Mauritius-based online hotel booking service SleepOut.com has beaten 11 competitors to win the 2014 Startup Battle of the Cities (SBOC) award at IdeaLab! – The Founders Conference in Vallendar, Germany.
Accommodation marketplace SleepOut.com was launched in June 2012 in Lamu, Kenya, and offers hotels, property owners and agents a secure platform on which to list their available accommodation, with users now able find a place to stay in 505 cities in 62 countries. It has raised a total of US$200,000 in funding.
Chief executive officer (CEO) Johann Jenson gave a presentation at the event which focused on the company’s growth and expansion as well as the merits of its host country Mauritius, where it shifted the bulk of its operations in March in order to take advantage of its business climate, emerging tech ecosystem and large tourism industry.
Jenson told Disrupt Africa he was surprised and proud to have won the award ahead of competition from startups from the likes of Tel Aviv and Dublin.
“Coming from Africa, we did not expect to be able to compete on-level with European and American startups so we’re very much honoured to have been selected as winners at such a prestigious event so far from home,” he said.
“Hopefully this will help with our expansion and fundraising efforts, or even inspire more tech entrepreneurs to make this beautiful island their home.”
The SBOC event is a pitching competition where competing founders pitch both their startup and their city or region in front of established investors, and connect and network with other startups from around the world. The event took place at arguably Germany’s top business university, WHU, which has produced alumni such as Rocket Internet founder Oliver Samwer.
IdeaLab! – The Founders Conference takes place every year, bringing together students, founders, investors and entrepreneurs.