Shortlist Of Twelve Finalists Announced For ‘SA’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups’

After just a few weeks of calling for nominations, close to 1,000 total entries and 141 unique entries were received for the Nedgroup Investments and Heavy Chef ‘SA’s Top 5 Most Exciting Startups’ event on the 4th December 2018. Entries were closed on Friday 23 November, and yesterday a shortlist of 12 startups were announced.


Above: The evening’s MCs Siyabonga Mbaba, Caley Africa and DJ Mo Flava.

“The startup sector is exciting,” says Fred Roed, CEO of Heavy Chef, which is partnering with Nedgroup Investments on celebrating the endeavours of startups in the South African ecosystem. “This is an important facet in restoring South Africa’s growth and regaining investor confidence. A healthy economy relies heavily on the innovation and dynamism that entrepreneurs provide, and this list shows that there is a lot to be excited about.”

The shortlist:


Abalobi is a social startup focusing on fishing. Abalobi is a mobile app suite and programme, and promotes traceable, storied seafood. Abalobi empowers small-scale fishers 'from hook to cook' in a manner that is not only ecologically responsible, but also socially fair. Because who fishes matters.


Using satelite and drone mapping, Aerobotics monitor crops and warns farmers about potential risks, scouts. The mobile app increases accuracy and saves time by planning targeted scouting trips. Farmers can receive accurate statistics for orchards with every drone flight including tree health, tree counts, individual tree size and canopy area.


In the face of Bank Zero and DIscovery Bank, a small team of super smart, scrappy entrepreneurs are quietly developing their own virtual bank - Bettr.


DataProphet is an AI startup that reduces risk in manufacturing by analysing data in factory production and uses machine learning to identify and eliminate defects and minimises downtime. Its primary product, Omni, seamlessly works on top of existing platforms and manufacturing environments.


This Stellenbosch-based, internationally-focused startup offers multi-factor authentication and mobile app security solutions that make the digital world a safer place to be.


Karri is a payment collection solution for existing communities such as schools, churches and sports clubs. Safe, quick and convenient, Karri is now set for international expansion.


LifeCheq is a wild card in the mix, and has reportedly received a significant injection of funding from Patrice Motsepe. This company is making financial advice credible and authentic by moving personal financial advice from a biased, commission-based advisor to a subscription service that gives users access to a team of actuaries and experts.


Another startup originating out of Stellies, LifeQ is a world-leading science and technology company that aims to enable people from all walks of life to enjoy optimal health. LifeQ has made significant strides into international markets with its tailored health solutions.


LocumBase is an online platform created for freelance medical professionals and private practices, group practices, medical centres, clinics and hospitals that enables simple and easy booking of medical locums for short-term appointments when you need it most.


SkillUp is an Edtech startup that makes it easy to find reliable tutors in your area and online, simply so that learners can start achieving better results at school.


The second Edtech startup in the lineup, Snapplify focuses on content distribution, mobile publishing and digital education tools for schools. Snapplify is Africa’s largest ebook aggregator and distributor, with an ebook offering of over 250 000 titles from over 250 publishers.


eCommerce startup Thursdays (allegedly named because it was founded by Shona Macdonald on a Thursday) focuses on swimwear and lingerie for women c cup and up. Focused on empowering women in the clothing sector, this is a truly inspiring, fun and heartwarming social entrepreneur venture.

“The startup scene in South Africa can be very, very proud,” says Donna Barnes of Nedgroup Investments.

Prizes provided by Heavy Chef, NGI and Xero

Heavy Chef will announce the final five on Thursday. “Keep a look out for our newsletter and socials,” says Roed. “In the meantime, tickets are flying for the event. We have a ton of cool stuff happening on the night and each of the five finalists is going to do a short presentation on 'how my startup is changing the world'.”

“Furthermore, each of the five finalists will receive awesome prizes courtesy of Heavy Chef, Nedgroup Investments and Xero.”