Start-up demo day shows African innovation

Rentoza chief executive officer Chris Govender and co-founder Mishaan Ratan.

Start-ups showed off their business ideas at the Startupbootcamp Afritech Demo Day in Pinelands on Thursday November 7.

They included an app that connects e-commerce retailers with couriers, an on-demand rental platform and a digital receipting app.

The demo day at Old Mutual in Pinelands was the culmination of the mentor-driven global programme to show the start-ups
solutions to challenges facing Africa.

Start-ups also reflected on how the past three months had impacted their businesses.

Rentoza has created a marketplace that enables people to rent premium goods through a low-cost model.

Users can list their assets on the platform and are connected to customers that need these products.

Chief executive officer Chris Govender said since its launch in 2018, there had been more than 2 000 users on the platform, a 250% increase in traffic to the site and 167 transactions.

Co-founder Mishaan Ratan said the app connected lenders and borrowers – giving people access to premium goods such as appliances, electronics and baby goods.

“I visited family in Durban last week and instead of having to take a pram and car seat for my baby, I simply used the app and rented the baby goods for the weekend,” he said.

Snapslip eradicates paper receipts by sending receipts digitally to a customer’s profile.

Snapslip then takes the data from each receipt and pairs it with customer profiling and produces spend, trend and predictive
analytics, which it provides to retailers, financial institutions, insurance companies and manufacturers.

Founder Lynton Naicker said the idea for the app came to him after he had bought a pair of pants without fitting it on. When he eventually wanted to return them, he had lost his slip and the store refused to exchange the item.

They are currently running a pilot project, servicing 350 stores in the RCS retail network.

Speaking about his time at the bootcamp, he said it had been a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow and develop his app.

“I learnt so much from the incubators and from the other start-ups. It was a great networking opportunity,” said Mr Naicker.

Zimbabwean start-up, YouFarm, which provides farmers with access to collateral-free finance by getting people to invest in crops and livestock and share the profits when the produce goes to market,
has launched in South Africa, with plans to enter Mozambique,
Tanzania and Namibia in the near future.

Chief executive officer John-Paul Matenga said they hoped to take over the SADC region and fund as many farmers as they could.

One of the first projects available for investors is a new vineyard project in Khayelitsha, which would be the first crowdfunded wine farm in South Africa.

Databotics offers robotic-process automation to small and medium-sized enterprises, freeing their employees from routine, repetitive tasks so they can focus on more strategic roles.

Director Paulo Scholle said the programme had enabled him and his team to build a scalable, repetitive-business model as opposed to the consulting model they were using initially.

SBC AfriTech programme director Nsovo Nkatingi, said African cities were growing at a rate that was unprecedented and this would impact every aspect of people’s lives. “Everything will be fundamentally disrupted by this. New and unique challenges cannot be addressed by trying to cut and paste solutions from other markets. They require a deep understanding of the local context and cultural nuances. African challenges
are best solved by African innovators and corporate start-up collaboration is critical for their success.”