Africa is gradually being recognized as a force in the Tech World and this is helping push the entire African Tech industry to new heights.
Innovation has become a mainstay of Africa’s emerging technology ecosystem. Young men and women in Africa are using Tech as an avenue to create employment for themselves and for others too.
One of such foundation that is constantly supporting young tech entrepreneurs on the continent is the MEST’s Incubator seed fund program formed out of Ghana’s Meltwater IT academy. Africa’s tech leaders are also receiving Google for Entrepreneurs guidance through Nigeria’s Co-Creation Hub.
Most of these tech startups are doing great work in Africa. Some of the companies on the list have existed for over 5 years and may currently not be Startups in nature; our decision to include them was based on their outstanding performance and tremendous growth serving as a source of inspiration and authentic case studies. Others are barely a year old but hold tremendous growth prospects.
Some of these start-ups across the continent are:
Currently in beta, Orgaroo is a web and mobile application that allows event planners and people who coordinate conferences, official meetings, trips and other related activities to seamlessly organize itineraries, manage activities, and keep attendees on track with real-time updates. According to its co-founder Selasi Tsikata, Orgaroo lets organizers import attendees’ email addresses from an address book in less than a second, plan the activities, events and travel information for each attendee, then add them to each person’s calendar.
Richard Brandt, the Ghanaian co-founder of FreelancePro.Me, describes the site as ‘the LinkedIn for freelancers’. FreelancePro.Me is a website that allows freelance writers, programmers and designers to create a professional reputation profile by aggregating their testimonials on multiple freelance sites like odesk, freelancer, elance and LinkedIn on one singular platform. With all their testimonials from multiple job sites aggregated on one channel, freelancers find it easier to promote themselves to prospective clients and secure more jobs.
Leti Games is a mobile game development company. The arcade and strategy games Leti develop are usually set in traditional African settings complete with African heroes and elements such as elephants, hyenas and other animals, giving the savvy gamer an experience like no other. Leti has thousands of users and their games are available on Apple’s App store for a small fee.
Founded by Maxwell Donkor, mPawa is a mobile application developed for Africa’s blue collar recruitment sector. mPawa provides companies and individuals with access to a pool of blue collar workers. The app connects employers to blue collar workers such as construction staff, plumbers, mechanics, electricians and the sort. mPawa supports the posting of jobs and then notifies blue collar workers on the availability of new jobs based on geographic location, job preference, wages and other metrics, thereby getting blue collar workers into a centralized location and allowing employers to easily reach them.
Egypt-based startup Yaoota operates a shopping search engine helping users compare products and prices in a variety of online stores. Launched in July 2014 and initially self-funded, Yaoota helps shoppers navigate through the increasing number of online products in Egypt, compare prices, and shop directly from the merchant.
In October, the startup raised US$2.7 million in funding – the largest investment in an Egyptian tech startup to date – from the Abu Dhabi-based KBBO Group to aid its expansion across Africa and the Middle East; so 2016 promises to be an exciting year for the startup.
Moroccan startup DabaDoc allows users to find doctors and book appointments online.
Initially launched in Morocco in 2014, the startup expanded to Algeria and Tunisia in May, listing over 2,000 doctors across the three countries. In September, DabaDoc launched in Nigeria and South Africa, as part of a rapid pan-continental expansion push; and by that time featured doctors in 72 different specialties across 50 cities.
DabaDoc has already been recognised in a number of competitions. It was selected as one of 10 startups in the MENA region to participate in the Aspen Blackstone programme in Silicon Valley; and it took first place at the GIST competition in Casablanca.
Ghanaian startup meQasa is a web and mobile based real estate platform, providing a free service which helps brokers, landlords and other real estate industry professionals conduct business efficiently online, while also simplifying the search experience for prospective tenants and buyers.
In October, meQasa hit the headlines having raised US$500,000 in funding from VC firm Frontier Digital Ventures to boost its bid to become Africa’s Zillow. With the funding, meQasa promised to ramp up the development of its mobile and web service experiences, and expand its sales and marketing outreach, so 2016 will be a busy year for them.
The startup is also a portfolio company of the MEST incubator in Ghana.
Nigeria has been tipped to become a major force in Africa’s e-commerce sector, with 89 per cent of the country’s internet users already shopping online or expecting to do so in the future, according to recent research.
One Nigerian e-commerce startup taking the market by storm is discount online shopping platform DealDey, which earlier this year raised US$5 million from Investment AB Kinnevik, with the plan to challenge heavyweights Jumia and Konga. The startup says it has 1.5 million subscribers.
Also from Kenya, social enterprise WeFarm has developed a peer-to-peer (P2P) knowledge sharing platform for small-scale farmers in rural communities, which allows farmers to ask questions via SMS shortcodes and receive answers from other registered users.
Kenyan startup Shield Finance uses proprietary technology and leverages mobile money to offer underbanked employees affordable salary advances directly to their mobile phones, generating revenue on interest charged on salary advances.
The startup has been gaining acclaim recently at a number of competitions. In June it came out on top against five other teams at the DEMO Africa pre-pitch event held in Nairobi, becoming the second startup to book its place at the main event in Lagos, Nigeria in September. In July, it was a winner in the finance category at the PIVOT East mobile startups pitching competition in Nairobi.
Rwandan startup SafeMotos is looking to address the country’s shocking road traffic accident statistics, particularly with regard to motorcycles – with 80 per cent of road accidents in Rwanda involving a motorbike.
SafeMotos is an Uber-esque hailing app for Rwanda’s popular motorcycle taxis. However, there is a twist in the app’s backend, which makes the most of the vehicle telematics industry. The company installs smartphones on motorbike taxis to track drivers’ behaviour and register data, pushing bad drivers to the outskirts of the system.
The startup has raised US$85,000, and plans to hit 400 trips per day in the next couple of months.
Kenyan startup CladLight is also using tech to improve transport safety.
CladLight’s Smart Jacket uses wearable technology to make riding a motorcycle more safe. The jacket is equipped with signal transmitters on the back of the jacket, displaying the direction in which a driver intends to turn when the bike’s indicators are used. It also has a GPS tracker, allowing owners to determine the vehicle’s location.
The startup has raised over US$40,000, and hopes to mass produce Smart Jackets for motorcycle assembly plants, insurance companies and bike retail stores.
South African startup Giraffe wants to improve access to job listings for the low and medium skilled jobs market using mobile.
Jobseekers sign up to Giraffe by sending a shortcode via SMS or visiting the Giraffe website. The platform asks a series of questions, culminating in a short digital CV.
Employers log onto the platform and submit a staffing request. Giraffe’s algorithm automatically contacts all suitable candidates via SMS, and asks if they would like to interview. It then automatically schedules interviews for those who respond affirmatively, and forwards their digital CVs to the employer.
Launched in February this year, by December the startup had hit 70,000 users only 10 months after launching.
South African startup Vula Mobile connects general health workers in remote areas with specialists in hospitals via a mobile app. The startup is initially focusing on eye health.
Vula Mobile allows health workers to capture patient information, take photographs, do a basic eye test and record a brief medical history before sending it directly to a specialist. They can ask for advice over a dedicated messaging platform, and decide on the best course of care for the patient.
The platform is open to anyone, including experts and those wishing to do business with farmers, and is available in both English and Swahili. It is approaching 50,000 questions asked on the platform, with 60 per cent of its users active monthly.
Launched in November last year, WeFarm already has over 38,000 users, and is targeting more than 500,000 active farmers by the end of 2016.
Credit: Disrupt Africa