Facebook this week celebrated the achievements of a fast-growing community of African tech entrepreneurs and developers, at the first-ever TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2017, sponsored by Facebook. Alongside the event, the company also hosted a week of activities bringing together hot African startups, developers, influencers and community leaders – to share ideas, learn and connect.

Putting the spotlight on Africa’s creative, diverse talent and vibrant technology companies, that are building products and solving problems for local and global audiences, TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa saw 15 startups battle it out to win a US$25,000 prize. Nairobi-based Lori Systems, with its product and service in the Productivity and Utility category, was crowned the overall winner for its logistics and cargo platform for African businesses.

Best of Show and category winner: Lori Systems

 Lori Systems is a local startup based in Nairobi. It has been building a logistics platform to improve cargo transportation across Africa. Most importantly, Lori Systems can optimize truck utilization so that you don’t waste time and money.

The company also handles invoicing, payment and tracking. It’s an all-in-one platform that leverages technology to elegantly solve logistics issues that have been around for a while. Lori Systems has been named Best of Show and won the productivity and utility category.

Social good category winner: AgroCenta

 AgroCenta is helping more than 8,000 farmers to improve the agricultural value chain. In particular, small farmers in rural areas are facing many challenges to access large markets. The startup is helping them cut out the middlemen, and optimize truck deliveries to large markets thanks to an online marketplace.
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When farmers get an order, they can handle all the logistics through AgroCenta. More importantly, many farmers can now generate decent revenue, which leads to a better standard of living.

Gaming and entertainment category winner: SynCommerce

 SynCommerce wins the prize in the gaming and entertainment category, which also included fashion. The company has been working on the perfect service for e-merchants. If you’re running a small e-commerce business, you know that it can be painful to list your products on multiple e-commerce websites.

SynCommerce lets you list all your products on Shopify, eBay, Etsy, and soon BigCommerce and Amazon. The service can even look at your inventory and hide products on all your platforms if you’ve run out of stock. Existing customers have been noticed a huge increase in sales after switching to SynCommerce.

Other winners included:

Social good category winner: Ghanian based AgroCenta, an online marketplace for African farmers.

Participant, Lanre Oyedotun, Co-founder & CEO of Delivery Science, a Nigeria based startup, commented: “It’s a great experience to be part of Battlefield. It’s encouraging that global brands like Facebook and TechCrunch are recognizing the talent in Africa. Our solution, FieldInsight, helps large organizations get visibility into their field operations. To be able to showcase this on a Pan-African platform is a privilege.”

Speaking at Startup Battlefield Africa, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Partnerships, said: “Congratulations to all the finalists. I’ve been so impressed with what I’ve seen today. Africa truly is a continent with remarkable creativity and talent – it was amazing to see some of Africa’s best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs showcase their disruptive innovations and tell their stories. I’m looking forward to what Africans will produce in the years to come – truly global products that will become household names.”

Other highlights across the week included:

Facebook Platform Meetup, brought together entrepreneurs, developers, and senior leaders at early-mid-stage startups in Kenya to learn how Facebook’s Platform products can help to accelerate their businesses.

Facebook Developer Circles Africa Masterclass, a three-day training course which brought together 25 Developer Circle leaders from across Sub Saharan Africa.
Developer Circles Nairobi Meetup – celebrating passing its 1,000 member mark, and its sixth meetup, this brought together the Nairobi Developer Circle community in an evening of networking.

Women in Tech event – designed to engage with influential women working in Nairobi’s technology ecosystem and to share Facebook’s mission on Diversity.
Facebook Community event – bought together 12 interesting Facebook community leaders from across Nairobi, including Benard Azegere founder of the Kenyan Ice Hockey League.
SMB, Agency & Content Creators Workshops – workshops which provided advice to Kenyan entrepreneurs, agencies and SMBs on how to grow their business using Instagram and Facebook.

 

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