$1M AI Challenge For African Startups Launched

Updated on 1 December 2017

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$1M AI Challenge For African Startups LaunchedThe AI Revolution Challenge, through Sagarmatha Technology, a South African tech investor, aims to uncover emerging African startups demonstrating the ability to lead the advancement of commercial applications on artificial intelligence.

Sagarmatha are awarding an investment of $1M in cash plus marketing credits and prizes to a winning African startup.

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.

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.

Creating African Unicorns 
Paul Lamontagne, chief executive of Sagarmatha Technologies, this week spoke on the need for African tech companies to take their rightful place in the world.

For Africa to not be left behind by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is imperative that African tech companies take their rightful place on the world stage – including among the elite in the unicorn companies club.

Lamontagne said it is critical that the true value of African technology companies be recognised so that they have the currency to compete on a level playing field with global tech players.

This will, according to Lamontagne, allow African companies with keen insight into local markets, to take advantage of the impending growth of the continent in terms of population, middle class consumers and overall gross domestic product.

Unicorn companies are those startups defined as being valued at more than $1 billion, and among these there are decacorns (companies worth more than $10 billion) and hectocorns (those with values in excess of $100 billion).

According to Lamontagne, the billion-dollar private-company tech club currently counts around 200 companies, of which only a small handful are African.

This week, Lamontagne said: “At Sagarmatha, we’re working to provide the critical capital to help grow many of our platforms into Africa and through our Silicon Africa vision, provide the spark that will lead to many more African Unicorns in the future.

Sagarmatha believes in creating value in Africa and so does our International Advisory Board, composed of savvy global business leaders and investors. This is Africa’s time and we believe that now is the right time to invest in the Africa story!” (via African News Agency)

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