10 African Startups to Watch in 2017

There are a lot of exciting new startups springing up from different countries across Africa. From tech to healthcare and even education, many African entrepreneurs are attempting to find solutions to some the continent’s biggest challenges.

Here are ten African startups to watch out for in 2017. We selected these startups based on their social impact, seed funding and the traction they have built so far.

1. Malkia Investments Limited

Malkia is a Tanzanian startup that produces and distributes a range of cleaning products. The founder, Jennifer Shigoli, a lifelong champion for the girl child and the environment was one of the first place winners at the African Entrepreneurship Award (AEA), for her ‘Reusable Towels’ project. The reusable towels called Elea Sanitary Pad, aims to provide affordable pads and keep girls in school. In addition to the funding from AEA, Malkia investments was also given a hectare of land by the Tanzanian government to build a plant.

2. Prepa

Prepa is a Nigerian startup in the education sector that offers a mobile application that gives unlimited test questions and a network of resources to high school students in Nigeria. The founder, Abideen Adelu, designed Prepa to help students rise above the broken secondary education system and propel them into a brighter future. Prepa won $100,000 at the African Entrepreneurship Award.

3. Safemotos

Safemotos is a Rwandan startup in the transportation sector. The startup equips drivers with smart phones that send data on how they drive. The safemotos app measures the safety of drivers and then connects customers to only drivers that meet their safety requirements. So far, this startup has recorded 65,000 trips, tracked over a million kilometers and has over 15,000 registered members. Safemotos is tackling one of Africa’s biggest killers – road accidents and making the roads safer for the people of Rwanda. The startup has also raised more than $130,000 in funding.

4. Paystack
Paystack, a Nigerian startup, is an online payment platform that connects multi channel payment options with merchants across the country; thereby enabling them to accept payments around the world via credit cards, debit cards and direct bank transfer on web or mobile. Paystack raised a seed funding of $1.3m dollars from international investors and intend to use the funding to build its engineering team and also grow its sales and marketing operations.

5. Daba Doc

Daba Doc, arguably the largest online medical appointment booking platform in Africa, is a Moroccan startup that was established in 2014 to connect doctors with patients. It is a free service for patients, allowing them to easily find and book appointments with available doctors nearby. The platform is currently available in 6 countries including Morocco, Nigeria, Algeria, Tunisia, South Africa and Pakistan.  Daba Doc has received various awards and was selected to take part in the Aspen-Blackstone Entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley.

6. RecycloBekia

RecycloBekia is an electronic waste recycling company based in Egypt, and serves the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The startup starts by collecting electronic scraps, sorts the recyclable components in their warehouse, packages and then refines them. The company started with $1000 capital in 2011, and now has about four warehouses and sells about $2.4 million dollars worth of electronic waste per year.

7. Tolet.com
Tolet.com is an online real estate agency based in Nigeria. In 2016 alone, the startup received over $1.2 million dollars in investments; some of which have been used to ‘improve the platform’s technology offering to both property seekers and agents. The rest of the funds would be channeled to ‘improve marketing efforts and aggressive expansion across Nigeria over the next 12-18 months’ said Fikayo Ogundipe, CEO of the company.

8. SweepSouth

SweepSouth is a South African startup that offers home cleaning services to clients. Customers are connected to cleaners through an online booking platform. Cleaners can be hired for  as low as R38 ($3) per hour. SweepSouth has over a thousand registered cleaners in their database and aims to cover more areas in South Africa and beyond.

9. Wesabi
Wesabi, a Nigerian startup, is an online platform that simplifies the hiring process of artisans and craftsmen. Wesabi also offers training to the craftsmen and allows customers recommend craftsmen based on their experiences with them. Wesabi believes that learning a vocational skill can be more attractive and can also reduce unemployment. Wesabi also won the African Entrepreneurship Award, receiving funding that will  be used to hire more freelance craftsmen and train them. The startup aims to create a million jobs in the next three years through the platform.

10. Repurpose Schoolbags

Repurpose Schoolbags is a South African startup in the business of recycling schoolbags. These bags are equipped with a solar panel that charges during the child’s walk to school and transforms into a solar lantern to study at night. The bags are made of 100% recycled plastic bag textile and also contains a retro-reflective material that makes children visible when walking to school. Repurpose Schoolbags identify disadvantaged schools with children who lack basic school supplies and walk long distances to school; and matches them with “Giving Partners” to purchase or give donations towards Repurpose Schoolbags on behalf of learners.

Image Source: Mindsky