8 African Tech Startups That May Have An Edge

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Geneva-based Seedstars, a venture capital firm that holds competitions for startups, will award $500,00 to one of about 35 tech startup companies in developing markets around the world that make it through global competitions.

The competitions are crucial because they offer startups exposure to European and U.S. financiers, and are a way for venture capitalists to scout out startups around the world, according to Forbes.

The following eight African tech startups were on a list of 19 from emerging markets sent to Forbes by Seedstar.

“Our aim is to open the fund to the public through a crowdfunding platform combined with investments from accredited investors,” Seedstars CFO Charlie Graham-Brown said in an email to Forbes. “We hope to democratize emerging-market startup investing with investments from as little as $1k.”

Below is a list of African winners, according to Forbes.

Emerging-market startups are competing in much larger markets than established- market startups, says Forbes columnist Elizabeth McBride. The stakes are higher but so are the potential rewards.

Financing infrastructure:

• Accra, Ghana-based Kitawa is building a Bitcoin-based online payments platform.

• Remit.ug, based in Kampala, Uganda, lets people all over the world transfer money to mobile wallets in Africa.

Emerging markets may have an edge in mobile:

•  Just 19 percent of the roads in sub-Sarahan Africa are paved. Nairobi-based OkHi is taking on that problem, giving every smartphone a physical address.

Emerging markets entrepreneurs working on world problems.

• Cape Town-based Khusela is building a low-cost fire detection device designed for slum environments.

• Casablanca-based myVLE is an SasS online-learning platform.

• Lagos, Nigeria-based Green Energy is working on a process to convert municipal solid waste to petroleum and electrical energy.

E-commerce

• Dakar-based Poeyek is building a tablet management device for small and informal businesses.

• Kigali, Rwanda-based TorQue Workspace is software that helps manage distribution for wholesalers.


About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubai Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.