Earlier this year CapeRay was encouraged by our anchor investor, the Industrial Development Corporation to enter a competition to identify Africa’s leading start-up enterprises. Over 130 companies made submissions to U-Start, a cross-border investment specialist, where the application consisted of an elevator pitch, an executive summary of our business plan and five-year financial projections. On Monday this week we received the good news that CapeRay was one of 17 companies shortlisted to pitch at a conference hosted by U-Start here in Cape Town.
Yesterday was our big opportunity to convince the seven judges — and more than 150 entrepreneurs and investors in attendance — that our novel method for detecting breast cancer in dense breast tissue is an idea worthy of financial investment. Each company was allocated just six minutes, three for the pitch and then another three minutes to answer searching questions from the judges, all of whom had extensive investment experience with start-up companies.
Aside from CapeRay, there were two other medical device companies: CustomMed Orthopaedics, which has developed an innovative method for 3D printing of implants as well as a web-based portal for surgeons to plan their operations; and Folup, who have developed a smart health platform that enables patients to track their health metrics such as glucose levels and blood pressure via connected devices. There were a further five manufacturers, with products ranging from hydraulic vehicle suspension systems to waterproof headsets for swimmers, while the other nine companies had all developed innovative online apps.
After careful deliberation, four winners were announced: Over, which is a mobile app that enables people to overlay their digital photos with text and artwork to share more compelling stories; CapeRay, which will soon be testing its dual-modality Aceso system in a clinical trial (see image at left); Mellowcabs, which manufactures and operates electric mini-cabs that provide public transport; and WiGroup, which has developed an aggregation platform that allows retailers to accept payment through any mobile device.
The prize for the winners, together with SteadiDrone — a manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles with camera gimbals — is an all-expenses paid trip to Milan in mid-May 2014. There we will be joined by entrepreneurs from similar U-Start conferences held in Brazil, Russia and Switzerland. All of us will present to a panel of more than a hundred international investors — angels, venture capitalists, family offices and wealth management institutions. It will be an ideal opportunity to give meaning to U-Start’s byline: where ideas grow up.