Top 7 East African Tech Startups We’re Watching in 2019
The tech startup ecosystem in East Africa is experiencing record-breaking growth and increased international attention. From online career and recruitment platforms to providing a software infrastructure for emergency response teams, the East African tech scene is targeting enhanced solutions and user experiences across a diverse range of sectors.
The most prominent sectors for technology solutions are agriculture (Agtech), financial services (FinTech) and medicine & health tech.
Though West Africa countries like Nigeria still lead in attracting tech investments, East Africa isn’t left out. The region is rapidly attracting global attention and foreign investment, catalysed by strong innovation hubs and incubators. Nairobi stands as the pillar and anchor of East Africa’s interest and accounts for 26% of total investments into Africa.
SafeMotos – Rwanda
Designed to prevent the rising number of road accidents in Rwanda, SafeMotos, launched in 2015, encourages safer driving and rewards, responsible drivers.
Only drivers with a minimum of three years experience are allowed on the platform. During commute, information such as drivers’ speed, acceleration, GPS and gyroscope data is recorded and analysed remotely. SafeMotors combines this data with feedback to give an overall safety rating.
The company boasts to have accomplished 5,000 registered users, over 20,000 trips, more than 500,000 km tracked and raised above $130,000 in funding.
Mozambikes – Mozambique
Mozambike is born out of the necessity of no other form of the transport system in some rural settlement in Mozambique. The Maputo-based social venture makes affordable bicycles, Mozambikes to improve the lives of rural Mozambicans one bike at a time.
The startup generates income by selling advertising space, letting companies pay to brand the bikes with their logo. Mozambikes then sells the bicycles at considerably low prices, making them affordable to low-income earners.
The company also allows organisations to buy, brand, and distribute the bikes to their employees, customers, or communities as a form of corporate social responsibility. Additionally, Mozambikes runs a charity and allows visitors to its web site to donate a bike to those in need.
BRCK – Nairobi
It also writes the firmware, operating systems and cloud stack of software that allows all of their devices to be remotely managed. There are cloud-syncing platforms for content, data from sensors and edge of the network storage. BRCK is on the cutting edge of frontier market technology needs for connectivity, whether that’s for people or things.
Safari Yetu – Tanzania
Safari Yetu makes booking travels across East Africa by bus a pleasant experience. The company provides a mobile and online solution to booking and purchasing bus tickets, saving passengers time and money thereby cutting the monopoly of having to go to the bus station to buy tickets, allowing travellers to buy them online instead.
After booking seats and making a payment, passengers receive their tickets on their phone or email. Safari Yetu has recently won a few awards for its efforts in simplifying travelling by bus in Tanzania.
Sokowatch- Tanzania and Kenya
Sokowatch enables “informal shops” across Africa to quickly and easily reorder inventory via SMS or App. There are currently over 10 million “informal shops” selling over $180 billion worth of goods every year in Africa’s cities alone.
In addition to goods delivery, Sokowatch’s order tracking across thousands of current shops positions them well to offer shop-owners valuable recommendations on products that increase their revenues.
More so, given the purchase and payment history, they have for shops, Sokowatch is able to extend credit to shopkeepers to help them grow and better address demand. Total Funding stands at $2M
Mawingu – Kenya
In Kenya, Mawingu is hell-bent on changing this reality of using technology faced by the rural population. The company, whose name means “cloud” in Swahili, is bringing connectivity to rural communities in the East African country. Its solar-powered WiFi routers connect villages to a readily accessible, yet most underutilised, wireless internet signal known as “TV white space”.
Schools, libraries, clinics, and young entrepreneurs are all benefiting from Mawingu’s innovative idea.
PesaPal – Kenya
Described as Paypal of Kenya by Business Insider, PesaPal is an online and mobile payment platform that enables individuals to buy and sell on the Internet using M-Pesa, Zap and Credit Cards. Pesapal payments work on the internet and directly on the handset.
They partner with Banks, Mobile Network Operators and Credit Card companies to give consumers as many payment options as possible. For businesses, we offer a timely settlement of any payments to their bank account of choice.
The app has security features in place to protect buyers and sellers by ensuring all information is encrypted and secured, with notifications sent for activities within their account. Pesapal is also PCI/DSS Level 1 compliant, offering both online payments and Point of Sale through its recently launched ‘Sabi’ which is available in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. To further deliver on its value proposition, PesaPal is in partners with some of the leading Banks, Mobile Network Operators and Credit Card companies to give their consumers more options.