Five African tech SMEs to compete for title of ‘World’s Best Start-Up’

Start-ups from Europe, South America, Russia and Africa will go head to head in the first global ‘pitch-off’ of its kind in Milan next week.

The top tech start-ups - unveiled at U-Start’s conferences in Brazil, South Africa, Russia and Switzerland - are heading to Milan for the global final of 2014. Each entrepreneur will live-pitch head to head against 18 of the world’s top early-stage ventures. Finalists attending from Europe, South America, Africa and Russia, will be vying for the title of number one start-up of the world. The highly acclaimed accolade is fortified with the prize of final stage funding and the exclusive opportunity to participate in U-Start’s International Investment road show.

Each enterprise presented in successive three minute slots to a body of active international VC firms, accelerators, high net-worth individuals, family offices and policy makers. The event culminated in the selection of the six finalists, chosen by a panel of esteemed judges. The winning selection was chosen on the basis of four key principles: feasibility, sustainability, scalability and entrepreneurship.

U-Start Conference Europe was the last satellite conference in a global series of events launched by the firm to unearth entrepreneurial excellence around the world.  With tech’ and digital innovation steadily becoming a significant growth engine for economies worldwide, the U-Start series of events provides a platform of exposure for global front runners in the tech’ and digital arenas. The series will conclude on the 13th-14th May, at the grand finale - U-Start Conference Milan, 2014. The 19 start-ups in the global contest are:

U-Start will fly the top 19 start-ups to Milan for the final, with each company competing at Piazza Città di Lombardia in Milan, Italy on the 13-14th May. Held in partnership with Regione Lombardia, as well as Iberia Airlines, Airbnb and Uber as tier one sponsors, the conference will serve as a leading knowledge-sharing event, encouraging entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business angels and global thought-leaders in the technology and business sector to exchange insights, contacts and expertise. Key-note speakers such as Lars Buch, Co-Founder of StartupBootCamp, Simone Sole, CEO of Ad4ventures, Didac Lee, an esteemed Angel Investor in the New Technology Area, and Ash Fontana, AngelList, will discuss current trends and provide their outlook on the global start-up ecosystem, the status of venture capital and deliver expert insider insights into rapidly emerging markets. 

The overall winner of the live-pitch event will be given the chance to take part in the U-Start international investment road show. The first of its kind, the road show will offer an unrivalled opportunity for the winning start-up to interact with a number of prominent investors, venture capitalists, angel investors and family offices from an array of global markets. This unparalleled access to U-Start’s established network of international investors has been specifically developed in order to foster the growth of the individual winner, propelling them to international prominence and enabling the potential to enhance their business on an international scale. Furthermore, an individual regional winner will be chosen from each region’s finalists and awarded complete business support from U-Start’s regional headquarters.

The 19 finalists competing at the Milan event will also be granted priority access to a revolutionary concierge service, which partners a pre-engaged network of international investors with financially viable SMEs. Further benefits for the European contestants and their international competitors include prizes from internationally acclaimed sponsors and a year’s complimentary access to the U-Start platform. In addition, for the first time ever, each candidate will be granted access to Training Week – an intensive training program exclusive to U-Start, which offers industry specific guidance in order to nurture and advise start-ups on legal structuring, go-to-market strategy, internationalization processes and leadership.

The start-ups competing in Milan are:

·         Chicplace, Italist, Panna Cotta, CharityStars, Love the Sign and SwissLeg chosen as Western Europe’s final six

·         Love Mondays, ZeroPaper, Intoo and NearBytes chosen as South America’s finalists

·         Linguademia, Hell’o Baby, Piiine and myWishBoard selected as Russia’s top four SMEs

·         MellowCabs, WiGroup, SteadiDrone, CapeRay and Over chosen as Africa’s final five


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