Last week, weannouncedsemi-finalists of PIVOT East 2014. The50 semi-finalistswill go through a vetting process to determine the top 25 startups that will pitch their businesses to a rich pool of investors and industry players at the finalists conference on 24th - 25th June. Panels of judges consisting of more than 20 active investors among them venture capital firms, angel investors and impact investors, have been enjoined in the vetting process which has started. The judges include locally based investors as well as those from thriving startup ecosystems such as Silicon valley, Berlin, London and Singapore.
The judges are in five panels for the fivecompetition categories. Judges in the panels include; Andreata Muforo an Investment Director at TLcom Capital Partners, Nina Werner Regional Director Mara Foundation, Christina Tamer an investment analyst at Invested Development, Matthew Papakipos who is an angel investor and Engineering Director at Facebook, Eric Osiakwan an angel investor, Henrik Albertsen former Managing General Partner of Nordic Venture Partners, Nikolai Barnwell program manager at 88mph, Jason Loughnan from Grameen Foundation’s Capital Markets, Rajeev Shah who is in the Property, Manufacturing and Portfolio Investments, Erik Hersman founding partner Savanna Fund and Maurizio Caio founder and Managing Partner of TLcom Capital LLP.
Other panelists are Sarah Ngamau an investment manager at TBL mirror fund, Rodrigo Martinez a successful serial entrepreneur and an investor, Hicham Haddouti who is on the committee of Beyond Capital fund, Philipp Kandal the Co-founder of Skobbler which wassold to Telenav earlier this year, Svein Mork Dahl Managing Partner of Inventure Management Ltd, Johnni Kjelsgaard the Chairman and Co-founder GrowthHub, Jochen Baumeister, Carey Eaton a successful entrepreneur and an angel investor, Mbwana Alliy the founder and managing partner of Savannah Fund, Isis Nyong’o Madison founding principal of the strategic advisory firm Asphalt & Ink, Nathan Gonzalez an investment officer at Venture Lab (ACCION) and Gray Robinson who leads investment processes at Village Capital.
The criteria used by the panelists to vet the startups helps to evaluate the strength of the products. This includes the problem, opportunity and customer segments, the solution and its fit to the problem, the revenue model, and analysis of the competitive landscape. Other criteria items help to evaluate the calibre of the team and the startups’ focus to grow into sustainable enterprises. These include the team composition and commitment, current market traction, and projections for milestones and key metrics. Pitch videos and demo videos are also evaluated for seriousness and drive among the founders. Demo videos are also checked for. The finalists of the competition will be announced on 27th May.
Getting active investors to select finalists of PIVOT East in 2014 is a move by organizers to increase the quality of startups that get to the final pitching stage on 24th and 25th June. This participation by investors as a sacrifice and contribution to East Africa’s startup ecosystem is much appreciated by PIVOT East organizers. Says John Kieti, Lead atm:lab East Africa “It is a demonstration of how committed investors are to help build a thriving startup ecosystem in East Africa. It also means that a startup in the semi-finals has access to reviews and feedback from at least three investors”. Here is the full list of judgeswith brief descriptions about themselves.