO Africa event provides a platform for innovative ideas and local tech start-ups looking for opportunity to nurture their skills and get exposure on the global stage.

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TikTok Picks Oracle to Provide ‘Secure’ Cloud Tech



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Enterprise software giant Oracle announced that it has been chosen to become TikTok’s “secure” cloud technology provider.

According to Oracle, this technical decision by TikTok was heavily influenced by Zoom’s recent success in moving a large portion of its video-conferencing capacity to the Oracle Public Cloud.

Oracle’s announcement comes after TikTok parent ByteDance last week said it will not be selling the video-sharing app’s US operations to software giant Microsoft.

This after US president Donald Trump signed an executive order on 6 August, blocking all transactions with ByteDance in an effort to address “national emergency” issues.

On 14 August, the US president issued an order that gave ByteDance 90 days to divest the US operations of TikTok.

Since then, US companies such as Microsoft and Oracle have been lining up as potential buyers for the popular short video app.

As the trade war between the US and China rages on, the US government has accelerated its efforts to purge Chinese apps and technology companies that it deems untrustworthy.

Trump and his administration raised national security issues, alleging the Chinese-owned company will share sensitive user data with the Chinese government.

“TikTok picked Oracle’s new Generation 2 Cloud infrastructure because it’s much faster, more reliable, and more secure than the first generation technology currently offered by all the other major cloud providers,” says Oracle chief technology officer Larry Ellison.

“In the 2020 Industry CloudPath survey that IDC recently released where it surveyed 935 infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) customers on their satisfaction with the top IaaS vendors including Oracle, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM and Google Cloud…Oracle IaaS received the highest satisfaction score.”

“As a part of this agreement, TikTok will run on the Oracle Cloud and Oracle will become a minority investor in TikTok Global,” says Oracle CEO Safra Catz.

“Oracle will quickly deploy, rapidly scale and operate TikTok systems in the Oracle Cloud. We are 100% confident in our ability to deliver a highly secure environment to TikTok and ensure data privacy to TikTok’s American users, and users throughout the world.

“This greatly improved security and guaranteed privacy will enable the continued rapid growth of the TikTok user community to benefit all stakeholders.”

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Inq. Acquires Vodacom’s Business in Nigeria, Others



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inq. Holdings Limited, artificial intelligence service provider, has acquired Vodacom Business Africa’s operations in Nigeria, Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire.

Inq. Acquires Vodacom’s Business in Nigeria, Others

It plans further acquisition in Cameroon subject to regulatory approvals.

Mr. Valentine Chime, managing director, inq. Holdings Limited, said the 100 per cent acquisition of the Vodacom Business Africa’s operations in the three countries was in pursuit of the company’s dream of building pan-African network that will help in creating better future through digital solutions.

Domiciled in Mauritius, inq. Holdings Limited is a subsidiary of Convergence Partners Communications Infrastructure Fund, a fund dedicated solely to communications infrastructure and related services and technologies across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Formerly known as Synergy Communications, the latest acquisition has grown inq.’s regional footprint with operations in 12 cities in seven countries across Africa. It has existing operations in Botswana, Malawi and South Africa with an additional investment in Mozambique.

“Under the inq. banner the company will embark on the next phase of building a unified Pan-African cloud and digital service provider, bringing to market a very relevant suite of next generation technology solutions in the fields of Edge AI, SD-WAN/NFV and Cloud,”Chime said.

According to him, with operations in major African cities of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Gaborone, Lusaka, Ndola, Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Abidjan and Johannesburg, the inq. team prides itself on global best practice methodologies customised to local customs in each of the 16 cities, covering different sectors including banking, oil and gas, fast moving consumer goods, mining, health, real estate, information technologies, public sector and logistics.

“Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation, and inq. is perfectly positioned to deliver intelligent connectivity through seamless delivery of cloud and digital services and  technologies to our clients. We are about simpler, seamless solutions,” Chime said.



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HP Lauds TD Africa, Says Tech Experience Centre will Unlock New Wave in Nigeria



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As Nigeria looks forward to the official launch of the Tech Experience Centre, globally renowned tech giant, Hewlett Packard Inc. (HP) has heaped praises on the management of TD Africa for spearheading the project, noting that the centre will herald a new technological wave in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by Ife Afe, managing director – Nigeria and District Manager – Central Africa (CAF).

Equally important, HP is one of the global Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) that will be represented in the Tech Experience Centre located within Yudala Heights at 13 Idowu Martins, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Consequently, Afe has expressed delight with the development, even as she disclosed that the launch of the centre will bridge the gap to complete technology adoption for millions of Nigerians.

She said: ‘‘I do believe Nigerians are early adopters of new and exciting technology. Having a dedicated space where people can view and experience cutting-edge technology across rich and diverse portfolio is an important step towards complete Adoption.

‘‘Technology is about transformation. This tech centre will serve as a bridge, taking people from the imaginative stage to the experiential stage, thereby unlocking a new technological wave.

“I am very glad that TD Africa is taking this bold step and I look forward to the great collaborations that will flow out of this initiative.’’

Furthermore, the HP Senior Management Executive reiterated the strong interest in Nigeria by the tech brand.

‘‘We are strong believers in the Nigerian project and the boundless potential inherent in the population when exposed to cutting-edge technology.

“We also value the foresight and vision of our long-time partner and co-developer – TD Africa. We are proud of this project and are confident of its success and positive impact not just in the sphere of business but also in human capital development,’’ Afe enthused.

On what to expect from HP in the Tech Experience Centre, she revealed that a lot is in store for every visitor.

‘‘HP is in the business of making life better for everyone, everywhere, hence revolutionary innovation in Health care, Security, Gaming and Printing Solutions will be showcased in the Technology Centre.  Cutting- edge, sustainable, diverse and relevant innovation in technology.

‘‘This brings technology closer to home. I believe that the ambience of the Tech Centre will cater to a wide spectrum of users: CEO’s, Government officials, entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, students, gamers etc. It will be the crucial meeting point of people and technology.

“Our wide spectrum of products and solutions will cater to all demographics – from first time users to specialists, professionals, gamers to moviemakers, work or play,’’ she affirmed.

The revolutionary Tech Experience Centre, the first of its kind in Africa, is set for launch on Thursday, October 1st 2020, incidentally the occasion of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary by 12noon, with the launch streamed live online for the benefit of tech enthusiasts.

Expected to officially commission the centre is the Minister of Communica99tions and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami.

The Tech Centre is widely expected to boost Nigeria’s relevance in the global technology race and shore up the country’s march to technology independence.

For the first time, Nigeria will play host to the latest global technologies including those not normally available in Africa, offering all classes of visitors a first-hand experience of new gadgets, solutions and infrastructure that would have previously required a visit abroad, thereby saving corporate organizations, government establishments and individuals money or scarce foreign exchange expended on these trips.



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