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Not many people around the globe have heard about the Africans when it comes to modern entrepreneurship or ‘techpreneurship’.
The popular news from Africa is always negative; it’s always about war, corruption, famine, diseases and others.
But now, other great news and stories from Africa are making it into the mainstream media.
We have all heard about IROKOTV – dubbed as the African Netflix. It seems the continent of Africa is moving towards the right directions.
African Startups And Inventions To Look Out For In 2017
The new year 2017 is going to be great for techpreneurs from the continent of Africa for so many reasons.
First, the internet is becoming easily accessible even for the people in remote and rural areas of the continent. Also, the population of smartphone users continues to grow across the continent.
This development alone can open windows of opportunity for young entrepreneurs to set up their lucrative business ideas.
It’s surely going to be a great year because from South Africa to Egypt, and from Nigeria to Kenya, there are business opportunities waiting to be explored.
Below are some of the African startups and inventions to look out for in 2017:
Tress is a community where users can discover and share their beautiful hairstyles. It’s a passionate community of black women from around the world sharing and discovering new and trending hairstyles.
Put together by three brilliant African women – Priscilla Hazel, Esther Olatunde and Cassandra Sarfo, Tress is made for women to share ideas about hairstyles. Users share detailed info such as the exact hair products used, cost, and the location of the salon.
So if you are still wondering about where to get accurate information on how to achieve certain hairstyles and where to find a high-quality stylist, Tress app is all you need to have on your smartphone.
Once downloaded and installed, you can get inspiration by following other people who are sharing their hairstyle. The app lets you search for hairstyles specifically by place, price range. Also, there is a question and answer section where other users can help you.
SteamaCo is an emerging-market focused IOT solutions provider, focusing on microgrids and asset management in remote areas. The company has a mission to provide electricity to people in rural areas who are not yet connected to the national grid.
How does SteamaCo work? The company makes solar and battery micro-grids which can work for a whole village. They are small electricity generation and distribution systems that operate independently of larger grids.
The micro-grids come with SteamaCo’s technology that automates the regulation of electricity.
So, if the system detects there will be a surge in demand for electricity, or they see a dip in supply, like when the sun has gone down and so the grid is not collecting solar energy, then the grid automatically stops electricity for people so that it won’t affect too badly.
The system sends an automatic text to all customers on the grid saying that the electricity in houses is about to be cut off so that the hospital can keep on going. SteamaCo’s popularity is growing and it has featured in the Global Cleantech 100 Ones to Watch list.
Zipline has been in the news recently having been hailed as the company behind the world’s first commercial regular drone delivery service. The company uses drones to parachute blood and medicine to remote towns in developing countries.
Based in Rwanda, the company uses Zip – a small robot airplane designed for a high level of safety, using many of the same approaches as commercial airliners. The drone can carry vaccines, medicine, or blood to remote places with little or no road access.
The operation uses fixed-wing drones that automatically fly to destinations in the central African nation. They release small packages attached to parachutes without needing to land at the delivery points before returning.
The technology promises to make deliveries much faster than had previously been possible by road.
BitPesa is a mobile payment platform developed to help online workers such as web developers in Africa easily get paid. We all know popular payment systems such as PayPal are yet to enter African market. This makes payments to remote workers in Africa difficult.
This is the gap BitPesa wanted to fill. It lets people outside the continent pay remote workers in Africa with ease. The company uses digital currency such as Bitcoin to notably lower the cost of remittances and SME business payments to and from sub-Saharan Africa.
It uses Bitcoin technology as a method of settlement with a global network of broker partners. This allows the company to settle cross-border payments at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional financial institutions. Most payments go through same day (compared to 3-7 days for a bank transfer), and at an average 1.5% fee (compared to 5-10%).
BitPesa is connecting businesses in Africa with manufacturers in places like China as payments to any bank in China from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania is now available.
So many people in Africa do not save money or set aside some funds to meet unplanned challenges. However, the introduction of Piggybank will make it easy for people to save for such activities as travel, birthday celebration, wedding and others.
Piggybank enables users to easily set a saving target. Then users will automatically save little amounts of money either daily, weekly or monthly directly to a debit card until they reach their target.
Saving can often be difficult, however, Piggybank automates the entire process for users to seamlessly save regularly with ease. It enables Nigerian debit card holders to save little amounts of money frequently with minimal effort. Users can only withdraw for free on already set withdrawal dates.
#6]. Sliide Airtime
Sliide Airtime is a mobile app that serves as a content discovery platform. It distributes a highly curated newsfeed to the front of the smartphone lock screen in a data light format.
How does Sliide Airtime work? The curated news feed is supplemented with branded content and it appears in front of the smartphone lock screen. The company then uses a portion of the revenue generated to purchase data and airtime for users.
Based in Lagos, Printivo.com is the Nigeria’s leading online print shop and it was recently voted as the country’s most investable startup in 2016.
The digital printing startup is on a mission to help Nigerian startups and SMEs easily print their business and marketing materials. The startup hopes to grow Nigeria’s multi-million dollars print market, which has had no credible online presence until now.
In 2015, the startup received a six-figure funding round from early-stage technology venture capital firm EchoVC Partners. The startup offers products ranging from business cards to mugs and bags. It also offers design templates to help users.
Users can select their product and template, upload images and input their information, pay online, and have the final product delivered straight to their doorstep.