Show me 40 African start-ups rocking the Internet

DemoAfrica is the launch pad for African start-ups. Attending Demo last month, I was once again amazed by African start-ups creativity and energy.

African innovation is rooted in mobile stunning expansion, and Demo selected a range of 40 tech-entrepreneurs at early stage, offering a chance to ‘witness technology at its birth and to report on the next big thing from Africa’.

Mobile first!

Considering the mobile-equipped market they’re aiming at, most tech African start-ups are designing ‘mobile first’: they’re crafting a bespoke service for mobile device. Africa is embracing from the outset the Internet mobile wave: entrepreneurs are not designing for PC screen, and then adapting to smaller devices, using framework such as responsive design; they jump straightforwardly to mobile and tablets experiences. Africa’s Internet somehow prefigures our future, where mobile and tablets will have outsmarted PC usage.

Going global… from the start

Going global from the beginning came to the fore: African start-ups are clearly enticed to do so by the various speakers. VCs want naturally to invest in players targeting a global market, corresponding to soaring growth, and return on investment for them.

What an opportunity for a global player like Orange:  helping startups to extend their reach by means of access to its network capabilities is the goal of the Orange API Toolbox for Africa. Local marketing support, in the different markets where the start-up open their service, would be much appreciated as well.

Networking African Tech-Hubs

Tech communities are widespread all over Africa: there isn’t one Silicon Valley sun shining over the continent and, there is a constallation of tech-hubs stars, and it’s much more exciting this way. Linking African tech-hubs in a cooperative community would represent a tremendous asset for African start-ups in a fierce digital competition.   AfriLabs is committed to build this network of creative African labs: ‘AfriLabs supports growth of communities around African technology hubs, and encourages expansion of the network by providing tools and resources for new and emerging labs’.

Information at hand

Various niche services presebted at Demo target information provisioning, crossing in-depth database with social communities feedback. They cover various domains such as: job search, touristic travel places, housing market, hospitality service including menu update, city transport, bus ticketing and schedules, PO box delivery notification, education (multi channels lessons service inclusing quizz interactive testing), reporting fraud, events management, blood donation, diabetes personal management, residents association portal, mums social network, investments groups, small business local market place, and a transversal portal dedicated to African mobile services.

Internet entrepreneurs are working hard to make accurate information available, most of the time including a mobile access through mobile Internet or USSD service. Thus they extend their reach, and deliver information in any place in real time.

Let’s communicate & entertain ourselves

Start-ups offer communication systems tweaked for African context: low cost solar BTS (radio station for mobile network), Internet streaming box, cloud storage, mobile VoIP app, transparent stickers transforming screens into touch screens, portable box embedding content, instant messaging platform to communicate with customer, and solar lamp charging a phone account.

Entertainment on mobile devices are not forgotten: mobile streaming TV, mobile software player, mobile gaming.

Mobile money platform

Thriving on the dizzying adoption of mobile money, money platforms develop slick add-on features: save to buy, billling software, online payment platform for retailers (demo was performed with Orange payment!), mobile money transfer.

40 Start-ups Pitches shaking stage

‘Duma works for you’ (Kenya) is a job matching web platform, accessible for basic phones via SMS.

Faselty (Egypt) is a platform for blood donors, building a blood bank inventory. It sends SMS notifications to donors, and connects to hospitals via subscription.

SleepOut (Kenya) connects travelers for a cool place to stay; it stands as a trusted market place, targeting Africa and Middle-East, high tourism zone.

Zehoo (South Africa) is a mobile platform simplifying cloud storage, through search & share features,  and by having all your Gmail, Dropbox and other files in one place.

Fraudcracker (South Africa) helps employees to report fraud anonymously and to upload evidence supporting their claim

Xtendevent (South Africa) sets up a social network for events visitors and exhibitors.

Citymark (South Africa) presents locations information, extending housing market reach through spectacular dashboard information.

Sstream (South Africa) is a mobile TV company, processing live streaming,  making content accessible, and  best video delivery to any device.

Ubongo (Tanzania) broadcasts education lessons on TV and Radio, and offers interactive quizz via USSD service over any phone.

Brainshare (Uganda) is an education platforms, where you can test yourself, compare, identify improvements, share through a hashtag, interact through USSD and SMS. Orange is a supporting partner.

Save & Buy (Nigeria) is a consumer payment platform enabling to save money for the products they love.

OTGPlaya (Nigeria) is a platform designed to transcode entertainment and learning content into software, stream and share.

Fairwaves (Russia) is a base station designed for Africa, solar panel, affordable thanks to careful hardware design, open source sofware, with a business model based on services rather than hardware.

Able Wireless (Kenya) provides access to quality content for $6 a month, on demand streaming box, and Internet.

Gmobile (Kenya) is a mobile Voip app based on IP GTN network, targeting diaspora market.

Vivifi (Egypt) crafts transparent wireless touch stickers, turning anything into a touch interface.


Remote Cycle (Kenya), billing software, supports payment collection via mobile money, and SMS bill delivery.

Chopup (Nigeria),  uses premium rated SMS to pay for games and content on a phone.

AnasiDiabitiz (South Africa) is a service dedicated to diabetes community: appointments & reminders online, blood sugar readings, support group meetings, SMS Q&A.

DreamMobile (South Africa) focuses on African content and services for mobile, categorized apps per country and thematic.

Eduze (South Africa) provides digital content for mobile, free easy access with slick UI, through a portable ‘clox’, a cloud box providing content from a  local distribution point.

Teranga (Senegal) is an Hospitality service, helps restaurants to design and present menu on tablet, featuring backend analytics dashboard.

Gometro (South Africa) is a social network between commuters in South Africa, sharing what is happening in real time.

Notafy (South Africa) is an instant company messaging platform to communicate with its customers through bulk sms, and Notafy free messages. Notafy is whatsapp for companies

M-Duka (Uganda) is a mobile online payment platform for retailers, which demonstrated a payment on mobile through Orange.Jooist (Kenya) is a social gaming network for mobile phones.

BoxBuzz (Ghana) a new box for every PO box: you receive a SMS for a new letter at your PO box.

Ramp (Nigeria) has a database for all guys living in your neighborhood: residents association management portal, SMS, email, payment, across resident members

Dinero MPS (Kenya) offers  money transfer, saving accounts, using Mpesa.

Sky Energy (Zimbabwe) distributes pay as you go solar solutions that use mobile phone technology to recharge.

Karibu Solar (Tanzania), by spreading the components of the solar lamp, is splitting the cost, $3 upfront, 30 cts for recharging; one can even charge a phone.

Famissima (Tunisia) connects mums to each other and to products and services they need.

Chamasoft (Kenya) automates management of investment groups.

SafariYetu (Tanzania) provides bus companies with a solution that enables them to manage ticketing and bus schedules.

Eventtus (Egypt) is a social event management system, which includes speakers, timelines, feedback, agenda, networking

Obami (South Africa) is a social learning platform. Enabling content, collaboration and assessment, the system connects everyone within the education space.

Dibsr (Ethiopia) is a platform where retailers place their products online for sale. Helps consumers find products available in their area

All start-ups detailed data sheet and contacts are on VC4Africa/Ventures.

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