Dropifi from Ghana Wins Startup Open
Mark Marich @markmarich
Nov 12, 2012
Dropifi’s web messaging platform that seeks to supersede the traditional “contact us” form has earned the Ghanaian tech startup the grand prize of 2012 Startup Open, a competition for startups with high-growth potential featured as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2012. Dropifi was selected today out of 50 companies announced last month as the “GEW 50,” the best and brightest new startups around the globe.
“Each year, thousands of new startups come to life through their experiences in Global Entrepreneurship Week which officially starts today in 130 countries,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Week. “By winning the Startup Open, Dropifi is at the top of that list and has a very promising future.”
Dropifi traces its beginnings back to a Startup Weekend event in Accra, Ghana during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2011. It replaces “contact us” buttons with a smart widget that allows companies to better analyze and organize incoming messages. The widget allows companies to learn more about the people sending the message and whether the messages’ content trends positive or negative. This gives companies critical insight to respond more effectively to existing and potential customers.
As the grand prize winners, Dropifi’s co-founder, David Osei, receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Rio de Janeiro to serve as an official delegate to one of the world’s largest startup community gatherings, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March 2013. In addition to the trip, Dropifi will be featured in a Kauffman Foundation animated ‘sketchbook’ video.
Also announced today were four winners of the mentorship experience prize. Each of these winners will receive one year of mentoring from successful entrepreneurs, including Redbox founding member Michael DeLazzer, courtesy of the Entrepreneurs' Organization. They are:
Charlie Contacts (USA): mobile app that arms users with important information about contacts before any meeting, conference or phone call
Folloyu (Israel): mobile app that enables website users to maintain online activity on a company’s website and transfer their session to another device without abandoning the website
MEFIVER (USA): proprietary denim manufacturing process that aims to revolutionize the industry while minimizing its carbon footprint and promoting sustainable practices
Placeknow.com (Poland): pictorial map of the world that provides users with location information and pictures posted by individuals to offer a more authentic view
In its third year, the Startup Open competition was open to entrepreneurs who had a “startup moment” between GEW 2011 and GEW 2012 (Nov. 22, 2011 to Nov. 18, 2012). A startup moment is anything that can be interpreted as the company is “open for business,” such as the business becoming incorporated, completing a first sale or securing outside funding.
A panel of judges selected the winners on the basis of concept, growth projections and knowledge of their industry. Nearly 400 applications from 56 countries were evaluated in the first round of judging which resulted in the GEW 50. The GEW 50 represent a range of industry sectors and 17 countries.
Startup Open is organized by Global Entrepreneurship Week and supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Startup Digest and Startup Weekend.
Today’s announcement coincides with the beginning of GEW, an initiative to spur new ideas, ingenuity and firm creation through local, national and global activities. The week-long celebration takes place in 130 countries with more than 7 million participants at 35,000 events, activities and competitions.