SA tech investor launches $1m African AI challenge


South African investment firm Sagarmatha Technologies has opened applications for its AI Revolution Challenge, which will see one African artificial intelligence (AI) startup secure US$1 million in development funding plus other value-adds.

The Cape Town-based Sagarmatha Technologies said the AI Revolution Challenge was aimed at promoting artificial intelligence on the African continent and showcasing emerging businesses and top talent working to build expertise in their countries.

The company will provide the US$1 million in development funding and more than double that in marketing value-ads and prizes to the winner of the challenge.

“Africa as a continent is creative and has unique perspectives, providing a fertile space for innovation and disruption,” said the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) Paul Lamontagne.

“The business case for Africa is very strong and I see the continent at a tipping point if we embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution. There are trailblazing innovators and disruptors on the continent and we hope to shine the light on these pioneering entrepreneurs.”

Applications for the challenge are open until March 31, 2018, with applicants required to currently offer – or intend to offer – a product, service or platform that utilises AI techniques, as defined by relevant scientific research. The product or service must demonstrate commercial applications worldwide, and have had minimum investment of US$25,000.

A panel of seasoned investors and experts in AI will select up to 20 startups to attend the final event in South Africa in May 2018, where the winner will be announced.


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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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