A South African start-up and social photography app, Over, has won the award for World’s Best Start-Up at the U-Start conference held in Milan in May.
U-Start is a global boutique advisory firm offering services targeted at facilitating the matching and cross-border investment between international investors (Angels, VC funds, family offices, corporate offices and wealth management institutions mostly based in Europe) and early stage companies, globally.
The conference attracted more than 730 delegates – 25% of which were international investors, 40% entrepreneurs plus a body of high-level corporates and VC representatives, the group said.
Each of the businesses competing for the top award were analysed on the basis of four key principles: feasibility, sustainability, scalability and entrepreneurship.
“Underlining a recent European commission which forecast a €63 billion app boom, creating up to five million jobs by 2018 – the i-Photography app won the coveted title,” U-Start said.
Over is a social photography app that gives people the ability to add designed, artistic text and artwork to photos, and fully integrates into all major social networks.
The app was founded by Aaron Marshall who capitalised on independent publishing, riding the rising wave of “iPhonegraphy”, which has been steadily developing across the last ten years as one of the most in-demand forms of social interaction.
“The ability to independently create, design and share digital photography has revolutionized the media landscape,” the group said.
Marshall said that taking part of the conference 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,” he said.
“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.”
As a result of the win, Over has secured final stage funding, plus a place at U-Start’s International Investor Road Show, which will allow Over to interact with some of the most prominent international investors, venture capitalists, angel investors and family offices of the world.
“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,” said U-Start CEO Stefano Guidotti.
“All of our focal economies across the emerging markets have continued to steadily evolve as prime generators of future billion dollar tech-companies,” he said.
Another local start-up which also took part in the conference, was South African breast cancer diagnosis corporation, CapeRay.