Photo: HumanIPO I Carly Cooper
Eight of the 11 startups who cruised on the ship through 13 countries on a journey of 100 days presented their business ideas to South Africans yesterday at the One and Only Hotel.
Tomorrow (Thursday) the Unreasonable at Sea startups will be pitching to 88mph’s 10 startups at the Bandwidth Barn, in Woodstock, Cape Town, with the accelerator’s entrepreneurs responding with their own pitches.
HumanIPO reported yesterday on biomimicking startup Protei’s win at the session at the One and Only hotel in Waterfront, Cape Town as the team docks in South Africa for six days.
Protei is also looking at entering negotiations with the South African-based Shuttleworth Foundation, started by the first afronaut Mark Shuttleworth.
“There is very interesting stuff going on,” Charmaine Odendaal, project manager at SAP told HumanIPO, mentioning the attendees present included corporate representatives of the Western Cape government and a considerable amount of investors interested in the world-sailing startups.
Speaking to HumanIPO, Michael Needham, chief technical operator of Africa and Middle East at Murray International Holdings (MIH) Internet, explained he and his colleagues attended “to understand what it’s all about” with specific interest in the ecosystem friendly initiatives.
He believes these ideas are highly applicable for South Africa, adding that the company is generally interested in tech investments.
Veeral Patel, parliamentary research and strategy officer at the South African political party Democratic Alliance (DA), told HumanIPO the party was attending the event in the hope of finding some solutions to the country’s education challenges “to assist developing in real time”.
He said: “Finding innovative solutions for service delivery challenges and encouraging a knowledge driven economy can be an incredible driver for developmental progress and economic growth.
“Allowing bright minds to engage with different cultures and country challenges can only have positive results. It facilitates idea exchanges, opens up markets and allows entrepreneurs to tailor their products to the nuances of different socio-economic contexts.”
Speaking to HumanIPO about her experience as part of the seabound unreasonables, Carly Cooper, director of Strategic Initiative and AppHaus at SAP in the United States, said the value of being together on the ship lies in sharing common startup experiences.
She said: “Everyone’s going through the same growing pains.”
Cooper has been on board for 50 days so far, half of the 100 day journey.
Also accompanying the seafaring entrepreneurs is Eric Rudder, chief technical strategy officer at Microsoft Xbox, who shared his positive impression of “testifying (in) proximity (the) generous energy environment with a lot of new ideas”.
Rudder, who enjoys spending some more creative time than he is often required to in his job, believes he will take some inspiration derived from his experience back to the workplace.
Other ship-visiting mentors include South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Matt Mullenweg, founder of Wordpress.