Five Remarkable African Tech Startups


Coming out of East Africa, the startup Sokowatch from Kenya is using tech to make business easier. Its main customers are small shops, and its goals are to increase access to everyday consumer goods. The orders made via Sokowatch are easily placed through texting. They are then dispatched to nearby delivery agents. These agents in turn deliver the orders to a shop within a day. Sokowatch’s business model can be compared to Amazon, but it’s a uniquely African product that has expanded as far as Dar es Salaam and other African cities. Organizations like the World Bank have recognized the innovative potential of the company and made investments in the business.


What organization is known for analyzing over 100 million bugs? The Egyptian startup Instabug. And that’s not flies or beetles, but bugs in mobile apps. The tech company makes it easy for users to report bugs right inside of apps, making them a valuable resource for beta testing and user engagement. It also allows users to give feedback inside an app. Due to the value of the analytics and crash reporting it provides, it has secured investment and training from international accelerators like Y Combinator. The company has also gotten funding of over $1 million from Accel Partners to expand its suite of tools.


In Nigeria, getting a flyer or business card printed used to require making multiple trips to a shop. The tech company Printivo hoped to change that. It’s “big idea” was to provide efficient printing as well as design templates through the internet. It also does invitations, mugs, banners, and even books. It has its own delivery service, but also uses couriers like DHL for even greater speed and delivery across the country. Printivo was backed by the startup accelerator 500 Startups for funding, and is now one of Africa’s major tech success stories. It’s been so successful that a competitor sprang up, called Print Anything. This rival offers 48 hour turnaround and is primarily focused on micro, medium, and small enterprises.


Another Nigerian company making waves is VConnect. This tech company is a platform that provides business information to African consumers. Part search engine, part business directory, it has also launched a tool so businesses can market to its users. This allows customers to actually chat with registered business professionals on the platform itself.For customers, the main benefit of the app is being able to quickly locate the nearest store, hospital, or pharmacy by making one call.

Tari Labs

A blockchain startup called Tari Labs based in South Africa has created a free online university. This platform’s aim is to train developers and help open-source blockchain projects. Through Github, the company made its learning materials and resources available to students not only in Africa, but worldwide. The materials are accessible to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced users. Knowledge and education are one of the areas in major need of development in Africa, and this startup is leading the way.

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