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Every year, Heavy Chef, Xero and PayFast call the South African entrepreneur ecosystem to nominate its finest startups. The Top 5 initiative has been running since 2017 and has featured many of the most successful startups in South African history.
The MC for the evening will be the newly crowned World Champion of Public Speaking 2021 Verity Price. Entertainment will be provided by Divine Mahara (who wrote the ‘Heavy Chef’ song).
Heavy Chef events are brought to you by Xero and PayFast. Support is provided by Howler, Workshop17, Creed Living, Sir Fruit, Goodleaf and Backsberg. Heavy Chef is proud partners with xneelo, Digital Planet, We Grow SA, HP Store, Retail Capital, Parcel Ninja and Global Citizen.
Since its inception five years ago, the annual Top 5 Most Exciting Startups list has included some of the most successful startups to come out of the South African business landscape. Just this year, 2017 winners Yoco raised $83 million (just over R1.5 billion) in Series C funding to scale their digital offerings and expand to new markets. Winners from the other years, like SweepSouth, LifeCheque, Bathu and many more, are making just as big a splash in their respective sectors, proof that our entrepreneur community can recognise a really good solution when they see it.
It’s been a tough couple of years for businesses. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that we shine a light on our local startup community to celebrate their wins and the resilience they’ve shown in the face of the massive challenges that come with a pandemic and an economy in decline.
WE'RE EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE OUR 12 FINALISTS FOR THIS YEAR'S AWARDS! The shortlist of 12 will be narrowed down to the Top 5, to be announced on the evening of December 2nd.
This Year’s Top 12 Finalists are...drumroll...
deaftouch - Founded by Claybourne Appies in 2018. An ICT startup with the goal of providing innovative communication technology solutions for the deaf.
FCB.ai - Founded in 2016 by Antoine Paillusseau. An AI-powered chatbot to help financial service providers acquire and retain customers.
Hypernova Space Technologies - Founded in 2018 by Jonathan Lun. Builders of cutting-edge electric propulsion and other innovative infrastructure for space satellites.
Kusini Water - Founded by Murendi Mafumo in 2016. A social enterprise whose nanotechnology and macadamia nut innovation aims to provide safe drinking water to communities in need.
Livestock Wealth - Founded in 2015 by Ntuthuko Shezi. A tech ‘crowdfarming’ startup that connects investors with farmers that require funding by using cattle as a type of investment.
Musgrave Spirits - Founded in 2015 by Simone Musgrave. Makers of fine spirits and home to South Africa’s first-ever, award-winning pink gin.
Naked Insurance - Founded by Alex Thomson, Sumarie Greybe and Ernest North in 2016. A startup that uses innovative tech to build an insurance offering that is fairer, simpler, more transparent and affordable.
SmartWage - Founded by Simon Ellis and Caroline Van Der Merwe in 2019. A payday solution that enables employees to have instant access to their earned wages.
Ukheshe - Founded by Clayton Hayward, Mike Smits, Jason Penton and Paul Carter-Brown in 2018. The fintech offers accessible, fast and secure payment services using channels like Whatsapp, existing apps, web and USSD using a cloud-based PCI compliant environment.
Valenture Institute - Founded by Robert Paddock in 2019. A private high school offering a rich academic learning experience online and on-campus. The curriculum is designed to enable students with the skills required to build a sustainable future.
Walk Fresh - Founded by Lethabo Mokoena in 2015. A boutique sneaker cleaning and shoe-care startup that offers refurbishing, maintenance, shoe shining and repairing services for all kinds of footwear.
WeThinkCode - Founded by Arlene Mulder and Camille Agonin in 2015. A social entrepreneur venture that teaches thousands of young people to become world-class developers - with a guaranteed path to employment.