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WeFarm leads Europas impact best

Peer-to-peer agri-tech venture WeFarm led the tech for good honours at last night’s Europas Awards in London, in a ceremony that saw several businesses working for social purpose recognised for their efforts. Impact tech is now firmly centre stage. Julian Blake reports.

wefarm-press-photo-1Tech-driven farming network WeFarm topped a year of growth by winning the ‘hottest tech for good’  category at the prestigious Europas awards in London last night.

It was one of several digital projects recognised by judges for their work on delivering social impact – providing more evidence that impact technology is now very much a part of the mainstream.

London-founded WeFarm had already secured $1.6m in seed funding from Saul Klein’s LocalGlobe in 2016, on top of an earlier $2.9m series A funding round.

The social enterprise helps small-scale farmers to access and share information, even with limited internet access, thanks to using SMS as well as the internet.

WeFarm deploys machine learning to connect questions to other users within its network holding the right knowledge. The peer-to-peer service operates in Kenya, Uganda and Peru. It has well over 200,000 users and nearly 24m messages through its system.

WeFarm also secured $200,000 last year from the Chivas Regal-backed competition The Venture. WeFarm, which was founded in 2015 after spinning out from an NGO, operates out of TechHub in London.

The Europas, now in its ninth year, brought together over 500 leading lights from the London and continental startup and investor community for a day conference and evening awards ceremony at Here East on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as part of London Tech Week.

Also recognised among the 28-strong Europas winners was Babylon Health, which picked up hottest health startup. Its Europa gong follows success at DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards in March, where it won best health award.

In April Babylon secured £50m in investment from an international consortium to develop its AI-driven healthcare platform.

Benevolent.ai, disrupting drug discovery through data and AI, picked up the hottest AI startup Europa.

POD Pointeuropas banner, which provides charging stations for electric vehicles, picked up the hottest greentech startup, adding to a brilliant year so far that has seen it secure £9m in funding from Draper Esprit on top of crowdfunding.

Health tech startup Elvie, which provides pelvic exercise support for women post-pregnancy, secured hottest hardware startup. It secured $6m in funding from Octopus Ventures in March.

Oslo-founded Kahoot, using games to boost learning, picked up the hottest eduction startup.

Europa founder Butcher confirmed that proceeds from the event would support victims of this month’s London Bridge terror attack – and he appealed for support for the family and work of tech entrepreneur James McMullan, who was among those killed on June 3.

Europas 2017 – winners

Hottest media/entertainment startup
Jukedeck

Hottest e-commerce/retail startup
Trouva

Hottest education startup
Kahoot

Hottest startup accelerator
Entrepreneur First

Hottest marketing/adtech startup
Lobster

Hottest games startup
Space Ape Games

Hottest mobile startup
Grabble

Hottest fintech startup
Revolut

Hottest enterprise, SaaS or B2B startup
Onfido

Hottest hardware startup
Elvie

Hottest platform economy/marketplace
Uniplaces

Hottest health startup
Babylon Health

Hottest cyber security startup
Ravelin

Hottest blockchain/crypto startup
Setl

Hottest travel startup
GetYourGuide

Hottest internet of things startup
Relayr

Hottest technology innovation
what3words

Hottest fashiontech startup
Thread

Hottest greentech startup of the year
POD Point

Hottest tech for good
We Farm

Fastest rising startup of the year
Improbable

Hottest AI startup
Benevolent ai

Best angel/seed investor of the year
Christoph Janz

Hottest VC investor of the year
Alex Macpherson, Octopus Investments

Hottest CEO of the year
Gareth Williams, Skyscanner

Hottest startup founder
Tom Blomfield, Monzo

Hall of fame award
Wendy and Joe White

Europas grand prix award
Improbable

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