After the Grand Final at Tunisia’s most prestigious university ESPRIT, a jury of high-level investors, bankers and decision makers from the Maghreb region crowned the eventual winners TrashCash, ExTails and Citizen+.
Following a campaign allover the continent, the AMPION Venture Bus Tunisia 2014 competition took place from December 14-19 and on the road, the participants observed local problems, developed solutions, gathered feedback from potential customers and clients and worked together closely with experienced entrepreneurs who accompany the AMPION Venture Bus as mentors.
This is how the startups fared:
TrashCash (1st place)
Description: TrashCash incentivizes proper disposal of trash. The business plans to start with smart bins in public spaces like train stations and universities to collect only cans and will become profitable by selling the scrap metal of the cans. Trash disposal in these cans will be rewarded with free mobile credit for the collector via a barcode scanner or a displayed bonus code (for non-smartphone users). The concept is highly scalable and the founders plan to expand their business for more material and in more locations once the concept has been well established.
Team: Asma Ayed (Tunisia), Hamza Barkaoui (Tunisia), Omar Trabelsi (Tunisia)
XTails (2nd place)
Description: A mobile application for international travelers providing custom tailored travel itineraries based on their preferences, budget and time – a special algorithm allows the app to learn from the users choices and improve its itineraries and suggestions in the future
Team: Firas Aloui (Tunisia), Henning Jakob (Germany), Alaa Daoudi (USA), Musaab Ahmed (Tunisia), Kais Segni (Tunisia)
Citizen+ (3rd place)
Sector: Open Governance
Description: Citizen+ is a participatory online platform to enable better communication between citizens and municipalities as well as between citizens themselves. The platform allows citizens to emphasize local problems to the municipalities by tagging them on a map. The municipalities can use the platform for announcements, information distribution and to gather feedback. After the Arabic spring this startup provides the public of the young Tunisian democracy with a tool to speak up and make their voice count.
Team: Kathrin Treutinger (Germany), Ines Cheniour (Tunisia), Nesrine Souissi (Tunisia)
Sector: Financial Services
Description: Infinity Funds is an online crowdfunding and community support platform. While the concept is not completely new, Tunisians are currently unable to use existing platforms such as indiegogo due to various online payment restrictions. InfinityFunds not only offers projects to collect funds for their projects but enables people to also offer non-monetary support like physically help building a well in a village or giving free tutoring to people who cannot afford it.
Team: Ala Oueslati (Tunisia), Sana Ksouri (Tunisia), Mohammed Chahbi (Tunisia), Kais Chaoullah (Tunisia)
(The jury decided to honor Yelaah as “most innovative social business”)
Sector: Financial Services
Description: Yelaah is a platform for investors to reach out to qualified entrepreneurs by means of tenders. Startups and small businesses can develop and present their innovative solutions to the tendered project on the website and the investors can later give an order to the solution that best fits their plans and needs.
Team: Yousr Dridi (Tunisia), Martin Bremner (United Kingdom), Mevish Aslam (United Kingdom)
Description: EMdetect is a smart medical device to facilitate communication between autistic children and their parents by analyzing the electro-magnetic field emitted by the human body and translating it into pre-defined criteria of health status and mood. This way the device can help parents to identify illness early on and also enables them to better understand specific behavior of their autistic child.
Team: Houssam Eddine Kassah Laouar (Algeria), Cheyma Ksouma (Tunisia)
(The jury decided to honor GeoTbibi as “most innovative startup”)
Description: GeoTbibi is a web and mobile platform that connects patients to the nearest and best doctors and lets the user book appointments online in a fast and easy fashion. It is specifically useful to the many tourists from Europe and Libya visiting Tunisia who do not know any local doctors and currently have no reliable source to find them in Tunisia.
Team: Mohammed Bouabdelli (Algeria), Hamza Ben Bouzid (Tunisia), Mohamed Bouya Maalainine (Morocco), Ikram Ennajeh (Tunisia)
With local investors already contacting two of the seven Tunisian Venture Bus startups merely a few days after the pitch at the Grand Final and many others applying for the Samsung Fast Track accelerator program at ESPRIT, the future is indeed looking bright for the young Venture Bus Tunisia enterprises. And they have some great role models to follow: Last years’ winning startup sterio.me is now fully operating and recently hired five employees, other startups developed on the Venture Buses 2014 such as Halt Ebola and E-Maji are already in the advanced stages of developing their prototypes and looking to launch their operations shortly.
All Images courtesy of AMPION Venture BusPress