FEATURE: The week in startups 30/03/2014

FEATURE: The week in startups 30/03/2014

African startups have seen major expansions in the past few months, both in capital and geography, along with 88mph Cape Town opening its doors to introduce the media to its latest round of startups.

Online property portal Lamudi has said it is now the largest online property portal in Uganda, which it attributed to meeting the demands of the Ugandan population in major cities.

Lamudi, which debuted in Uganda in October 2013, now has more than one million monthly visitors across 21 countries around the world and operates in the Ugandan market by servicing the rapidly growing real estate sector in big cities like Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja.

The online hotel bookings market has been bolstered recently with Nigeria’s Jovago announcing its expansion to Kenya and Senegal.

The company lists travel destinations and hotel information without applying booking fees, while providing an online payment option.

“With its move into Kenya and Senegal, Jovago aims to provide even more customers with the best hotel booking experience,” the company said in a statement.

Emmanuel Tolulope, founder of Nigerian social business online cloud network Termii.com, has said the platform is unique by pushing limits and supporting numerous functionalities desired by users.

“Termii breaks the limit of the usual social discovery service that most networks in Africa possess and stretches it to accommodate business, entrepreneurial activities, journalism and campaign related functionality such as voting systems, video advertising, products showcase, virtual office management, portfolio archiving and whatever you want Termii to achieve for you,” Tolulope told HumanIPO.

Morocco has Africa’s highest internet penetration rate, with more than half the country connected to the internet, an analysis conducted by real estate company Lamudi has revealed.

Lamudi said the internet is fast becoming integral to daily life in Africa, with over 167 million web users on the continent and the number rising rapidly.

Ahonya.com, Ghana’s premier online shopping platform, has announced it has secured seed funding from Rio Technology Partners and Savannah Fund.

It said the round was led by Rio, a Dubai-based investment firm which focuses on seed, early and growth stage investment opportunities in technology, media and telecommunications, with existing investors the Nairobi-based Savannah Fund also participating.

The Nailab incubation centre in Nairobi, Kenya, saw six ICT startups launch their products at an event dubbed Crowdfunding Bootcamp.

Nailab – which secured US$1.6 million funding from the Kenyan government last year – partnered with 1%Club to enable the pitching of the events with the use of Crowdfunding Canvas, a tool to help develop a crowdfunding campaign for the various entrepreneurs and solutions.

South African startup Dream Mobile has seen its latest smartphone model gain extensive support from business clients, selling out of stock for two consecutive months and prompting expansion to retail outlets.

HumanIPO reported in February last year Dream Mobile launched its range of low-cost high-end smartphones in South Africa, with the devices tailored to suit African markets and consumer needs.

Nigerian e-commerce store Jumia has unveiled a category dedicated to Nigerian fashion items, in a bid to support the local fashion industry.

The section – dubbed “By Naija” – hosts products from over 50 Nigerian fashion designers, ranging from clothes and shoes to accessories and beauty products, with Jumia saying it wants to give “recognition” to talented local designers.

Emmanuel Tolulope, founder of Termii.com is Nigeria’s newest social business online cloud network, answers some of HumanIPO’s questions here.

Zimbabwe is set to host its first Startup Weekend in May, hoping to foster the development of tech ideas in the country.

HumanIPO reported last year Startup Weekend was taking place at Strathmore University iLab in Nairobi, while events have also been held elsewhere in Africa.

And from 88mph Cape Town:

Catch is launching a mobile dating app aiming to convert online dating into real life scenarios and address the gaps in global competitor Tinder.

Catch is a mobile app which allows people to see who else is attending a specific social event and select attendees of interest. If two people select each other they are “matched”, and can chat in-app and then meet in real life at the venue.

GraphFlow is providing recommendation facilities to both online and offline retailers, driving a company’s revenue and interactions as well as delivering customised shopping experiences to consumers.

GraphFlow, started by Nick Pentreath and Robert Elliott at the beginning of 2013, uses data relating to the interaction of products and a client’s customers to deliver a plug-and-play recommendation and ‘similar items’ platform for a monthly subscription fee.

Pet Heaven has launched a scheduled pet food delivery service, allowing pet owners to subscribe to regular deliveries to save time and money.

The company, was founded six months ago based on founder Courtenay Farquharson’s experience working with Australian firm Paws for Life.

Ekaya has launched to help property owners and tenants connect with one another, providing landlords with a platform on which to list property and tenants with a space to create a comprehensive renting profile.

Ekaya was founded by chief executive officer (CEO) Justin R Melville, chief technology officer (CTO) Rudolf Vavruch and chief operating officer (COO) Ruark Ferreira at the beginning of 2014, borrowing from online dating platforms in the way it operates.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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