Jumia and Safaricom CEOs, Showmax and EchoVC heads top Battlefield Africa lineup – TechCrunch

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TechCrunch’s Battlefield Africa competition is set for Nairobi, Kenya on October 11. Along with 15 startups vying to become “Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup,” the event includes an exciting lineup of speakers and judges from the area and abroad.

It’s free to attend and we would love to have you there. Apply for tickets here.

TechCrunch and event partner Facebook will live stream the pitches, fireside chats, and panels. Members of TechCrunch’s editorial team will be on location to cover the latest companies, challenges, and opportunities across Africa’s vibrant IT ecosystem.

How does the continent solve its internet connectivity equation? We’ve enlisted the help of Bob Collymore, CEO of Kenya’s mobile network provider, Safaricom (and the progenitor of M-PESA — Africa’s leading mobile currency), along with Facebook’s Uche Ofodile, and BRCK CEO Erik Hersman to provide the best prescriptions. Connectivity is a major problem facing consumers and companies alike throughout the continent and this panel will offer solutions that startups can implement now.

We’re also excited to have Sacha Poignonnec, CEO of Africa’s first $1 billion tech company, Jumia, share his insights on what it took to build his company. And to tackle what it will take to produce Africa’s next unicorn? EchoVC’s Eghosa Omoigui and Paga’s Tayo Oviosu, will join Poignonnec on stage to talk strategies companies can employ while avoiding common pitfalls.

Among the numerous obstacles startups face in Africa, finding the right tools and the most skilled team is a critical pain point. AppsTech CEO Rebecca Enonchong will join IBM Africa’s Nik Nesbitt, and Andela’s Chief Strategy Officer Wambui Kinya to discuss what it takes to build the right teams and what tools to employ while staying on budget.

And how will technology help Africa’s music, movies, and fashion go global? Creative industries leader Obi Asika and Kisua e-commerce founder Samuel Mensah will share their perspectives on how startups can properly export their local culture while maintaining their unique identity.

The main action of TechCrunch Battlefield Africa―startup competitions in gaming and entertainment, productivity and utility, and social impact categories―will be held before a live audience. Confirmed judges include Naspers’ Showmax Africa Head Chris Savides, IFC Senior Investment Officer Wale Ayeni, Nataal founder Helen Jennings, MEST MD Aaron Fu, and Agile Venture Capital founding partner Shuonan Chen.

The company that wins the overall competition will secure $25,000 USD in no-equity cash plus an all-expense paid trip for two to San Francisco to compete in the TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt SF 2018.

We’re especially excited to host this event in one of the world’s fastest emerging tech markets. Sub-Saharan Africa recently produced its first unicorn, exits in the region are increasingly frequent, and VC to African startups is on the rise.

Sub-Saharan African startups are helping unleash the region’s potential, from last-mile technologies that deliver edtech, agritech, and medtech to remote areas, to mobile-based fintech innovations that ease financial transactions and lending in bustling cities. Sub-Saharan Africa’s diversity in language, culture, politics, technology and living standards demands huge creativity from entrepreneurs.

Along with Facebook, we look forward to seeing you in October! Apply for your tickets to attend here.