5 African Start-ups You’ll be Hearing of in 2014
By Nathaniel Simons, The Africa Channel
When you think of emerging technological hubs, the African continent doesn’t even cross your mind, does it? Well, that changes now. Why? Because unlike many developed nations where technology is now oversaturated, start-ups in many African countries are just emerging on the scene and in a big way. To these companies’ advantage, mobile technology in Africa has allowed the continent to enter the global playing field. Many individuals who previously may not have been able to afford a desktop computer or visit an internet café, now have internet access via mobile phone and are searching for ways in which it can make their lives more convenient.
iROKO Partners (Nigeria) – As the third largest film industry in the world, Nollywood’s entertainment content is abundant, to say the very least. Three co-founders saw the opportunity in this and created an emerging online media distribution company that allows users in Africa and the Diaspora to stream content online. Dubbed the “Netflix of Africa,” the company attracted 500,000 users in the first six months of its launch.
Kivuko (Tanzania) – As the country’s first online shopping gateway, Kivuko focuses on connecting Tanzanian shoppers to the rest of the world. Analogous to Amazon, Kivuko also recognizes the need to allow Tanzanian shoppers to pay using various means, including credit cards, cash on delivery, PayPal and bank deposits.
Rupu (Kenya) – This company is a deal and discount site that focuses on the Kenyan market. Rupu parallels the U.S. deal site Groupon, in that it seeks to connect online shoppers with small and large businesses looking to offer discounted goods and services – all in the hope of marketing to new customers. Similarly, the company makes profit from commissions on the purchase price, as opposed to charging businesses for using the site.
Djoss.tv ( Cameroon) – “Djoss,” a slang term meaning “chatter” or “small-talk” in Francophone Cameroon, is now the name of an emerging start-up discussion platform as well. It allows users to share their impressions about TV shows in real-time. The platform seeks to boost engagement and interactivity and has become popular among users during football matches.
Leti Arts (Ghana)– Leti is one of the first African companies to focus exclusively on the art of telling African stories in comic book form. Relying on the rich folklore of African storytelling, Leti is aware of the mobile trend, making its content available in digital form and on mobile devices. The first of its comics focuses on the Ghanaian legend of Kweku Ananase, a mythological god and a staple in Ghanaian storytelling.