South African app wins ‘World Best Start-Up’ award in Milan

U-Start Over app South AfricaSouth Africa’s social photography app ‘Over’ for iPhone and iPad has won ‘World’s Best Start-Up’ award at U-Start Conference in Italy’s Milan

The title was secured in a live pitch against 19 global challengers from South America, Russia, Africa and Europe.

The Milan conference is reportedly the only event of its kind to partner high-level investment bodies and corporate backers from four key global territories with SMEs from both the emerging and developed markets. The conference attracted more than 730 delegates, 25 per cent of which were international investors, 40 per cent entrepreneurs plus a body of high-level corporates.

About 60 of the world’s most renowned leaders, innovators and pioneers from the investment and entrepreneur fields delivered keynote and panel discussions, according to global boutique advisory firm.

With this win, Over has secured final stage funding, plus a coveted place at U-Start’s International Investor Road Show. According to the African company, the win marks a significant development for iPhonegraphy and social sharing in image form, championing African tech innovation globally.

Aaron Marshall, CEO of Over, said: “It was an incredible experience. It felt a little surreal to be sharing our story with a group of influencers from all over the planet in a sophisticated, beautiful city. The people behind U-Start put on a great event and we made some connections that could be hugely beneficial to our mission.

"I'm feeling inspired, thinking bigger than ever and ready to get back to building. Our team recently doubled in size and we are hustling on some exciting new products,” he added.

The roadshow, the first of its kind globally, will allow Over to interact with some of the most prominent international investors, venture capitalists, angel investors and family offices of the world. This unparalleled access to U-Start’s established network of international investors has been developed to help foster the growth of the African start-up, propelling it to international prominence.

Four other regional winners from Europe, Russia, South America and a second finalist from Africa were Italist, online Italian high-end fashion retailer; Linguademia, specialists in encouraging a new approach to foreign language learning through gaming; LoveMondays, online platform for anonymous employee reviews of businesses; wiGroup, pioneers in point-of-sale, integrated mobile transactions, respectively.

U-Start Conference is said to have attracted more than 700 industry decision-makers and commentators. The start-ups represented four key global start-up markets where U-Start has office presence namely South America, Africa, Russia and Europe.

The conference was held in sponsorship with Enel e Directa as Tier One sponsors and in partnership with Regione Lombardia, Airbnb, Bird & Bird, Iberia Airlines, Italia Startup, Mailup, Onyx Consulting, Smartitaly, Startupbootcamp, Uber, Veespo, WhatAVenture, and Economuyp, Startupbusiness, Startupi and Radio Monte Carlo as media partner.

The two-day conference included in-depth panel and roundtable discussions, expert led country profiles, and unique key-note speeches, as well as the live pitch competition itself. The panel of speakers included Lars Buch, co-founder of Startupbootcamp; Ash Fontana, co-founder of AngelList; Simone Sole, CEO of Ad4ventures and Didac Lee, an Angel Investor in the New Technology Area. They discussed the status of venture capital and delivering expert insider insight into tomorrow’s rapidly emerging markets and trends.

Stefano Guidotti, CEO, U-Start, said, “We are delighted to award Over with the title of ‘Best Start-Up of the World’. Having travelled from São Paulo, to Cape Town, to Moscow, to Lugano and finally to Milan for the finale, we have witnessed some of the most innovative and exciting businesses to exist globally. The decision was not, however, an easy one. Over’s resounding success is representative of the outstanding tech prowess that propels our offer, in addition to Africa’s world-class status as a championing nation for tech innovation. The vision our organisation has championed from its inception, through to final, is to partner the best talent and opportunities from the world’s fastest growing economies, with the smartest money available in the global investor market. This ethos is reinforced by Africa’s success at the conference. All of our focal economies across the emerging markets have continued to steadily evolve as prime generators of future billion dollar tech-companies — confidently satisfying the needs of an ever-growing number of tech–savvy customers, both from a B2C and B2B perspective.”

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