2014 will go down as an unforgettable year for the African Rising phenomenon. Simply because this was the year of reckoning, the year that the continent realized that the only way to make it to the future successfully is together; via our entrepreneurs. All over Africa we saw established entrepreneurs such as Ashish Thakkar and Tony Elumelu, the Chandaria family, etc launching and supporting programs focused on taking African entrepreneurs to the next level. This of course was a reaction to the actions that African governments took in 2013 which included empowering entrepreneurs at the grass root level with state-funded programs such as UWEZO fund in Kenya.
For us here at Inspire Afrika, 3 particular Start-Ups showed amazing promise in 2014, this is independent of any survey or what big media has to say on the matter – our views are completely our own.
iMote – Have you ever lost your phone when it’s on silent and it takes forever to find? Have you ever wanted to have a photo booth at your party but can’t afford the $500 price tag? iMote is the solution to your problems. It has an ultra modern and clean design which complements the fact that it is so easy to use. All one needs to do is connect it to a smart-phone and start using it in seconds. It basically helps smart-phone users operating under iOS or Android systems gain control of their devices with a simple gesture. This year they performed sensationally at the Dublin Technology Web Summit, one of the biggest technology events of the year. With so much achieved at such an early stage imagine what is yet to come for this ground-breaking product.
Irofit Payments – Nigeria currently has a population of 173.5 million (2013), and internet penetration of only 32%. As much as it is the biggest economy on the continent these figures mean that the ordinary Nigerian citizen does not have access to online services. It is this ordinary citizen that Irofit is targeting. They build the only mobile card payment system that allows budding entrepreneurs who do not have an internet connection accept card payments. Basically with a mobile device and card reader they are empowered to access sales history, analytics, inventory management, payroll history in addition to the card payments. In November 2014 they scored $600,000 in funding from interested investors looking to target emerging markets.
PollAfrique – Although Africa is rising not much is known about emerging markets. This makes it extremely difficult for investors or potential entrepreneurs to know anything about their possible consumer base. PollAfrique is a market research tool for brands operating in Africa. Respondents get the opportunity to participate in paid SMS surveys. Their biggest selling point is that they provide credible responses. This is based on the fact that willing respondents participate on the platform via SMS and will not be hard pressed to give an answer simply to move on as is common with surveys. Ghana, its country of origin currently has mobile penetration of 100% – that figure on its own speaks for itself.