Apes was the big winner at this year’s Colombia Startup event in Bogotá earlier this month. Just like nearly 20 other startups, it came to the event to pitch its business model to an audience of more than 120 national and international investors. And after the votes were tallied, the consensus decided that nobody had a better case than Apes, which uses radio frequency identification (RFID) to offer firms real-time inventory tracking.
As the winner, the Bogota-based company will now receive assistance from the famed Springboard accelerator, which has helped turn many companies from small startups into big-money success stories.
Second place went to Kiwi Campus, an on-demand delivery service for food and other goods that works on college campuses in Colombia — including University of Los Andes, National University of Colombia, and Javeriana University — as well as in the United States, Chile, and Mexico. CityTaxi, a cab-hailing app and member of the Wayra accelerator portfolio, took third prize.
In all, more than 1,500 attendees gathered in the capital for the fourth edition of Colombia Startup, an annual event that brings leading entrepreneurs in the country together with international investors and experts. At least 11,000 people live-streamed the event from across the world.
Event organizers were also proud to announce that they exceeded the 400 mark for official meetings between investors and entrepreneurs, a new record for Colombia Startup. Each of the 19 startups selected before the event got the opportunity to sit down in front of 25 investors to make their case for funding.
The event was also record setting in terms of the number of companies that showed up. “Colombia Startup is one of the most important events for entrepreneurs in the country, and we want to make it one of the most important in Latin America,” said Alfonso Gomez, CEO of Telefónica Colombia and president of the forum. “This year, the call to entrepreneurs broke the record by having 644 registered enterprises. Colombia Startup is a unique space for high-level networking and accessing potential investors.”
The conference kicked off with a reception on Thursday, October 6 in at the prestigious Casa Egresados Uniandinos before getting down to business the following day at the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce headquarters in the neighborhood of Salitre.
Some of the biggest guests were expected to include: Juan Gorricho of The Walt Disney Company, Andrés Hernández of Google, Gladys Corredor of Banco Davivienda, Carlos Ángel of Uber, and Daniel Arango of Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism.