Startups show off their ideas

March 8th, 2018, Published in Articles: PositionIT

Esri South Africa has partnered with Venture Network for another in its series of “pitch nights” for startups, held on 7 March 2018 at the company’s head offices in Midrand, providing entrepreneurs an opportunity to expose their ideas to industry and potential investor.

The programme is aligned to Esri South Africa’s Startup Programme. Startups can apply to enter the three-year programme, during which selected candidates receive free developer subscriptions to Esri software, access to authoritative datasets (as part of the Living Atlas), access to geospatial experts and support at the company, as well as free e-learning.

Oyi’s Tamsanqa Ngalo and Bululewa Mjangqeka.

Oyi’s Tamsanqa Ngalo and Bulelwa Mjangqeka.

Companies showcased their solutions in a general expo area before the presentation which included a panel discussion and three pitches. The evening drew an array of solutions, from software development platforms to healthcare and fin-tech startups.

While the products and solutions on show were not explicitly geospatial in nature, there are business aspects to them which could be, as Esri South Africa’s Yvette Bevis explained in a demo of Esri’s web maps. She showed how mapping customer data can help identify new markets and derive other business insights.

A panel discussion followed on the topic, “Product market fit”, in which panellists advised startups on how to get their products and services into the market and adopted.

This was followed by three pitch sessions, one by a fin-tech, another by an engineering education company and, lastly, by a cryptocurrency business. Johann Kok from Seebox explained how his company’s electronics testing and training unit, which comes with custom animated training videos, teach the underlying principles of electronics. The unit combines six lab instruments into a shoe-box sized mobile device, and is already deployed in university and training facilities. He hopes to create a curriculum to train technicians up to N6 level.

The organisers from Esri South Africa and Venture Network.

The organisers from Esri South Africa and Venture Network.

Jan Mac Kay, the CIO of Cubebucks, showed how the company’s asset-backed cryptocurrency works. This, he explained, removes volatility associated with cryptocurrencies, as well as the “mining” costs of many, since it is not based on existing cryptocurrencies.

The winning pitch, however, went to Tamsanqa Ngalo from Oyi, a fin-tech which aims to create wider access to private health care with a medical expense credit card. The funds on the Mastercard are ring-fenced for medical costs and are available at a fixed repayment rate of 1,75% interest and in line with NRC regulations. The prize is the opportunity to present this concept at the SA Innovation Summit.