Catalyzing the growth of the Kenya tech community

Past Finalists Speak about PIVOT East

By Sheilah Birgen
m:lab
  Published 06 Apr 2014
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Past Finalists Speak about PIVOT East

Since inception in 2011, PIVOT East competition has identified and supported 75 mobile startups as finalists of the annual competition (25 each year).m:lab East Africahas directly funded 15 of the startups to the tune of over $120,000 through PIVOT East since 2011. In addition, over 15 past finalists have raised VC, angel or impact funding cumulatively to the tune of over $4.7 million. Asked to comment on the experience of being finalists at PIVOT, some past finalists of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 competitions had the following to say :

  • “Basically we entered the competition with just an idea and it helped us to build a product ... from the connections we got just by being finalists, a number of partnerships are underway and they are very promising.”  - Josephat Mandara the CEO of Dephics systems from Tanzania which whose TiMe product was a finalist in 2013.

  • “Winning PIVOT East drove visibility to us. We got featured greatly in global media like Bloomberg and Polygon (gaming magazine).” - Mwaura Kirore from Planet Rackus whose Ma3Racer game was the overall winner of the 2012 competition.

  • Visibility and networking opportunities that come with PIVOT East is key. We acquired 50,000 new users as a result of the partnership we made during PIVOT East which was 90% of our traction last year” Said Waliaula Makokha the founder of Jooist from Kenya which was in the finals in 2013 in the entertainment category.

  • “It (PIVOT East) gives you practice to pitch your business concept in front of an ideal audience. The training really helped. It was very high level. How to pitch was most important.”  Mikul Shah - CEO of Eatout Mobile which was a finalist in 2011

  • "For us access to the m:lab incubation program was the biggest benefit of being at PIVOT. The exposure and validation to the industry was another benefit that came to us courtesy of being finalists at PIVOT" - Alloys Mechack, CEO of Mshop Limited which was a finalist in 2011 and also won the mobile payments and commerce category.

  • “Before getting into PIVOT finals, Ma3route was an just app by individual. Thanks to the trainings and sensitization during the competition, we are now running Ma3route as a serious high growth enterprise” -  Laban Okune, the founder of Ma3Route which won the utilities category in 2013.

  • “The mock pitching sessions with the PIVOT team was instrumental in raising our ambition. From the event we got  to learn that opportunity is unprecedented; always come prepared” - Gideon Kyalo, Co-founder of iDaktari which was a finalist in 2013

  • “Due to PIVOT East there was exposure that meant we had paying customers when we launched via our mailing list. Early adopters.” -  Michael Pedersen, CEO of Uhasibu which was a finalist in 2011 and won the Business / Enterprise Category.

  • “Anyone involved in a start up should definitely enter the Pivot East competition not only for the prize but also the coaching and training offered to the finalists.“  - Kinyanjui Njonde, founder of GigWapi which did not make it to the finals received coaching and training as they were in the finalists waiting list in 2013.

  • "Pivot 25 was a great platform for drumming up awareness and support for Kopo Kopo." - Ben Lyon, Founder of Kopokopo which was a finalist in 2011

  • "Being Finalists at the PIVOT East (2012) has not only opened doors, but windows as well to a network of experienced entrepreneurs and mentors who have held our hand through the uncertain road of entrepreneurship." - Chris Asego, COO of Eneza Education which what as finalists in 2012 and won the mobile society category

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