ChatBots Africa and Fashtracker have been announced as winners of the partnership and investment pitch sessions, respectively, organised by TechCabal as part of the ‘Future of Commerce’ conference.
Held on Friday, 24th of September, the partnership pitch session saw a total of three growth-stage startups pitch to corporate organizations for potential partnerships while the investment version involved four early-stage startups pitching to potential investors.
Both companies emerged as winners, selected by a panel of judges that comprised leading tech personalities in Africa; including the likes of Tomi Davies, Yemi Keri, and Uwem Uwemakpan. As winners, each of the startups gets ₦500,000 worth of TechCabal coverage.
“For my team and I, winning at the pitching session validates our vision for the future of e-commerce in Africa, that is, conversational and social commerce,” Ronald Tagoe, Founder of ChatBots Africa, told TechCabal. “We are very elated by this validation and look forward to an exciting future.”
Based in Kenya, ChatBots is a multi-channel bot platform that allows companies to use AI chatbots on WhatsApp. According to the company, the solution is built for all ranges of experiences; from the complete newbie to the advanced user.
According to Tagoe, the startup won because the solution and business model were “very clear and the customers’ pain point was something the judges gravitated towards.”
For Wunmi Akinsola, CEO and founder of Fashtracker, winning the investment pitch session represents “a major validation” for the startup.
Nigeria-based Fashtracker connects trusted and sustainable African fashion brands to people within and outside the continent through its online platform. “We aim to be the go-to fashion destination within Africa, and globally, for African brands,” a statement on the company’s website reads.
“I feel super motivated to keep building Fashtracker,” the elated founder said. “The fact that Techcabal, the investors, and other stakeholders involved bought into the idea from a 2-minute pitch is a major validation that is a necessary component for the success of any startup.”
Akinsola believes certain factors propelled the judges to select the startup as the winner; such as the fact that the African fashion marketplace is “relatively untapped and is a huge opportunity” considering the barriers to entry such as logistics, payments, and scale, are already being solved.
“There are too many opportunities for scalable integrations including menswear, skincare, B2B, Saas, VAS, and this could all be on a Pan African/Global-scale if done right,” she adds.
In addition, Akinsola notes that startups like Fashtracker have the capacity to alleviate thousands of creatives, and fashion entrepreneurs economically. “Especially during such tough times in Nigeria – economic prosperity is key.”
Tagged the #FutureOfCommerce2021, the high-production event enabled registered stakeholders to learn the shifts in the industry and buying behaviour, and how they can better prepare to take advantage of the rising tide, whether as organizations or individuals.
The hybrid conference brought together startups, investors, banks, telecoms companies, FMCGs, policymakers, small businesses, tech enthusiasts, and everyday consumers to discuss their thoughts and predictions around all the changes coming to how people buy and sell on the continent.
“The organisation (TechCabal) is top-notch and the ideas and insights shared were thought-provoking,” Tagoe said when asked about the Future of Commerce. “Thumbs up to the team. I look forward to attending in person next year.”
Akinsola sees the event as a “game-changer” for African startups.
“I knew it was going to be good, but I was completely blown away by the insights. To have access to all this information is going to have such massive ripple effects,” she said. “Thousands of founders and soon-to-be founders are instantly at an advantage because of TechCabal’s Future of Commerce.”
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