SA innovations winners at Viva Tech event in Paris

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South African startups Vizibiliti Insight and The Sun Exchange scooped prizes for their innovative solutions at the Viva Tech event held in Paris, France last week.

The third edition of the conference saw tech bosses, startups, and innovators come together in Paris, with speakers including Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

South African startups performed well in the awards section of the event, with Johannesburg-based artificial intelligence company Vizibiliti Insight winning EUR5,000 (US$5,800) in the Verizon challenge.

Vizibiliti Insight, which uses AI to help the commercial property sector pre-screen tenants and predict the chances of them defaulting, was selected and invited to present at Viva Tech after being shortlisted from over 110 applications for Verizon’s alternative credit scoring challenge.

It was named overall winner for the Customer Experience Transformation through Digital challenge, winning the cash prize and an invitation to Verizon’s New York office to collaborate with the company. It also earns membership credits to Verizon’s Innovation Garage offices located all around the United States (US).

“This is a significant milestone for us and a huge honour to have been selected out of a pool of such strong competitors, many of whom have received millions of dollars in funding, for one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world,” said Vizibiliti Insight chief executive officer (CEO) Courtney Bentley.

Meanwhile, The Sun Exchange, a solar and blockchain startup that sells users solar cells, and helps buyers earn cryptocurrency by leasing the equipment to schools and businesses, won the AFD Energy Blockchain challenge.

South African trade and industry minister Rob Davies led a delegation that included 13 South African startups to exhibit at the summit.

“It’s obviously becoming a very significant global showcase for technology and technology companies, but also the focus on Africa, and the focus on startups is very significant for us,” said Davies.

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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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