DEMO Africa 2012

DEMO Africa is one of the flagship initiatives of LIONS@frica and aims to connect African startups to the global ecosystem. DEMO Africa will be the place where the most innovative companies from African countries come to launch their products and announce to Africa and the world what they have developed.

DEMO Africa will showcase products across five core categories including consumer electronics, web-based applications, mobile technology, social media, life sciences, as well as sustainable and renewable energy. DEMO will discover hard-to-define products that represent new categories and trends.

Microsoft BizSpark Companies Pitching at DEMO Africa


Evly is a Software-as-a-Service that can be used by organisations on their Facebook Fan pages & on their own websites to "constructively engage" their fans, community, customers, and employees. "Constructive Engagement" means the organisation can entertain their users, but get business value at the same time.


Firestring is a technology company leading the field of semantic technology leveraging social architecture to radically enhance knowledge management. As a field-leader in Web 3.0 technologies for the enterprise, our customers use our unique Enterprise Social Networking platform powered by the Firestring Social-Semantic Engine, Serendipity. Our customers use our technologies to structure their unstructured information, creating semantic metadata automatically from their document repositories and collaborating in real-time via our private social networking front-end. What this means is that Firestring will find the right information for you when you need it. And, in time, that information will also use our algorithms find you.

Saas Africa

SasaAfrica, an e-commerce platform that connects craftswomen in developing countries to the global marketplace using simply a mobile phone. SasaAfrica is a social enterprise which connects micro-manufacturers and entrepreneurs to access global markets through our proprietary mobile technology. The technology allows vendors to sell their goods directly to global consumers through their personal mobile phones, despite access to a computer, the internet, & a bank account. Our patent-pending technology leverages existing telecommunications technology and infrastructure to pioneer a completely new marketplace. This new marketplace revolutionizes the way money and goods are exchanged during international trade into a peer-to-peer exchange, creating economic opportunity and increased profits for vendors and savings for consumers.


Student Alpha Pitch Recipients

DEMO is making its exceptional promotional and networking platform available to innovators at Africa’s finest colleges and universities. Full scholarships will be provided to 10 deserving individuals or groups who have meaningful new technologies ready for debut to the worldwide DEMO audience.

Keep up with BizSpark Before, During, and After the Event

Kushal Shah Wants to Destroy Cold Calling -- Meet O Funnel, a Windows Azure Accelerator Startup

On June 21, the Windows Azure Accelerator powered by TechStars will showcase a number of startups for its Seattle Demo Day. we will be there. To prepare you all for it, we are going to be showing off some of the startups ahead of time. 

Here's one of them, a startup called OFunnel, which hopes to fully automate the lead generation and sales process, putting to bed forever the arduous task of developing sales from the cold call process. 

We asked founder Kushal Shah a few questions about his experience. 


How did you know you were ready to join the Microsoft Accelerator?

Kushal Shah: We had an idea and demonstrated the ability to execute. So we knew that with the right mentorship and guidance we could take our startup through its next stage of validation and growth. The Microsoft Accelerator provided us that opportunity with its awesome program. As we further talked to accelerator alumni and their experience, we knew this is the exact kind of expertise and help we need at our startup.

What do you hope to give your customers in three months?

Kushal Shah: We want to automate the lead generation process for B2B sales. From identifying the customers to talk to and get them plugged in right conversations and introductions, we want to ensure that our customers are not making cold calls anymore. In this 3 months, we are specifically focused on Marketing Technology Services.


Stay tuned for more information about the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure Demo Day on June 21. You can follow us at Microsoft Bizspark on Facebook. Or, you can join the Microsoft Accelerator Facebook page for details.

Mountain View Mania Continues

So, last night we had this perfect storm of pitch events, tech meetups, and a wild party in the Microsoft Technology Center. One of our partners, 500 Startups, held their Mexico Demo Day at our BizSpark Lab. It was full on startup day yesterday.

Today, Mountain View Mania continues with a live feed of the 500 Startups Demo Day, featuring a few of our Microsoft BizSpark members, including Goran Duškić. 

Goran is an interesting cat. He's from Croatia. He founded a company called WhoAPI, which is a kind of Twilio for domains. He writes really good blog posts about what it means to be a founder. He's working on a book about how to start a startup and build it to a full business. He's done this before. He's a feature of the Zagreb startup scene. I met him once last year when I was touring Eastern Europe looking for hot startups. He's a good guy. 

The last time I talked to him was last week, in front of the Red Door Cafe in Mountain View. The guy has been through a lot. He got some funding from Dave McClure at 500 Startups and then invited his whole team from Croatia to follow him to Mountain View. He considered using my apartment as his headquarters, but then we both decided that having six people in my apartment for three months was going to be tough on the neighbors, and my carpet.

But what happened after they moved here was very interesting. Not soon after he arrived, Goran got really sick with mono. He has no idea how. Maybe he caught it on the plane. He has just moved his five developers and co-founders here. He's sick in bed. He's doing calculations on his back recovering and he realizes that the run rate is going to mean that he needs more money. He's got plenty of clients waiting to use the service, but they need to build. He tweets, Facebook messages, and emails McClure and in fifteen minutes or so, McClure is right outside the door and he's talking with Goran. Calls are made. A solution is found. 

