alphagamma PIVOT East 2016: Africa's premier mobile startups pitching competition opportunities

Deadline: September 8, 2016 | Apply here
[Oops, the opportunity has already expired. Sign up to AlphaGamma weekly newsletters to stay ahead of the game]
November 15, 2016
Participating startups must be headquarterd in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Burundi, Somalia or DR Congo
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

PIVOT East 2016

PIVOT East is East Africa’s premier mobile startups pitching competition held annually since 2011. It is an m:lab East Africa initiative to amplify and consolidate the gains of East Africa’s Mobile developer and entrepreneurship ecosystem.


The competition has five categories::

  • Finance
  • Enterprise
  • Entertainment
  • Utilities
  • Society and Governance

Each category will feature five finalists who will then pitch to an audience of Investors and other key stakeholders from East Africa.

The 25 finalists will also receive training and coaching on how to pitch to investors.

How to enter the competition

Startups that meet the eligibility criteria may enter their application into the competition through the following steps:

  • Go to VC4Africa platform and set up your startup profile
    If you already have a startup profile on VC4Africa, go straight to the application link.
  • Curate your Startup profile according to given profile headings.
  • Ensure that you upload a short (max 5 mins) video of the founders expressing the mission and strength of their startups on the VC4Africa profile.

Standing Out From the Crowd: PIVOT East Selection Criteria

The application process is the beginning of the PIVOT East journey towards making it to the finals and hopefully winning in your category, meeting partners or investors.

Upon the close of applications on the 8th September, the panel of industry experts and investors with wide expertise in entrepreneurship, business development, software development and investor relations will assess startups at the various stages of selection.

The selection is a funnel-shaped filtration process starting with 50 semi-finalists, then 25 finalists and then 5 category winners at the finalist conference.

One of the questions we are frequently asked is “What do the investors and panellists look for in the competition?”. Well, the criteria for the selection will be guided by these factors:

  1.  Problem and Customer Segments
    What customer pain are you solving?
    Is it a problem worth solving?
    What specific customer segments are affected?
    What is the addressable market size?
  2. The solution
    How are you solving the customer’s stated problem?
    What are the top features of your solution that specifically address the customer problem?
    What validates that the solution resonates with the customer’s problem?
  3. Revenue Streams Envisaged and Tested
    How you will make money by providing the solution given the current nature of the marketplace.
    Have you conducted experiments on any of the potential revenue streams?
    What were the outcomes?
  4. The Technological Advantage
    Why are the technological solution and revenue model expected to work?
    What unique technological approaches or platforms have you considered or used?
  5. Analysis of Competitive Landscape
    What are the existing alternatives to your solution?
    Do you know who your competitors/collaborators are?
    What differentiates you from the competition?
    What can be done through existing alternatives that your solution cannot do?
    What can your solution do that your competition cannot do?
  6. Customer Acquisition & Channels
    Who are the early adopters?
    What customer segments are you prioritising, what is your path to the customers?
    What channels are you using to reach the customer segments?
    How will you achieve customer activation?
  7. Team Composition & Commitment Level
    Team composition and complementarity of skills, suitability of team structure to deliver on business goals, sense of commitment to the startup by team members is vital.
    Show the skills & experience that the team members have? Demonstrate the team members commitment e.g do you have founders’ agreement, vesting schedules?
  8. Market Traction and Secondary Achievements
    How’s your roadmap or projections for growth within the next 12 months for, it could be in terms of – Revenue, Users, Customer discovery/development, Key partnerships & Investments etc?
    What will it take to achieve desired milestones?

That should help you create a powerful startup profile, not just for the competition but also for you to refine your business model while make it more understandable to yourself and to investors. The same set of criteria items is applied at all stages of the PIVOT East competition.

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