Paul Lamontagne, chief executive of Sagarmatha Technologies. PHOTO: Ian Landsberg/ANA PHOTO
JOHANNESBURG - Multinational technology group Sagarmatha Technologies is set to invest $1million (R13.6m) in a leading African artificial intelligence (AI) start-up, following the launch of its AI Revolution Challenge aimed at promoting AI on the continent.

Sagarmatha Technologies chief executive Paul Lamontagne commended Africa’s creativity and unique perspectives, which provided “a fertile space for innovation and disruption”.

Yesterday, the company said that a panel of investors and experts in AI would offer their global and technology experience to select up to 20 start-ups to attend the final event, and the 20 finalists would then be flown into the country in May next year to present their business solutions to a panel of technology gurus.

“The business case for Africa is very strong, and I see the continent at a tipping point if we embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

"There are trailblazing innovators and disruptors on the continent, and we hope to shine the light on these pioneering entrepreneurs,” said Lamontagne.

Applications for the AI Revolution Challenge close on March 31, 2018, and only registered companies and those residing in Africa may apply.

Sagarmatha Technologies said businesses to be considered would include those offering, or intending to offer, a product, service or platform that uses AI techniques; the product or service demonstrates commercial applications worldwide; and have had a minimum investment of $25000 at date of application, either in seed funding or sweat equity/loans.

In an exclusive interview with Business Report in October, Lamontagne said Africa was the next global growth story and technology was the enabler for the African economic growth in the next century.

“The time is now to invest in Africa, the continent needs a company like Sagarmatha, offering a fully integrated value proposition for consumer and business audiences.”

He said “Silicon Africa” was part of Sagarmatha’s strategy to take Africa to the world and bring the world to Africa through their platforms.

- BUSINESS REPORT