Steven J. Smith

  • The Online Storefront for Local Tanzanian Businesses

    By Steven J. Smith, 10:30 am

    Amiri Mziray, co-founder of — Tanzania’s online shopping gateway — said the idea for the company was formed when he received requests from local clients for goods from China. Kivuko allows vendors to showcase and sell products directly to customers across Tanzania. Vendors include small businesses and shops offering products such as arts and crafts, gifts, books, home appliances, health and beauty products, babies’ needs, clothing, handbags, luggage, home entertainment, computers, mobile phones, and more.

  • Spinlet: Nigeria’s Premiere Mobile Music Service

    By Steven J. Smith, 12:04 pm

    As a mobile music download platform, Spinlet offers media distribution to emerging markets in Nigeria and throughout Africa, aiming to become the continent’s answer to iTunes. Focused on meeting the needs of over 700 million music lovers with mobile phones across the continent, the user-friendly service allows them to listen, share, and manage music.

  • Kenyan Company Shrinks The World With Crisis Management Technology

    By Steven J. Smith, 10:20 am

    Ushahidi is a Swahili term for “testimony,” and it’s an accurate word to describe a company that specializes in developing technology that quickly brings local matters to global attention. The Nairobi, Kenya-based company got its start as a website gathering map reports of violence in Kenya after its incendiary 2008 elections. Its roots are in the dissemination of information among Kenyan civilian journalists during a crisis.

  • Challenges For Ghanaian Tech Startup: ‘Credibility, Investors’

    By Steven J. Smith, 11:00 am

    Building a startup in Ghana has been a challenge, says tech company co-founder Isaac Nii Noi Nortey. “We want to be a global business, and to do that we’ve needed to build credibility,” he said. “Because of Internet fraud and other such issues associated with Africa, that’s been a big challenge. And then access to funds. There are no ‘angel’ investors in Africa. So there are trust issues we need to overcome to get to the next level.”

  • Cloud-based Platform biNu Levels Basic Mobile Consumers, Smartphone Users

    By Steven J. Smith, 12:42 pm

    Mobile app company biNu is drawing a lot of attention these days in Africa with a program it claims can boost Internet speeds by as much as 10 times, giving even the most basic phones smartphone-like capabilities. The app’s platform provides more than 100 channels including news, entertainment, weather, social networks and even free books, according to its website. Users also have the ability to interact with one another through news feeds, social profiles and messaging.

  • Fawry: Egypt’s Bill Paying Solution for the 21st Century

    By Steven J. Smith, 9:39 am

    Fawry, a payment service available through Egyptian banks and a nationwide network of retailers, enables customers to pay their bills securely and conveniently through channels available 24/7 via one’s bank ATM — as well as Internet banking, mobile banking and Interactive Voice Response technology. Unlike its western counterparts, up until recently Egypt has maintained a cash-based transaction commerce system. According to research cited by Fawry founder and CEO Ashraf Sabry, only 1.5 percent of household consumption is paid electronically. Credit card use is minimal as well.

  • Bongo Live Focuses On Marketing Via Mobile Phones

    By Steven J. Smith, 11:11 am

    Tanzania’s Bongo Live offers a marketing service via mobile phones, specializing in group messaging, texting services and custom applications. Bongo Live founder Taha Jiwaji says each country is completely different in Africa. “It’s not like the U.S., where you move from one state to another where everything is the same,” he said. “The languages are different. The ways of doing business are different.”

  • Dropifi: Turning Client Feedback Into Profitable Insight

    By Steven J. Smith, 9:00 am

    Dropifi, a Ghana-based startup company, offers its clients a unique opportunity to effectively analyze the real sentiments behind the messages they receive in their electronic in-boxes. The company was born in 2011, the brainchild of three graduates from the prestigious Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. The team, headed by CEO and founder David Osei, developed a smart widget allowing companies to get a better fix on incoming “contact us” messages.

  • Bringing Social Media Into The School Setting

    By Steven J. Smith, 1:00 pm

    Although school students tend to use online destinations such as Facebook to shield their conversations from adults, Obami encourages them to interact with their elders by turning learning into an enjoyable exercise.

  • AdsBrook: Generating Local, Targeted Ads in West Africa

    By Steven J. Smith, 11:07 am

    Founded by Derek Jason Bossman, who was born in New York and moved to Ghana with his parents as a teenager, AdsBrook now operates in West Africa and is expanding across the continent. Buoyed by $70,000 in start-up seed financing by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, Bossman’s company now provides a network of online and mobile channels for advertisers and businesses to operate effective ad campaigns.