The Game is on!

In 2020, the SA Innovation Summit will play host to the Swiss-South African Pitch Battle. 10 Swiss and 10 South African start-ups will face each other in front of a global audience and investors to gain exposure in the South African market.

The battle will take place on the stage of the SAIS2020 Virtual365 Edition, the first ever digital version of the SA Innovation Summit being held from 29 September to 02 October.

The challenges of social distancing provided the Summit an opportunity to cater for a bigger and global audience and the event plans to leverage on the benefits of going digital.

The SA Innovation Summit is a major public gathering on the South African calendar, showcasing, connecting, capacitating, and originating the best start-up talent from Africa to the world. It has done so for 13 years and made billions of Rands worth of deals possible for African entrepreneurs.

South African start-ups will pitch against Swiss start-ups in a competitive pitch battle. Twenty teams will be divided into four groups of five. Finalists will be narrowed down to one finalist from each group who will move on to a Q&A session in round two, where only two finalists will be chosen to move on to round three. The remaining two finalists will battle it out for their respective country with a one-minute pitch.

All 20 start-ups will be loaded onto a gamification app called Pre. Attendees will invest PreMoney (mock money) into the start-ups and give them valuable, real-time feedback as the pitch battle unfolds. The final champion will then be decided by public votes and investments on the Pre app.

Audrey Verhaeghe, Chairperson of the SA Innovation Summit says: “Let the battle begin! Going digital has enabled many new possibilities.”

This is all made possible through the partnership between the SA Innovation Summit (SAIS), the Technology and Innovation Agency (TIA), the University of Basel, and Venture labs as part of the Swiss South African Business Development Programme.

The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) is a national public entity that serves as the key institutional intervention to bridge the innovation chasm between research and development from higher education institutions, science councils, public entities, and the private sector, and commercialisation.

For the past nine years, and in partnership with the University of Basel and the Swiss Embassy in South Africa, the Swiss South Africa Joint Research Programme has supported hundreds of entrepreneurs and innovators to progress the business and market readiness levels of their projects. TIA remains deeply committed to assisting entrepreneurs and innovators to bridge the innovation chasm. The organisation will continue to support and develop successful businesses which in turn will advance the lives of the communities in which they exist, extend and grow the sectors of which they are a part and ultimately contribute to the Gross Domestic Profit of South Africa.

The Swiss South Africa Business Development Programme allowed us the opportunity to restructure our business and to articulate our value proposition. The participation and mileage received from the PitchFest enabled us to attract funding from TIA and other institutions. We are still realising the benefits from our participation,” shares Bandile Dlabantu of Khepri Innovations.

The Swiss Embassy  and its partners are embracing digital platforms such as the SAIS2020 Virtual365 Edition to build on ten years of entrepreneurial and innovation collaboration between Switzerland and South Africa.

To find out more about the SA Innovation Summit go to https://innovationsummit.co.za or buy a ticket at Quicket.

This year’s Pitch Battle Finalists

Our product, 4cash, boosts micropayments using cryptocurrencies. For B2B relations, 4bridges, offers an API to enable retail customers to pay bitcoin while retailers receive Swiss Francs, Euros and other fiat currencies. For B2C, 4cash is providing access via 4cash.io where users can start to make payments.


With the largest network of agricultural commodities data suppliers in the world, AgFlow is striving to become the market leader in the provision of fundamental data in the Ag space.


Ambani is a platform that makes early learning easier because it allows South African Grade R learners to learn subjects such as Language, Maths and Life Skills in their mother-tongue.


We provide talent and performance management tools and workshops to individuals and corporations. We help integrate technology with companies’ people strategy. We have a human-centric approach and use blockchain technology for our HR business management tools.


CONTRE ASSET TRACKING is an electronic device installed in an asset to enable the owner or a third party to track the asset’s location in real-time. We offer immediate and adequate notifications.


Founded in October 2019, Cabrito Cuts is a 100% Black female-owned Agribusiness company specialising in Boer goat breeding, meat production, and processing.


Drone Eye Technology was established in 2019 to seek innovative ways of promoting efficiency in the environment, water and sanitation sector, providing necessary information for better decision making.


EcoDiesel is a biodiesel distribution company and aims to deliver a full 360 solution to our clients from fuel, to the accessibility to a fuel management system that records everyone’s CO2 emissions in order to achieve our agreed Paris treaty levels. We want to make the decision to choose biodiesel easy for customers in South Africa.


We enable the world’s SMEs to connect to global trade through
e-commerce. We help your business to get selling on key global B2C marketplaces. Our service includes advice for onboarding, product listing optimisation, pricing, and shipping strategy.


With ideal water and a sustainable corporate philosophy, we want to influence the water market in the long term. We provide clean and excellent water regardless of whether this  for people, animals, or plants.

SmartBreed is a Swiss Agritech start-up that offers insect breeders a local and complete breeding solution. We want to make the advantages of insects industrially usable and accessible for everyone.


SWOXID developed a nanoporous aerogel composite membrane which – upon solar irradiation – is able to render contaminated water safe by removing and inactivating infectious disease-causing biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and worms.


Medicud is a medical device startup developing a mechanically powered negative pressure wound therapy to democratise access to wound healing.

Nosetsa is a digital water use efficiency add-on for agricultural markets that is made by the cleantech start-up Yellow Beast (Pty) Ltd. It is a response to the need for different climate responsive technologies which can mitigate the clashes between water shortages and the need for producing more crops with less resources.


Risklick AG is a multidisciplinary team of data science, risk analysis and clinical trial experts whose focus is to assist clinical trial designers analyse and mitigate risk of their clinical trial in design phase by utilising machine leaning and artificial intelligence technology on big clinical trial data.


Securaxis technology combines acoustic and deep artificial intelligence to detect and analyse specific sounds in a specific location, enabling accurate and reliable monitoring of the activities that generate them, and allowing for action to follow.


Trove Clothing is an social e-commerce marketplace that facilitates the exchange of pre-loved items. We offer our users the opportunity to donate unwanted items to charities through the platform.

Uncommon Buziness (PTY) LTD is building a smart toothbrush that gives you feedback after brushing your teeth and your dental hygiene summary. It also reminds you of your next dental appointment, detects dental issues and alerts you when to go and see the dentist. 


Weave Connect gives women across emerging markets a digital platform to access inspiring and relatable role models, choose their career path, and links them to employment opportunities. In turn, it enables them to tell their story and become a role model for other women.


XIMMA is an acronym for: X-Information-Modelling-Matri-Architecture. We are a technology-driven company that provides unique housing solutions with integrated revenue generators.


Ziningi Imbali Enterprises is an African youth-owned enterprise that manufactures and distributes a dissolvable toilet deodoriser called DecantAir.