Meet the judges for Startup Battle Africa 2018
TechCrunch will hold its second annual Startup Battlefield Africa contest in Lagos, Nigeria on December 11. The pitch-off competition highlights the finest talent from across the region, from which TechCrunch’s panel of experts and judges will select “Sub-Saharan Africa’s most promising startup”. The winners will receive US$25,000 in no-equity cash, and a place to compete at TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield to be held at Disrupt 2019.
This year, the judges selected by TechCrunch have a background in fintech. Business Chief takes a look at the five startup veterans that will choose the most promising startup south of the Sahara.
Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave
Headquartered in San Francisco, and with offices across Africa and Europe, Flutterwave is a payment service provider for global merchants, providing an integrated platform for international transactions. CEO Olugbenga Agboola has a background in software engineering, and helped develop fintech solutions at companies like PayPal and Standard Bank.
Barbara Iyayi, Element
Element Inc is a global artificial intelligence software provider specialising in deploying mobile biometrics software to develop digital platforms. Barbara Ilayi has served as the company’s chief growth officer since August. Previously she was part of the founding team for Atlas Mara, an investment vehicle for African financial institutions. She also spent three years as the vice president of global investment banking at JP Morgan in New York.
Aaron Fu, MEST Africa
Spending the past five years focused on the African region, Aaron Fu specialises in early stage investment, entrepreneurship, and providing strategic advice services to startups looking to scale up and to corporations exploring the opportunities of disruptive innovation. He currently also serves as the managing director of MEST, where he manages a portfolio of over 30 fintech, media, e-commerce and agritech startups.
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Sam Gichuru, Nailab
As founder and CEO of Nailab, one of Kenya’s leading business incubators, Sam Gichuru “ has been instrumental in propagating the development of a strong and vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem” in the region. In 2015, Gichuru served as a key speaker at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, held in Nairobi, which was officiated by then U.S. President Barack Obama.
Olufunbi Falayi, Savannah Fund
Serving as a partner at Passion Incubator since 2013, Olufunbi Falayi provides investment and guidance to early-stage tech startups across the region. He has co-led investments in 12 startups, including Riby, BeatDrone, AdsDirect, TradeBuza and Waracake.