Interview with Romain Dillet, Writer TechCrunch.
On the sidelines of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa that took place on October 11 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi’s western suburb of Upper Hill, the PR wire for the event got me up close and candid with a major TechCrunch writer. Romain Dillet, a forthcoming tech authority gives all the candid points that separate winners from other participants. He also talks of why he tags the Nairobi event as one of a kind based on other likeminded events he has attended in the recent past. In all, 15 startups made presentations in three tech Africa business categories of Social Good, Productivity and Utility, and Gaming and Entertainment with only one winner apiece in the categorized trio. By the close of evening, AgroCenta, SynCommerce, and Lori bagged first places in their categories.
What criteria gets into choosing the winner?
We go for early stage startups, small companies expecting to become big. Each must also be offering technology solutions.
In less than 20 years, we have seen hundreds of new companies now operating in places like San Francisco, London and Nairobi. I am quite excited to be here and I can say that this event is one of the most interesting I have ever attended because of diverse content under presentation.
How does the Nairobi event compare with other startup battlefields as we anticipate the finals in Disrupt SF in 2018?
I can say that I’ve been to thousands of startup presentations. This is by far the most interesting. Actually the average startup presentation in Nairobi is better than its US equivalent. We’ve been focusing on startups across Africa and Madagascar and we select categories depending on what has most potential right now. The reason we are here is to play an important role in delivering the best startup for economic, social and entertainment reasons.
Apart from gaining press, what else are the winners likely to gain from Battlefield Africa?
The winner is going to go to Disrupt San Francisco to contest with world winners. There will be thousands of startups from Europe and North America. I can’t wait to see the action literary on time.
What is the impact of participating in TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa?
You may become a winner and even if you do not get the first place, you don’t fail eventually. Currently many such startups are doing extremely well for having participated.
What are the odds of an African winner?
The winner has as many chances as other first place finishers from around the world. The tech industry is very welcoming. In fact, most Silicon Valley companies are made by immigrants to the United States.
How is the selection process? Is it hard?
We select judges to go to the event who include tech investors, angel investors and major tech companies. We try to find names that resonate with everyone. Picking a winner involves a long discussion and it is very hard to pick just one winner.
Any encouraging parting words?
Yes, these startups end up raising millions of dollars and TechCrunch is proud to be a part of their dreams. TechCrunch started in Silicon Valley. I’m French and I am honored to present French tech which is the leverage of much of the world’s tech.
Thank you so much for speaking to Bizrika.