A BizSpark member does good. He recovers, they are building, and Goran is ready to take his team home after Demo Day today and turn on the service for his backlog of clients. 

So, that's one reason you should watch the 500 Startups Demo Day live stream. Another reason? It's almost all BizSpark startups. In fact, when we last did the math when they announced this class, we worked out that 33% of this class were members of BizSpark. So, if you are following the BizSpark program, you might enjoy watching this live stream while you are at work today. 

The other reason is that the live stream will remind you that the spiritual nerve center of entrepreneurship is in Silicon Valley, but it travels globally. If you are also a local startup anywhere in the world striving to be a global business, you should look into our Microsoft Bizspark program, which provides free software licenses, Azure cloud hosting support, visibility and access to hacker and developer events worldwide. Get on it. 

And keep being your own relentless. 

500 Startups Mexican Demo Day Just Happened -- Silicon Valley is a "Spiritual Hub" for Startups Says Cesar Salazar

Great opening launch by Cesar Salazar, formerly of and now part of the venture that merged with Dave McClure's 500 Startups, as he began 500 Startups Mexican Demo Day.  We did this at our BizSpark Lab.

I was sitting in the front row around people like McClure, Brad Feld (couldn't tell, was looking from an angle) and some other Silicon Valley investors, when Salazar said what I thought was the most important thing of the whole demo day. He said that Silicon Valley was transforming from the venture capital hub for entrepreneurship to more of the spiritual hub, as the global expansion of entrepreneurship was on its way. You could see a lot of heads nodding yes. I snapped this shot of him. Sorry for the light glare, but we are very bootstrappy when we do these things. I like to catch it all on the fly. 

For a write up of the day, you can turn to this TechCrunch article. I love being at these things. Here are some of the startups that presented, as written by Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch:

Boletia – This startup helps events organizers sell tickets and find an audience for their concerts, conferences, and other events. In addition to sales online, Boletia also allows organizers to sell through local convenience stores, which is a popular way of purchasing tickets. The startup takes a 6.5 percent fee per ticket. Seven weeks after launch, it’s had more than $100,000 sales in tickets with just one salesperson.

Capptalog – Capptalog provides a way for small and medium-sized businesses to quickly create catalogs to showcase and sell their wares through mobile devices. It provides a SaaS platform on the web for creating and managing product descriptions, upload multimedia, such as photos and videos, and create sales pages for those products. It says there are 5 million SMBs in the Mexican market, and is looking to attempt to capture 72 percent of those.

E-Training – This company seeks to help train the 20 million professionals in Mexico that are underemployed or unemployed. In the Latin America market, the company sees 152 million web users, of which 14 percent are participating in online education. That will grows annually at a rate of 15 percent to 32 million people in 2015. – This startup is going after the fashion and beauty market in Spanish-speaking companies. There are already 100,000s of customers coming to website every month, and it’s profitable. But it’s looking to expand in a market where there’s no Pinterest or Glam Media to compete against.

Harris – “Obesity is a ***.” That’s the problem that Harris seeks to solve, by connecting users and nutritionists and allowing both to track a user’s diet. The company offers a SaaS-based platform with a subscription model for its dashboard. It has a large list of foods and nutritional info that users can check out to choose what to eat, and nutritionists can use to keep track of their diets.

Nuperty – Nuperty helps connect buyers, sellers, and mortgage lenders in real estate. The company provides a platform for searching real estate listings, and also provides buyer profiles to financial institutions for those who wish to qualify for loans. The company has generated $100,000 in leads so far and is growing quickly in Mexico, and is looking to expand to other Latin American countries.

The Most Important Links for Startups from Microsoft BizSpark -- January 29, 2013

Investors are pointing to a rising M&A trend for the enterprise and startups ecosystem. Windows Challenges are ending, and new contests are beginning. We are still taking applications for the second class of the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure powered by Tech Stars. 

and we have put together a list of all the links we have tweeted out today that we thought are worth a second look.

Interview with Marc Andreessen where he makes statements that could prove prescient about IPOs and M&A in tech this year.

Open House for the Windows Azure accelerator today.

Register and get those video applications in for the 2nd Windows Azure Accelerator powered by TechStars. Feb 3 absolute last day

Plenty of healthy debate about what startup destiny in 2013. Here’s some insight

COO travels for business most of the year, uses Surface RT. Here’s his real and honest opinion.  

How are you navigating the art and the business technicalities of starting up your own company? A movie star founder tells all.

Looking to score a big date for Valentine’s Day? May we recommend Big Data Date Night in Mountain View with SiSense, Facebook and Netflix. 

Node.js boot camp coming to Silicon Valley on February 2

Being Temporary in a World Looking for Profitability – Steve Blank explains why startups have different values than public cos, but how they’re same, too.

Opening up the Windows App Lab in Canada.  

Zero Code Cloud Migrations: Hmmm.

Ten startups show of their work to investors in Seattle. They will do the same this Thursday in Silicon Valley.  

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