PIVOT East 2015 finalists announced

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East African mobile startups pitching competition PIVOT East has announced the 25 finalists in five categories to pitch at the event on July 22.

Disrupt Africa reported earlier this month PIVOT East had selected 50 semi-finalists, with that list now having been narrowed down to 25 startups, all of which will now undergo one month of training before the event itself in Nairobi, Kenya.

Five finalists have been selected in each of five categories – Mobile Finance, Mobile Enterprise, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Utilities and Mobile Society and Governance. PIVOT East is organised by m:lab East Africa – a consortium comprising iHub, eMobilis, University of Nairobi and the World Wide Web Foundation.

Kenya is represented by 16 startups, Tanzania has six, while Uganda and Rwanda have one each.

In the Finance category, BitFinance (Kenya/Zimbabwe), Eko Biashara (Kenya), Hisa Play (Kenya), Shield Finance (Kenya) and V-Money (Tanzania) will go head to head, while the Enterprise category finalists are all from Kenya, namely Duma Works, Djuaji, Tenderpreneur.net, Mobu and SaniCMS.

The Entertainment category is made up of Soka (Tanzania), Makarao (Kenya), Guumzo (Tanzania), Moview (Tanzania) and Kaka and Chui (Kenya).

Snapp Builder (Kenya), ENT-Mobile (Kenya), SafeMotos (Rwanda), Nikweli (Tanzania) and African Fashion (Tanzania) will compete in the Utilities category, while the Society and Governance category is made up of Arifu (Kenya), BOOKEX (Kenya), MySecurity (Kenya), Feedback-RT (Uganda) and Politik (Kenya).

For each category a sixth best startup has been placed on a waiting list in case any finalists drop out. These are Kenyan startups Bangaiza App, Ekodi, Softballot, SpotMe and Skillence, as well as Yanguwa from Uganda.

“What a huge opportunity! We are grateful and so excited to get people talking about online recruiting in Kenya. I encourage audience members to try out our service on Duma Works and come armed with the hard questions,” Arielle Sandor, co-founder of Duma Works, told Disrupt Africa.

SafeMotos co-founder Peter Kariuki, originally from Kenya, said: “I am honoured to be a finalist in PIVOT East and am excited to share in my hometown the incredible work that SafeMotos has been accomplishing in Rwanda. We are humbled.”

Since 2011, PIVOT East has identified and supported 100 mobile startups as finalists, with the m:lab having funded 20 of these startups to the tune of US$200,000 thus far. This year, competitors will have to persuade investors to back them.

“This year, the finalists of the competition will receive training, coaching and mentorship in the weeks preceding the pitching conference and also after the pitching conference. These activities assist the finalists to improve key elements of their business models and the positioning of their startups to the rich audience at the conference. Startups in the waiting list and the other semifinalists who did not make it to the finalists will also benefit from the training, coaching and mentoring given to the finalists,” PIVOT East said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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