Twelve South African entrepreneurs are among the Top 40 most innovative start-ups to exhibit their technologies at this year’s DEMO Africa conference scheduled for October 24 to 25 in Nairobi.

The conference brings together investors, entrepreneurs, developers, media, brands and other stakeholders interested in Africa’s next big innovations.

For the second year running, Nokia is the platinum sponsor for the DEMO Africa event. Speaking on the eve of the conference, Nokia South East Africa developer experience manager, Mark Strathmore, says that Nokia continues to invest in building a vibrant mobile ecosystem on the continent.

Through its dedicated developer outreach team across Africa, Nokia is not only focused on creating locally relevant apps but, where possible, converting these into successful app businesses.

“Locally relevant services and content are key to driving a successful mobile ecosystem,” says Strathmore.

“We work closely with local developers to help them reach success, whether that is by increasing downloads on our platforms or by supporting them with new monetisation models through operator billing and advertising. DEMO Africa is a perfect way for us to showcase this support by providing opportunities for local developers and entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to decision-makers and financiers.

“We are incredibly excited by the level of innovation and talent emerging from the South African entrants this year.”

The South African finalists include:
* Anasodiabitiz, by Chibuzo Anaso, helps people living with diabetes coordinate their healthcare online;
* Centre for Affordable Housing provides a Web-based dynamic business intelligence tool to find areas of development opportunity, and more, developed by Adelaide Steedley;
* Dream Mobile, by Reza Handley-Namavar, provides tailored communications solutions to consumers and SME enterprises, with a specialisation in smart devices;
* Eduze, by Charlie Beuthin, provides everyone equal access to the learning, loving and LOLing that digital content offers;
* Fraudcracker offers an online technology solution to help companies identify and combat fraud, created by Gavin Symanowitz;
* Gmaven vis, developed by Will Harris, provides the most user-friendly business intelligence and analytics product;
* GoMetro is a dynamic innovation by Justin Coetzee and Nerudo Mregi. The first of its kind in South Africa, it provides realtime public transport information to commuters;
* Notafy, by Andrew Cook, is set to revolutionise the way in which corporates communicate with their customers via mobile phone;
* Obami connects educators, learners, parents, businesses, NGO’s and governments – created by Barbara Mallinson;
* Sstream-TV, by Robert Arthur Marshal, is a content aggregator and distributor via a streaming platform across the African continent with focus on southern Africa;
* Xtendevent (formerly known as is an online platform that integrates virtual conferences and exhibitions, social media-styled business networking and e-commerce enabled trading, created by Stephen Oehley; and
* Zehoo, by Robin Bayheck, is the next step of technological innovation in the cloud storage industry, simplifying document storage services in ways unseen in the market.

While diverse in their backgrounds and the nature of their innovations, the South African finalists do have one thing in common – they all emerged successfully in the Top 40 from a field of over 300 applications and a shortlist of 160.

The ventures cover five categories including mobile technology, social media, consumer products, cloud services and enterprise technologies, and the DEMO Africa pitches will see one innovation emerge as the winner in each category.