The African continent is emerging as a prominent hotspot for the startup ecosystem. Research shows that during the first half of 2018, startup funding on the continent reached $168.6 million with 118 deals, surpassing last year's funding of $167.7 million. These have been secured predominantly by Kenyan and Nigerian startups, Africa's leading entrepreneurship markets.
With a vast amount of natural resources and a growing population of hardworking youths, Africa bears potential to grow and evolve further in the field of entrepreneurship thus slowly gaining a global presence in the startup ecosystem. As investor interest keeps increasing, people are on the lookout for the next big thing. Here are some of the most promising startups in Africa.
TYPE: Payment service provider
FOUNDER: Iyinoluwa Aboyeji
Flutterwave is a payments platform and expense management system that overthrows the traditional payment system. It focuses on providing a seamless and secure payment experience to the customers. The platform assists over 24,000 businesses as well as individuals to process transactions across Africa. Headquartered in San Francisco, USA, Flutterwave’s funding has amounted to $20.1 million in 5 funding rounds as of 2018.
TYPE: Data-driven distribution network
FOUNDER: Daniel Yu & Josh Middleman
COUNTRY: Tanzania & Kenya
Sokowatch is an e-commerce platform that allows retailers to order and track inventory from suppliers at any time. The company closed a seed investment funding of $2 million and will expand further into East Africa. Additionally, Sokowatch offers credit and other financial services to shopkeepers to help them grow.
TYPE: Financial services platform
FOUNDER: Ercin Eksin and Tunde Kehinde
Lidya is an app that helps SMEs acquire capital needed for expansion and operations. It allows firms to invoice customers anytime and anywhere, access working capital, and keep track of receivables. Lidya holds the title for having created the first SME credit score for African businesses. The company has secured external funding worth $8.2 million.
TYPE: Social entrepreneurship
FOUNDER: Aloysius Attah and Emmanuel Addai
Farmerline aims at helping smallholder farmers develop into successful entrepreneurs. They achieve this by increasing their access to resources, inputs, and information which helps increase productivity. They have over 200,000 farmer members who use their services and hold a total funding amount of $742,000. Farmerline focuses entirely on farmers and aims to modernize African agriculture up to international standards.
TYPE: Training Company
FOUNDER: Ian Carnevale, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Christina Sass, and Jeremy Johnson
Andela focuses on identifying and building experienced engineers from Africa's flourishing community of software developers. They also allow companies to hire developer talent at affordable rates. With an initial investment of $24 million made by Mark Zuckerberg, Andela’s total funding amounts to $91 million.
TYPE: B2B marketplace
FOUNDER: Anis Abdeddine, Mehdi Daoui, Aziz Jaouhari Tissafi, and Niama El Bassunie
A trading marketplace for African businesses, WaystoCap works similarly to Alibaba. The platform helps you find the best deals from among hundred suppliers. Moreover, they also ensure that you find a supplier that goes by your trading terms. The company has secured external funding worth $3.1 million.
7.The Sun Exchange
TYPE: Crowdfunding, Iot, solar panels
FOUNDER: Abraham Cambridge & Larry Temlock
COUNTRY: South Africa
The Sun Exchange puts forward a completely new business plan where solar power meets blockchain and crowdfunding. It's an initiative for small and medium scale solar projects in emerging economies to receive funding from investors around the globe via Bitcoin and hold total funding of $2.1 million
TYPE: Low-cost wireless technology
FOUNDER: Joakim Vincze
Mawingu uses underutilized television frequencies to provide wireless, internet access to rural areas around Kenya. Powered using solar power, the receivers and long distance data transmitters are also amalgamated with Wi-Fi routers, and access points. With a total funding amount of $4.1M, the company has set up over 1,500 internet hotspots which link over 600 small business and 11,000 active users.
TYPE: Platform to hire local service professionals
FOUNDER: Deepankar Rustagi
COUNTRY: Ghana and Nigeria
As the name suggests, Vconnect connects the whole of Africa. The platform helps users find help for everything from event management to CCTV installation. Vconnect has provided their services to over 100,000 companies in Africa since their establishment.
TYPE: Printing service providers
FOUNDER: Ayodeji Adeogun, Ibukun Oloyede, and Oluyomi Ojo
Printivo is a website that prints everything from business cards, to posters. Though they are rooted in Nigeria, they always have the capability to expand throughout the continent.
They secured a total venture funding of $112,000.
There is no doubt that Africa has an abundance of startups. Although several barriers hold back African entrepreneurs, they push through with their visionary ideas and innovative products, in the fields of technology, agriculture, healthcare and other sectors, ultimately contributing to the betterment of society.