10 Of The Best African Startups In 2014, Another Amazing Year
In 2014, more entrepreneurs than ever built businesses that could solve Africa’s problems and they raised more money from investors than ever before, CNN reports.
Entrepreneurs attempted to monetize problems in traffic, finding talent, and making payments.
Loy Okezie is the Lagos-based founder and chief editorial officer of Techloy.com, a provider of technology news, analysis and opinion.
He compiled for CNN a list of 10 young African startups that he thinks have the potential to be the most viable — not necessarily the most hyped or popular.
Andela is focused on helping employers from all over the world find talent from Africa. They take it a step further by identifying raw talent and paying them to learn to become developers, then matching them with global employers looking for talent. The company has offices in Nigeria and the U.S.
Its approach is very smart because there’s a desperate need for talent in Africa, CNN report. Africa doesn’t have enough developers, let alone quality developers. Universities don’t qualify graduates in technologies for the future. There is also a huge market globally, so this company has a massive opportunity.
Delivery Science, Nigeria
This startup uses analytics and big data to help companies in Africa’s emerging e-commerce market manage inventory and deliver more efficiently. Delivery Science offers to manage a company’s logistics from warehouse inventory to innovative ideas such as verification codes for deliveries to ensure the right person gets a package.
The company was started this year by a team that successfully launched other startups and that knows delivery and logistics. It’s the right idea with the know-how to serve the Nigerian market, CNN reports.
Snapscan, South Africa
This ingenious product offers a service somewhat similar to Apple Pay that lets people make payments with their mobile phone by taking a photo of a QR code and punching in the amount they want to pay.
Less than a year after launch, Snapscan was being used by 12,000 small businesses. Potential for this service is huge, CNN reports. There is an opportunity to leverage on Africa being mobile first and an appetite for convenience in payments. Snapscan could expand into other markets and compete with Google Wallet and Apple Pay.
Many companies in Ghana still use spreadsheets to organize employee pay. Paysail offers all-in-one service that comes with Ghanian tax codes programmed in to make company accounting easier. It’s new. It’s different. Most companies — like this one — that are incubated in Ghana’s Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology try to reach other markets. No one is doing anything like this next door in Nigeria, so the Paysail application has a chance to offer an incredible change, CNN reports.
An Uber-style motorbike delivery service, Sendy is different from the others because you can track where the delivery rider is on your mobile phone app. Sending packages is usually difficult and costly in congested African cities such as Lagos and Nairobi. Motorbikes are a local, cheap solution.
Sendy is in a strong position because it could integrate with the growing e-commerce sites. Sendy could also potentially be bought by a foreign company such as Amazon, if it expands to Kenya or South Africa and wants to invest in a delivery service that understands the terrain, CNN reports.
Pay-as-you-go cloud computing is not new internationally, but the cloud computing scene is in its infancy in Kenya. Angani is trying to make prices affordable and lets you pay for what you use. You choose a plan. It may be hard for Angani to scale in a short time, given that its competition in this new and growing market are established players. It remains to be seen whether their tactic of driving competition with low prices will attract enough customers, CNN reports.
Gamsole has been celebrated as the biggest success story of any African game developers. What makes it unique? It offers mobile payments over mobile networks without Internet — that hasn’t been done before. Making mobile payments over the Internet is often an issue in Africa. Mobile networks are more widespread.
Gamsole launched very recently, and no one has used the app yet, CNN reports. But Irofit this year raised $600,000 in six months, proof that big players think the startup has potential.
Wyzetalk, South Africa
This invitation-only social platform for businesses helps employees communicate more effectively. Staff can use it to share files, collaborate on projects, instant message, set up meetings and more.
IWyzetalk has been around since 2011, building steadily, and winning round after round of funding, which shows they must be doing something right, CNN reports. It is used by industries including tourism, tech and food and drink. Its solid model is expected to keep growing.
Considered the biggest success story of any African game developers, this startup has been developing games in the Windows phone market for a couple of years. Gamsole was incubated in the 88mph accelerator and since then their games have seen 9 million downloads globally, CNN reports.
Gamsole recently scored an innovation grant from Microsoft and seeks new talent. It just launched a competition for designers and illustrators with a $4,000 prize. Gamsole has not yet launched a global smash hit game.
BRCK is a self-powered, mobile Wi-Fi device described as a backup generator for the Internet that wants to solve Africa’s connectivity issues. In Africa, daily power outages mean getting online and staying online anywhere and anytime requires a device that can switch between multiple networks to provide access, even in remote areas. That’s where BRCK comes in.
The potential impact and scale of this company is the reason it closed a $1.2 million seed funding round, after initially raising $172,000 from Kickstarter in 2013, CNN reports. BRCK has the potential to provide Internet connectivity to rural areas worldwide where Internet access is unstable.
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