With a population of more than 1 billion, Africa has obvious potential to become the world’s leading startup ecosystem. Unfortunately, that opportunity has been undermined by poor infrastructure and hefty bureaucracy. Nonetheless, most African countries are changing, and a new generation of startups is throwing aside the red tape to produce products with global, as well as domestic, impacts.
Here are ten startups that have been on our radar in 2015.
Tomato Jos (Nigeria)
Image Credit: Tomato Jos
Tomato Jos is a for-profit social enterprise that is making the first domestic brand of tomato paste in the Nigerian market. The company operates across the entire value chain and sources raw material from smallholder farmers. Tomato Jos’ mission is to make tomato production a sustainable, profitable business for Nigerian farmers while also providing consumers with access to domestic tomato paste that matches the cost of imported products with a much higher quality product.
Image Credit: Imote
This is a special amulet from Morocco that lets you have wireless control over your smartphone and things around you. By simply using hand gestures, or pressing a button on the iMote, you can manipulate your smartphone into skipping to the next song, decrease the temperature on your smart AC, take a picture, order for a cab, make your phone ring if you do not remember where you placed it among other things. The best part with iMote is that you can customize your gestures to suit your personal preferences.
Kadi Energy (Ghana)
Image Credit: Indigogo
Kadi, meaning “light” in Ewe, aims to bring innovative energy solutions to Ghana and, eventually, all of Sub-Saharan Africa. Its phase one product, the Kadi Mobile Charger, is a portable, solar-powered charger designed to deliver reliable and affordable access to energy. Kadi’s mission is to partner with the government, companies, NGOs and other strategic partners to help Ghana realize its Energy Millennium Development Goal of providing reliable and affordable energy to the rural population.
Miti Health (Kenya)
Image Credit: Unreasonable Marketplace
Up to three of every five medicines sold by a pharmacy in Africa are fake; malaria tablets, tuberculosis medications, even oral contraceptives cannot be trusted. Because of unreliable medicine, an estimated 100 thousand Africans die every year. Miti Health is working to combat this in Kenya and Tanzania by providing pharmacies with software that tracks their business and who gives them good medication. They’ve already signed up over 15 chemist shops, and are growing quickly.
Mellowcabs (South Africa)
Image Credit: Urban Raja
This is an innovative taxi service that presents three great solutions bundled in one. It’s eco-friendly given that it is powered by an electric motor, gives brands an excellent advertisement platform by putting up banner ads directly on the cars and gives commuters an on-demand taxi ride in urban areas within a three radius.
Image Credit: Prepclass
Winners of TechCabal Battlefield 2014 have continued to impress. After pivoting from an online learning platform to a tutor marketplace, PrepClass has continued to grow, telling TechCabal that ‘demand is outstripping supply’ and trying to scale to keep up with the market.
Image Credit: Techpoint
The gaming industry in Africa is also on rise. Gamsole aims to make games that are fun to play, plain and simple. Each of its games offers imaginative and irresistibly fun game-play that appeals to gamers of all age groups. The company develops games for Windows Phone mobile and Windows 8 PC. Gamsole’s games have over 9 million downloads around the world.
Image Credit: Techmoran
Ajumah.com is an online marketplace that enables employers to find, hire and use mobile payment systems to pay skilled African freelancers via the Internet. The service has two main users - freelancers that bid on jobs, and employers who post jobs on the platform, and its goals is to provide employment to skilled and talented Africans that find it hard to find opportunities in their geographical location.
Dot Com (Zambia)
Image Credit: Dotcom Zambia
Dot Com Zambia offers a convenient and reliable way for the general public in Zambia to book their inter-city bus tickets online, using their phone or from an authorized agent, and then pay for that ticket using their bank card, mobile phone or cash payment to an authorized agent. It aims to make bus travel more convenient, reliable and efficient for travelers, while providing management and analytics systems to bus operators to make their operations more efficient.
Image Credit: Twitter
RevisionPrep is a gamified online social learning tool that offers an alternative to traditional exam preparation in Ghanaian schools. The company enables students study more effectively and interactively for the B.E.C.E. by providing timed practice tests and questions for all B.E.C.E. subjects on a web and mobile application platform. It uses particular gaming elements- leaderboards, experience points and personalized fast feedback- in order to keep students actively engaged while studying.
(Header Image Credit: Prepclass)