Africa’s image in the global spotlight can be considered ‘grossly unattractive,’ with many issues plaguing the country such as unemployment, poverty, inequality, illiteracy, corruption, under development and still being referred to as the world’s second-most-populous continent. But with the emergence of new entrepreneurial ventures designed to solve some of these problems, African countries have seen a surge in start-ups geared towards contributing growth scales in African economies.
While a lot of startups never make it past the idea stage, more trudge on and become succesful. From cleanup start-ups to health tech start-ups, here are some of the best tech startups in Africa this year:
With the intention of using the cell phone to transform the way that people in Kenya consume energy, M-KOPA Solar – ‘kopa’ meaning ‘borrowed’ in swahili– is a Nairobi-based business that has pioneered the idea of “pay-as-you-go” solar energy in Africa. This is geared towards utilizing the broad use of mobile payments in Africa.
With 518 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are set to be connected to mobile networks by 2020, M-Kopa started a pay-as-you-go solar revolution in Africa by tapping into mobile penetration on the continent. Customers use a solar light and radio/phone charging stations over several months in installments via SMS messaging on mobile money networks as opposed to kerosene lamps. Therefore cutting down carbon dioxide emissions caused by excessive kerosene use, while offering an affordable alternative to help customers save some cash.The company was started by the founders of M-Pesa, Kenya’s top mobile money system which has so far taken the world by storm. Kenya is leading in mobile commerce revolution, gradually replacing traditional mode of payment.
Named the most impressive new startup of 2015 so far, Delivery Science is an experienced and competent team solving a real problem with real customers and local context. Delivery Science claims that access to data and data inferences enables consumer goods companies to plug leakages in the transport system. According to DS, these leakages can sometimes amount to as much as 25% of the total value of the goods being transported. As a result of advances in cloud computing, Internet-of-Things technology, and supercomputers in our pocket becoming readily-available commodities, a solution that abstracts away complexity while tightly integrating needed functionality into a low-friction, cost-effective model can finally be viable, and this is what Delivery Science provides.
They use a physical hardware device which is installed on the vehicle to monitors goods tampering, drivers taking on unauthorized jobs, and for people transporters, calculates approximate fare the vehicle should have received that day based on number of people who have got on the vehicle, places they’ve got off, and average fares for those routes.
The potential for success is astounding as this start-up is tackling a major problem in the transport industry.
Lagos-based start up Medismarts, is a health tech company that provides shared resources,data and information using cloud-based data management services to healthcare institutions by means of freemium product. The product deployment is close to reaching a hundred hospitals, and 60,000 patients.
Created by Obinna Osuji and Damilola Oni, the company just received seed funding from Sasware an investment subsidiary of Signal Alliance, a Nigerian IT services provider. It is equally a technology and start up which has Medismarts has been planning to approach by investing funds directly into its medical cloud platform.
Sasware is also invested in Codeware, a business management platform based on Microsoft Dynamics.
Mellowcabs is a South African startup that makes electric pedal-operated vehicles which serve as taxis. An eco-friendly mode of public transport,Mellowcabs are not only more efficient than traditional cabs they also give first and last mile open transportation in urban territories. Whereas many taxi organizations continue to evolve due to the growing populace and developing business sector, Mellowcabs stand out as a brilliant alterntive— the rides are free.
Designed as minicab to provide an efficient on-demand taxi service in urban areas, it helps to fill the gap for commuters needing micro transport within a three mile radius. It can also be easily hailed via the Mellowcabs app or website. These minicabs also help to reduce traffic congestion while tying into other functional public transport systems.
Ojay Greene is a Kenyan start up which provides the right avenue for smallholder fruit and vegetable farmers to earn a living by linking them to profitable urban markets. In less than six months, the company was able to increase the incomes of 30 farmers by 40%. As a result of their network of smallholder farmers, Ojay Greene has the capacity to strengthen their position in the industry alongside a competitive advantage when negotiating with large supermarket chains.
Spouts of water
SPOUTS manufactures and supplies clean drinking water in Uganda using affordable and effective ceramic water filters. These filters are made with easily found local resources and materials. Not only do the SPOUTS filters cost less than other products, it helps to reduce the spread of waterborne diseases. SPOUTS has sold over 400 filters through 3 NGO partners since it was founded in 2012. The company has also installed a large-scale filter in a public institution, providing nearly 3,500 people access to clean drinking water.
After winning TechCabal Battlefield contest in 2014, the startup has continued to impress. Previously an online learning platform, Prepclass is now a tutor marketplace which has garnered lots of positive reviews from satisfied customers. Due to the quality of the work they deliver, Prepclass’ ‘demand is outstripping supply’ and the startup continues to work harder to keep up with the market.
According to the site, PrepClass provides access to personal home tutors trained to meet customers’ academic needs and offers quick test taking strategies and targeted examination practice for students. The programme is mobile friendly as it provides for study-on-the-go. To prove the confidence that the founders have in their project, they offer a money-back guarantee if the user doesn’t score up to 75% in the exam they are getting tutored for.
The founders, Wezam and Olumide are young people with a big dream and are working hard to see it come to fruition.
After witnessing several mothers and new borns die due to lack of proper antenatal care, Gifted Mom was created. Gifted Mom is a mobile health platform co founded by Alain Nteff, a Cameroonian entrepreneur, to help women and pregnant women in rural communities to get the healthcare they need. It uses low-cost technology to provide these women access to medical advice.
Alain was invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos this year as one of the Global Shapers of 2015; future leaders below the age of 30 who are recognized for their inventions and contributions to the society. He was the youngest participant.