The 2012 Cameroon Startup Challenge was the first competition of its kind to recognize the achievements of technology entrepreneurs in the country. The awards ceremony, held on September 20th at the Foyer du Marin in Douala, brought together Cameroon’s leading innovators, their teams, judges and special guests. Also in attendance were investors and leaders from the local and international technology community. The competition was made possible through collaborations with Sanaga Ventures, AppsTech, ActivSpaces and VC4Africa. It was an electric evening filled with positive energy and enthusiasm for the Cameroon startups in the spotlight.
The awards ceremony kicked off with a welcome by the hosts, Sanaga Ventures, followed by an introduction of the panel judges and the startup teams. After a review of the success criteria used to determine the winner, a presentation was made of the first and second runners up, followed by the grand prize winner. The winning team addressed the audience before a speech was delivered by Rebecca Enonchong, the CEO of AppsTech. The evening closed with a banquet dinner served at the hotel.
Celebrating Cameroon’s Top Innovators
Judges highlighted the overall quality of the entries. It was noted that the applicants were well past “idea” stage with most having promising business models and working revenue streams in place. When the final results were tallied, one startup clearly rose to the top while the first, second and third runners up were each separated by a single point.
We shared the excitement of the audience as Djoss.tv was announced as the grand prize winner.
Djoss.tv is a social TV platform that lets viewers engage their favorite TV shows in real-time. The service brings television programming to life by allowing viewers to, for example, share their excitement when their favorite football team scores a goal or join a heated debate on a social issue. By unlocking this real-time sharing, Djoss.tv integrates a missing social layer into any television program. The service also provides viewers with additional context and information on the program they are viewing, introducing a vital new tool for editorial staff.
For the cable companies providing the shows, Djoss.tv is an invaluable tool for gathering feedback from the audience. It’s also an important channel for advertisers and sponsors to engage with audiences to further brand awareness. The Djoss.tv team has completed a successful pilot with Spectrum Television Cameroon (STV) and is looking to secure a partnership with the station while also expanding their offering beyond Cameroon’s borders.
The project is headed up by an all-star team that includes Patrick NDJIENTCHEU, a software engineer and cofounder of Koutchoumi.com, Hervé DJIA, a software engineer and tech enthusiast, Eloge FOKEM, a web developer and CEO of the web agency Dotcomcm.com, and Kouotou ABOUBAKAR SIDIKI, a software engineer with expertise in social media. The four person team took home a USD $5,000 cash prize. In a passionate acceptance speech, the team explained their motivations for the project and outlined some exciting developments for the future. The winnings are critical in the team’s effort to push the venture across Cameroon and abroad.
The top three finalist are presented below:
Grand Prize Winner: Djoss.tv ($5,000)
Pitch: With Djoss.tv, you’ll never watch TV the same way again. Djoss.tv is a social TV platform that lets TV viewers ever aroundywhere discuss their favorite TV shows in real-time.
For the users, Djoss.tv provides additional information and comments around their current TV shows, crowdsourced from other users, or directly from our editorial staff. Sometimes, we just want other viewers to know how pissed off we are when our favorite soccer star loses a penalty. For the cable TV companies providing the shows, Djoss.tv is a fantastic innovative tool to gather audience feedback and further develop brand awareness.
First Runner Up: KingMaker Ad Network ($1,000)
Pitch: KingMaker is an internet (cyber) cafe ad network that uses innovative technology to serve relevant ads to an audience which can be highly targeted.
Mobile internet is still too expensive for most of Cameroon’s population and few local websites have enough users to actually interest advertisers. Cyber cafes are the number one internet access points in the region because of their affordability and relatively good internet connection. We work hand in hand with them to bring relevant local advertising to their clients, thus creating extra revenue channels for their business.
Second Runner Up: AGRO-HUB
Pitch: AGRO-HUB aims to combat poverty among rural farmers by boosting demand for their products. We achieve this through an innovative use of the web and mobile technology to streamline the flow of market pricing information for farmers’ products.
Our agricultural market development strategy involves partnering with rural farmers to source products and information for newly sort out local and international markets. Sourcing of products is done through setting up of collecting centers [or storehouses] within rural communities while sourcing of information is done through provision of SMS based tools and knowledge farmers need to access and share information about their activities. The information sourced from the farmers thereof is used on the web to attract consumers for their products.