BY Fast Company 3 MINUTE READ

AfricArena, the leading platform for tech startups, investors and corporates in Africa , will be hosting its fourth annual Summit on 24 – 25 November in Cape Town. For the first time, the event will also be hosted virtually through AfricaArena Air.  

It will be preceded by its Founders’ Bootcamp and VC Unconference Weekends. 

Since its inception in 2017, AfricArena has been a platform dedicated to supporting the creation of market access and investment opportunities for its ever-increasing community of founders, angels, corporates and VC investors. The brand has rapidly gained enormous credibility in the tech startup ecosystem with alumni startups having raised over US$160million in the past 4 years.

Designed with a digital approach in mind, AfricArena consists of a series of investment deal flow events and interventions and an open-source platform for all stakeholders, all based on principles of open innovation and entrepreneurship. 

The AfricArena Summit is the culmination of a year-long build up of events realised through the AfricArena Tour. During the course of the year, pre-selection pitch events take place at the major tech hubs of the African continent in search of highly potential startups. 

The AfricArena Tour features Pitch Challenges defined by corporate sponsors, such as Air France / KLM and Amazon Web Services and institutional partners, such as Bpifrance/Euroquity and United Nations ITC, as well as “Best of Ecosystem” challenges which are defined by AfricArena and are open to all kinds of tech startups. 

This year, all of the Tour events have taken place virtually, through webinars, covering destinations that include: Morocco, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tunisia, Kenya, Senegal, and Ivory Coast. 

AfricArena 2020
Building on the success of the past three editions, AfricArena 2020 is accelerating the momentum, while taking into account required COVID-19 health and safety measures.

In an effort to support entrepreneurship and economic contribution, an in-person Summit, with attendance limitations, will take place on the 24th and 25th November 2020, at Workshop17 (Watershed, V&A Waterfront) in Cape Town.

The Summit will welcome startups, investors, corporates, media, institutional body representatives and representatives of ecosystem enablers such incubators and accelerators.

The two-day event will feature 40+ startups from across the continent pitching in various Open Innovation Challenges, including ones set by Air France, Bpifrance and Viva Tech; as well as investment tracks with Seed, Series A and Series B startups all pitching.

The Summit will feature keynotes and panel discussions from esteemed figures in tech innovation, business and investment. Delegates of the Summit will also enjoy side events, such as the VC Night, which foster networking between some of the key stakeholders of Africa’s tech future.

The AfricArena Unconference and Startup Bootcamp
On the weekend leading up to the Summit, there will be two programmes running in parallel to each other: A VC unconference for investors active in the African tech space, and a pitching bootcamp for startups that will be taking the stage at the Summit.

Introducing AfricArena Air
A new element of AfricArena 2020 is “AfricArena Air”, AfricArena’s digital track, available from anywhere in the world, which provides a wealth of content co-created with investors, entrepreneurs and corporates, and designed to enable a very high level of interaction and networking, something often missing in the digital event space.

In addition, several tech hubs across the continent, such as Impact Hubs, will be running micro hybrid digital & in-person events to enjoy the livestream of AfricArena from the comfort of their local hub while also networking with other local ecosystem players. This will enable AfricArena to run the first distributed tech conference ever, while contributing to generating much needed income for the african tech hubs, encouraging a new level of interaction in our “new reality” and driving home AfricArena’s core focus – networking.

“As an organisation committed to tech entrepreneurship we could not be more thrilled to support AfricArena as the first major tech event to take place live this year post COVID-19 lockdown, with its innovative hybrid approach,” says Zimkhita Buwa, board member of AfricArena’s host ecosystem, Silicon Cape.

“This event is key for entrepreneurs across the continent both for fundraising efforts and for investors’ dealflow and community work”, Christophe Viarnaud, founder of AfricArena added.

“More than ever in a COVID-19 world, human connections – whether in person or virtual – are critical to business growth and investments. Relationships are built on trust and we are delighted to innovate once again with a very solid set of technology tools in the form of AfricArena Air and with other services which will be announced soon. We continue to strive towards contributing to the business of African tech entrepreneurs and investors. We look forward to hosting our guests physically and digitally in a few weeks.”