Nairobi-based startup Sematime beat off five other technology startups to emerge as winner of The Next Webâ€™s Startup World: Kenya last week. To cater to the growing mobile market in Africa, Sematime makes it easy for people to send bills and invoices to large groups of contacts via SMS.
The founder of Tusqee Systems, the umbrella company of Sematime, Boniface Githinji â€“ who is also behind the School SMS, an SMS service that lets parents and teachers monitor their studentsâ€™ performances and school fees payments â€“ said he was â€˜pleased with the opportunity it presentedâ€™ and will now be invited to compete in the grand final competition in San Francisco in 2013.
Sematime is available in three packages: Starter, which is free and ideal for individuals with an address book of only 1,000 contacts. Pro, at KSh5999 per month (approx US$71) with unlimited contacts, free SMS branding, support for long SMS of up to 480 characters, and more.
The third package, Enterprise, is ideal for corporate frims at KSh11,999 (approx. US$142) a month with a dedicated account holder.
Local judges Joel Macharia CEO and founder of Pesatalk, Martin Nielsen, business development at 88mph and Phares Kariuki, project manager at African Media Initiative listened intently as startups had three minutes to impress them with their pitch and gave two minutes of feedback on the pitches.
Over 100 startups applied to compete in Africa, and the finalists chosen to pitch in Nairobi were Pesacard (by Cardplanet), Hypercentury, PPOLL, Sematime and Usalama Innovate Systems.