Top 10 Startups
Written by Sheree Hanna
10 Njorku, Cameroon - This job search engines was launched in March 2011 and is the brainchild of Cameroonian software developer Churchill Nanje. Njorku means elephant in Nanje’s native language and is a job search and career platform for Africans worldwide. It is now active in seven countries and offers free and unlimited access to hundreds of thousands of job listings.
9 Dropfi, Ghana – The company, which provides users with a smart contact widget that helps people better analyse, visualise and respond to incoming messages from both customers and prospects, started life in Accra, Ghana, in August 2011. It was founded by Effah Mensah, David Osei and Kamil Nabong. It won the Global Startup Open Competition and was named by the Kauffman Foundation as the World’s best start-up in 2012.
8 BiNu, South Africa – Founded in 2008 BinNu is a mobile app platform which can boost internet speeds by 10 times, which means even the most basic phones can have smartphone-like capabilities. In addition to using biNu to access favorite apps such as Google, Wikipedia and Facebook, and more than 100 other services biNu users can also interact with each other via social features including social profiles and newsfeeds.
7 Konga, Nigeria – An on-line megastore, Konga only started in the summer of 2012 and already boasts 150 employees. It has recently scooped a deal with Telecoms giant Airtel Nigeria to offer consumers on the network a range of data services with the purchase of any Blackberry and smartphone device from Konga. Its wide range of products also includes flatscreen TVs to cosmetics.
6 Bozza, South Africa – Founded and headed by entrepreneur Emma Kaye, Bozza is a mobile social networking start-up aimed at township users and is backed by HP ventures. Kaye describes the service as “a place to discover and share content, enabling small enterprises in a township environment to collaborate and prosper.”
5 Aim Group, Tanzania – This digital agency is transforming the media space in the region by taking it 2.0 and demonstrating that going digital is necessary for any brand, institution or individuals. The company works with major African brands, such as Vodacom, Castle, Tigo and Ndovu to extend their reach and messaging.
4 PriceCheck, South Africa – This price comparison site was thought up in 2006 by South African internet buff Kevin Tucker. It is now the largest of its kind in the entire African continent and has been named the International App of the Year at the BlackBerry Live conference in Florida. Its growing success as a mobile price comparison tool is based on its ability to seamlessly integrate into the shopping and buying experience.
3 Jumia, Nigeria – This is Africa’s equivalent of Amazon, the largest, online shopping mall in the continent. It operates in Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Kenya and in March this year received a $26 million investment from Summit Partners to help it expand its footprint even further. The company celebrated its first anniversary in June 2013 announcing it had secured more than half a million customers within 11 months.
2 iROKO Partners, Nigeria – Established in September 2010 in Lagos, Nigeria, this online media distribution company focused on the Nigerian entertainment industry has been a runaway success. It was the brainchild of Londoner Jason Njoku who leads it with partner Bastian Gotter and major investor Nazar Yasin. It is the largest licensor and leading distributor of Nollywood movies. It now has six million unique users from 178 countries.
1 MXit, South Africa – Africa’s largest social network boasts 50 million users across more than 3,000 different mobile phones, sending 750,000,000 messages a day. It started life at Stellenbosch, a university town in South Arica. In 1997, Herman Heunis established Swist Group Technologies and focused primarily on the mobile telecommunications industry, developing software and providing system support to large Telco’s. In 2000 Clockspeed Mobile, a research and development division of Swist Group Technologies developed a Massive Multiplayer Mobile game named Alaya. The game was SMS based and not successful, but in 2003 the game was reassessed and the MXit concept was conceived by Heunis that same year. MXit has evolved to become a major IM player in the south African arena thereafter. In January 2007, media giant Naspers acquired a 30 percent stake in the company and in September 2011 Mxit was acquired by South African investment group World of Avatar.