More African women, especially in East Africa, are making a significant impact on the continent- despite the limited access to global opportunities. The continent has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs globally, a feat attributed to their entrepreneurial resilience and courage in the face of defeat.
While African women contributed to economic growth, their impacts are underreported. This is because African society places a premium on the male child, a practice that muffles the impacts of the female gender.
Last month, we introduced or reintroduced you to tech female founders providing solutions in North Africa. This week, we present to you a follow-up article on ten selected tech founders in East Africa. Some of these women are innovating sectors and have solutions beyond their countries of origin. This list is inexhaustive.
#1. Jihan Abass – (Kenya, Lami)
Jihan Abass is the Founder & CEO of Lami Insurance Technology (Lami), an Insurance-as-a-Service gateway. Lami is an end-to-end digital insurance platform and API that enables companies across sectors to offer insurance products.
The startup is on a mission to provide one solution for the entire insurance ecosystem by helping businesses sell the coverage customers need. It uses technology to enable users to create and distribute digital insurance products in record time. Founded in 2018, Lami has raised $5.6 million in a total of four funding rounds.
#2. Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa (Uganda, Chill AI Lab)
Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa is the Founder of Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab (Chill AI Lab), a Femtech startup that leverages AI to improve access to reproductive health cancer diagnosis.
Through Keti, its mobile app, women could consult with oncology experts and have samples collected and sent to laboratories. Thereafter, they get a diagnosis and a piece of medical advice.
Kaliisa is one of Africa’s young global leaders, sitting as a director on several boards. Her startup has raised about $4 million in five funding rounds and makes hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
CHIL AI Lab has evolved into CHIL AI Group, building out products in other sub-sectors, including agritech, fintech and drone technology, targeted specifically at women.
#3. Cynthia Wandia (Kenya, Kwara)
Cynthia Wandia is the Co-Founder and CEO of Kwara, a neo-banking startup for credit unions in Kenya. The Nairobi and Berlin-based startup is transforming credit unions in Kenya (savings and credit cooperatives societies, SACCOs) into modern digital banks. The fintech launched in 2019 to help SACCOs transition to digital platforms, providing them with its proprietary backend-as-a-service (BaaS) software.
In December 2021, Kwara raised $4 million in a seed round to build a neobank app enabling individuals to sign up with their preferred credit unions to access various financial services. The neobank provides access to instant loans and third-party services such as insurance for union members.
Wandia Co-Founded the company with David Hwan, its COO.
#4. Therese Izay Kirongozi (DRC, Traffic Robot )
Thérèse Izay Kirongozi is a Congolese engineer. She is notable for designing traffic robots that help control traffic while enforcing traffic laws and reducing traffic deaths.
Founded in 2013, the ease with which people could speed off, run red lights and flee (or bribe their way) out of consequences inspired the innovator. She wanted something more reliable and incorruptible.
According to Kirongozi, Traffic Robot helps to hold people accountable to the rule of law and could help the state recoup some revenue, potentially funding further infrastructure developments.
#5. Radhika Bhachu (Kenya, Ndovu)
Radhika Bhachu is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ndovu, a Fintech that gives people easy access to global stock markets. Ndovu simplifies investment solutions and provides easy access to global stock markets for Africans from their smartphones.
It also educates and guides its users through the entire investment journey to enable them to reach their money goals. Its Robo-Advisor helps to provide retail investors with digital advice and access to global & local markets.
Bhachu is an experienced investment and relationship expert with UK-based asset management companies, including Deloitte Consulting and BlackRock.
#6. Evelyn Ngatia ( Kenya, TechWatt)
Evelyn Ngatia is the Founder & CEO of TechaWatt Ltd, the mother body of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) Academy, an EdTechca platform. The startup offers corporate training, thought leadership, strategy advisory and speaking engagements.
Some of the strategic 4IR skills it offers include the 4IR Foundation course, 4IR in Sectors course, and 4IR and Sustainability course.
Ngatia is a member of several notable boards and currently is the Board Chair of the Women in Tech Alliance, European Technology Chamber.
#7. Neema Iyer – (Uganda, Pollicy)
Neema Iyer is a technopreneur and fine artist who is the Founder and Director of Pollicy, a feminist collective of technologists, data scientists, and creatives. Through Pollicy, Iyer is influencing the Ugandan digital development sector via an innovative lens on the intersection of data, technology, and design to improve government service delivery.
Pollicy stands on three core pillars; data training, research on data, and building technology products. The startup has worked on over 100 projects, conducted more than 200 data events, and trained nearly 5,000 people.
In July last year, Iyer got appointed to the Global Women’s Safety Advisory Board at Facebook. This year, Iyer and Pollicy announced a Digital Ambassadors program to promote the development of skills and access to online technology for young African women.
#8. Linda Bonyo ( Kenya, Lawyers Hub)
Linda Bonyo is the Founder and CEO of Lawyers Hub, a Law-Tech startup working on digital policy and Justice innovation in Africa.
Through Lawyers hub, Bonyo runs the Africa Digital Policy Institute, the Africa Law Tech association, and the Africa Startup Law Accelerator. The startup is focused on data governance, artificial intelligence, intellectual property, digital identity, internet governance, digital economy, tech and democracy.
Boyo is the convener of the annual Africa Law Tech Festival and the Africa Legal Innovation week on Justice innovation.
#9. Wambui Karingithi (Kenya, Chiza Health)
Wambui Karingithi is the Founder and CEO of Chiza Health, a Health-Tech startup that seeks to solve the complex healthcare puzzles for medics, facilities and patients. The startup offers a connected healthcare ecosystem that drives efficiency and positive outcomes to increase facility, healthcare providers and patient satisfaction.
Chiza Health has three core solutions, including Chiza MedicHub, which provides efficient medic workforce management and shifting, Chiza Care, which offers organised goal-driven homecare, and MyChiza, which is a virtual health assistant focused on preventive care.
#10. Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi (Uganda, Club Tangaza)
Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi is the Co-Founder and CEO of Club Tangaza, an EdTech startup that teaches children (Ages 4-18 years) and beginners how to code enjoyably. The digital platform enables learners to interact with top instructors virtually to learn how to code and build games, apps, and websites, via given curricula and digital tools.
Kanyunyuzi has a Master’s degree in Data Communication and Software Engineering from Makerere University. She strongly believes that coding for children – is one of many paths for the middle-class economy.