Five startups have emerged winners of Stellenbosch University’s LaunchLab incubator-run Ideas Programme pitching competition, sharing ZAR80,000 (US$5,108) in seed funding.
Applications opened to the Ideas Programme pitching platform in March, inviting aspiring entrepreneurs from around the Western Cape to submit business ideas in the areas of fintech and big data, paid media, cleantech, agritech and food, edutech, and exceptional solutions.
The competition received 115 entries, with 11 entrepreneurs selected to pitch at the main event held in May.
A panel of judges chose five winners, each receiving a share of ZAR80,000 (US$5,108) in seed funding.
The biggest award went to a candidate in the paid media category, NewsForce, which publishes crowd-sourced news content with a bounty attached to items in demand. The startup received ZAR30,000 (US$1,915).
In the exceptional category, on demand marketplace for storage needs Sxuirrel, took home ZAR20,000 (US$1,276).
Two edutech candidates were awarded with ZAR10,000 (US$638) reach – MyGrow, an online platform for delivering emotional intelligence learning; and Scryo, a lightweight on-screen audio and writing as a tutoring service for learners.
In the fintech and big data category, BriteCap, a tool for finding and paying lower-skilled employees, was granted ZAR10,000 (US$638).
“These winners are not only an exciting sample of what our local entrepreneurs are up to but also provide valuable products and services that our corporate partners can benefit from,” said LaunchLab chief executive officer (CEO) Philip Marais.
“We believe the LaunchLab can provide a valuable service to industry giving them access to innovative and disruptive business ideas as well as playing an important role of facilitating collaboration between big business and startups. Both big business and start-ups have strengths the other does not have that we can help them to leverage to their mutual benefit.”
The last edition of the Ideas Programme concluded in October last year, when nine winners were rewarded with ZAR100,000 (US$6,382) in funding.