South African fire detector makers, Lumkani, recently walked away with a $75 000 (around R900 000) cash prize after securing a spot in the top five finalists at the Chivas Regal The Venture startup competition in San Francisco.

The Lumkani fire detector is an early-warning system which uses heat detection technology to help curb shack fires around South Africa’s informal settlements.

The team was among 16 semi-finalist startups from around the world who entered and were chosen from thousands of applications to go through to compete in The Venture finals at the Hebst
Pavilion on Saturday.

Five finalists were then chosen from the top 16 to pitch in the grand finale.

During the finals, each startup had to pitch to a live audience and judges. Lumkani came in fourth place, Argentina’s Algramo won the $300 000 grand prize, while Chipsafer and Sensporut came in second and third respectively, winning $150 000 and Discelar came in fifth, walking away with $75 000.

“This is a big win for us, we can start rolling out bigger parts of our business model which require more capital, test new strategies and really scale our sales and marketing across the country, continent and world,”said Lumkani’s managing director, David Gluckman. “Being part of The Venture has been a brilliant journey which culminated in the accelerator week in Silicon Valley and now this win. We are very proud to represent Africa.”

The search for startups for the second edition of The Venture begins in South Africa on 14th August, Visit The Venture website for more information.