In the dynamic landscape of African entrepreneurship, innovative founders are reshaping lives at a pace that outstrips the imagination of societal stakeholders, including governments. This transformative wave, brimming with impact and wealth creation, requires a unique mindset, grit, and a touch of audacity to build businesses against all odds.
The recently concluded Angel Fair Africa event (#AFA@10) echoed a resounding message from founders and investors alike: “Live in the beauty of our dreams and don’t dwell too much on the difficulties of the present.” As the Africa Investor Week which AFA@10 was a part of, winds down, we reflect on the outstanding accomplishments of start-ups in the AFA@10 cohort, celebrating their triumphs.
In the realm of fintech, where one might assume the innovation train has left the station, founders are continually discovering new intersections for finance and technology through embedded fintech. Andrew Tesha of A-Trader is leading the charge by digitizing African capital markets, providing investment opportunities accessible via any mobile device, starting in his native Tanzania.
Across the border, in Kenya, AbulAziz Omar of Save App is crafting Ukonga, a micro-savings platform designed to bolster users’ financial health by enabling passive savings. Meanwhile, in South Africa, Nicky Swartz of SpoonMoney is on a mission to support 100,000 women with a credit and saving solution, hence fueling a pathway to stability for women-led informal businesses. Fintech, as it turns out, extends beyond payments and cross-border remittances.
In logistics and construction tech, a seasoned two-time founder – Chisepo Chirwa is building Bosso – a construction company that uses technology to make construction and home building materials easily accessible and affordable. Shopping for building materials can be convenient and fun. Bosso, based in Zambia, won the AfricArena – Saint Gobain Challenge in 2022 and was awarded the best construction-tech startup in Africa that year.
From Nigeria, DeliverAsap founded by Oyedayo Oyeniran is a logistics platform that is making it easier for African importers and exporters to compare freight rates and terms from shipping companies while insuring their consignments – a pain point for cross-border logistics. There are still a few issues to solve in mobility tech, as Timo Rides goes beyond the functional benefits of ride-sharing to addressing issues of safety, dynamic pricing and low driver payouts.
Education tech emerged as a compelling sector. Akoo Audio Books founded by Ama Dadson in Ghana, is supporting underserved African authors’ content distribution. Simultaneously, it aids African children with limited access to books, the illiterate, and the visually impaired through audiobooks in various native languages. Another visionary Ghanaian founder – Cecil Nutakor of E-Campus, uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to measure, analyse and predict your readiness for examinations and employment. In networking, BoxPlexus, based in SA, is a platform that connects African founders and investors to raise funds for their businesses.
Other start-ups were in wellness and health, Rivia which acquires and retains clients while ensuring consistent, reliable customer experiences within a branded wellness chain from Ghana. Manufacturing – Aqualeixo which provides clean refillable drinking water from SA and last but not least, Malvore Cocktails – a unique concept of premixed cocktails, also from SA.
A highlight of AFA@10 was, Andrew Tesha of A-Trader, who won the Best Seed Start-up Award at the AfricArena Grand Summit 2023 the following week. The interesting thing is that Andrew wasn’t pre-scheduled to pitch at AfricArena, but he got in at the last minute prepared from AFA@10 and won the category! A true testament to the importance of showing up, taking chances and fighting on.