African Startup of the Year

Africa has seen a surge in technology startups in the past year and HumanIPO has tried to bring news on as many as possible. From those in their infancy to others making an impact across the continent and beyond, here is the HumanIPO team’s pick of the startups of the year.

Kamau Mbote: Wazi Wifi.Connects Kenyans in major towns with WiFi by collaborating with telecommunication companies, internet service providers, restaurants, hotels and bars currently making Nairobi and Mombasa big WiFi hotspots with more than 400. Through the service anyone in the CBD or any other business with agreement with Wazi can stay connected without switching between WiFis.

Elly Okutoyi: Maliyo Games. This gaming company from Nigeria has revolutionized the way Africans play, by creating games that identify with what the Africans experience in their day to day lives, including Okada and Mosquito. Recently, the company ventured into advergaming by creating a game for Wema Bank. It’s also among the 40 startups who were selected for the first ever DEMO Africa held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Vincent Matinde: Oasis Websoft – The startup is owned by Randolf Owusu. The startup has edged out other startups by trying to play where the big boys play. With an operating system and a browser under their belt the company is out to defy the status quo. Their browser has an inbuilt library of more than 3,000 educational articles.

Gythan Munga: Coming from Lithuania Eskimi, a three-year-old startup, would not have foreseen overtaking Google, Yahoo and the BBC as the most visited site in Nigeria and Namibia. Following a good year which saw them start a mobile money marketing platform in Nigeria, Eskimi has reported hitting 10 million members worldwide. In the words of Vytas Paukstys, Chief Executive at Eskimi, love needs a location.
br />Gabriella Mulligan:
Kenyan startup Scan Response this year launched its Blood Match project, which facilitates medical treatment in Kenyan hospitals by allowing medical personnel to access a patient’s blood group and other records using a quick-response code on a wristband, in efforts to speed up blood transfusions, organ transplants, and emergency responses.

Tom Jackson: mVerified, from Kenya, is looking to ensure that counterfeit documents such as car log books, title deeds and graduation certificates do not find their way onto the Kenyan market.It seeks to make life easier for businessmen, employers and others who face issues verifying the authenticity of documents for transactions.

Robin Okuthe:
Dropifi, a Ghanaian Web-messaging platform that enables website owners and visitors to analyze and respond to incoming inquiries, was named the Best IT Startup globally in the US-based Kaufman Foundation’s Global Startup Open 2012 in November. Other awards bagged include Ghana’s TopApp of the Year 2012, Yahoo Finance / CNBC’s World’s Most Promising Startup, Number three on Forbes Top 20 Startups in Africa and Winners of Accra Startup Weekend among others.

Richard Cutcher: Cameroonian startup Agro-Hub launched its SMSDeck for farmers at the start of December as it looks to connect the industry with the government agencies to spread vital information concerning weather, crop disease and market prices. The startup, founded by farmers son Valery Colong, was aided by a US$9,150 grant from British based Indigo Trust, and hopes to make its business model successful by supplying the SMSDeck software to other industries.

Nanine Steenkamp:
Kenya’s Mobile Decisioning (MoDe) company has won the IBM Africa SmartCamp contest at Tech4Africa award this year for its unique market solution of supplying emergency airtime. Highlights include its partnerships with major African telcos MTN and Airtel. MoDe is based in five African countries and is working at plans to expand in 15 additional African nations, South America and Europe.

Paul Adepoju: This is quite keenly contested because 2012 witnessed several awesome startups. But I will give it to Konga.com. Within less than a year, it has revolutionized the perception of Nigerians about online shopping. It’s marketing strategy is impeccable, advertising is ambitious, it has a beautiful easy-to-navigate website and secured business platform.

Brandon Gregory: Snapt, the snap-on user interface provider for open source software was founded over a year ago by Dave Blakey and has already achieved much success in the USA with a 95 percent client base in the States. Despite the company’s success, Blakey said they have only just begun and plan to launch enterprise sales properly next year.

Posted in: Startups

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