Although 2020 proved to be quite a challenge to productive sectors all around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the African start-ups we will look at in this article have continued to grow and further develop regardless of this global problem.
2021 stands to be a critical year for Africa, and for that matter, African tech companies and African start-ups.
We will take a look at specific start-ups in Africa from North, South, East and West Africa.
With the continent’s progression towards development, these specific African countries are playing a big role in doing just that. Without further delay let’s begin with Mali’s specific start-up which is OKO Finance.
Founded in 2017 by Simon Schwall, OKO Finance has continued to grow and develop prior to the pandemic. The company develops affordable mobile-based crop insurance products to provide smallholder farmers with the financial security that they need despite unstable weather or climate trends.
This African start-up is a new player in the world of crop insurance. They use new technology in satellite imagery and weather forecasting to simplify and automate claim management, thus creating low-cost crop insurance for smallholder farms.
The start-up creates partnerships with weather data suppliers, and uses that data to create insurance products underwritten by a locally licensed insurance company. In addition to insurance, farmers can also benefit from weather alerts, and farming tips offered by the start-up.
Besides being a real team player, OKO Finance also sets-up teams of dedicated salespersons to educate and assist customers in registration. They also partner up with relevant distribution channels to make their products ever-present.
OKO Finance raised a pre-seed funding of $300,000, but are now looking to raise that figure up to $1.5 million in order to grow more quickly. It is almost certain that the start-up will get the help it needs, as we look forward to seeing it scale its solution to more farmers and additional markets in the year 2021.
This is definitely a start-up to keep eyes on in the agriculture sector, as it has more than enough potential to go global.
Founded in November 2018 by co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Oumar Basse, this Senegalese start-up has earned itself a title on this long list of African start-ups to keep an eye out for in 2021.
Literally, anyone owning a vehicle and travelling in a general direction of the parcel, and anyone with a shop or physical location can now make money as part of the Yobante Express network.
Yobante Express has developed an innovative relay-based way of tackling last-mile deliveries and is an online marketplace that connects local couriers with local commerce including combining the gig economy and machine learning to optimise domestic, inter-state cross-border and last mile deliveries.
At the moment this African start-up is delivering over 8,000 parcels and generating more than $50,000 every month. It’s worthy of note that this African start-up expanded to South Africa in November 2019 and we have a feeling it will become pan-African before long.
With this start-up saving money and time has never been any easier. Yobante has a one business day delivery policy at 40% cheaper rate than other existing solutions.
Besides getting your products safely and on time, you can also keep track of them online. As a client you can receive an SMS or an e-mail notification keeping tabs on your parcel.
Founded in 2019 by former Uber executive Omar Hagrass and Pierre Saad, Trella has earned its spot on this list of top class African start-ups. Trella operates a B2B trucking marketplace which connects shippers with carriers in real-time. The company’s goal is to make the entire supply chain considerably faster and more reliable while reducing slack and exceptions.
Trella is a reliable efficient trucking company as it is trusted by big brands like Coca-cola, Lafarge, and Nestle. It is no longer as reliable as clock-work, it is as reliable as truck-work. With insured loads, vetted supply and tech-fuelled efficiency matching makes their trucks tock.
For so many reasons Egyptian trucking marketplace Trella is our first rising star of 2019, having raised more than US$600,000 in a pre-seed funding round in addition to being selected for the Silicon Valley-based accelerator Y Combinator whilst concluding the year by acquiring their closest local competitor Trukt.
For Trella this year’s list of successes comes from a team that told Startup Influencer they are taking growth “step-by-step”, and not making any hasty moves — so we’re eagerly anticipating the next set of well-planned moves the African start-up makes.
Besides being a very effective start-up, Trella is also cost-effective. It has prices you can’t beat always; as its family of carriers grows, the start-up is able to source more competitive prices. Trella also has additional savings from backhauling. This makes them your best bet in this market.
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We can’t leave out the start-up’s quality of 24/7-365 dedicated support. With automated dashboards, 24/7/365 customer support and live load tracking, Trella is committed to delivering the best possible service to you.
Founded by Steve Shema in 2014 and operational since 2016, Exuus describes itself as a software development company with an ecosystem approach. It aims to serve communities through helping them better use their data.
It is no secret that this African fintech start-up from Rwanda is doing a great job with forming the saving culture of traditional saving communities to come online in an effort to ease saving processes by helping low income communities become more financially secure.
In February 2019, Exuus was one of 10 African start-ups selected to pitch live to an audience of over 600 attendants at the annual Africa Start–up Summit held in Kigali carefully picked from more than 100 applicants from around the continent. The start-up’s significance can’t be overlooked.
Exuus was also named winner of Seedstars’ Rwandan event in 2019 securing it a place in the global final at which the company would pitch for up to $500,000 in equity investment.
This African start-up inspires resilience and enables communities to achieve their optimal satisfaction by positively impacting the future. They also endeavour to create products that are ideal in every possible way—products that excite, and are easy to use, not to mention powerful.
The same passion for innovation translates into their zeal to grow as an eco-friendly company – therefore, throughout their engagements with clients, they raise awareness for environmental responsibility.
This magnificent start-up has surely earned itself a spot on this list of African start-ups to keep an eye out for.
Established in the second quarter of 2017 by co-founder and former actuarial science graduate Matthew Elan Smith, with co-founder developer Ndabenhle Junior Ngulube, and accountant Marnus van Heerden, Pineapple allows users to get quotes and insurance on items with just the snap of a picture
This incredible African start-up has done nothing but progress and develop more since its launch and raised seed funding, as well as taken part in Google’s Launchpad Africa accelerator and the US-based Hartford Insurtech Hub’s accelerator.
SA insurtech start-up Pineapple has secured R5.2-million in seed funding from Lireas Holdings, the strategic investment arm of Hannover-Re Group Africa, in return for a 25% stake in the business.
The Pineapple start–up, which is based in Johannesburg, made an announcement to Ventureburn that the funding it received will help the company to bring their innovative insurance offering to market by funding marketing, development and staff costs.
In 2019 the Pineapple start-up won the single biggest prize at the annual VentureClash challenge in the United States, securing $1.5 million from a $5 million prize fund. Without a doubt this is surely a start-up to keep an eye on. With the milestones rolling in, we are sure that 2021 will be an ideal year for this start-up to grow even further.
Pineapple is a simple and fair social insurance company which values transparency over anything. You can see how your funds are used, and overall get back your entire unused premium, every year.
This App is really efficient and time conserving as you do not have to move up and down to insure your assets or collect claims when something happens to those assets; everything can be done from the comfort of your home with just a single snap (picture).
With just a single picture you can insure your effects like your phones, laptops or vehicles, and can also add items to your asset register to insure later.
All the premiums that you pay for when using Pineapple go straight into your wallet and help pay contributions towards claims; they show you how your premiums are used and distribute leftover profits.
As if that wasn’t enough, Pineapple allows you to choose who to share risk with. You can search for connections and build your own network to control how your wallet is used! This should serve to be particularly useful to people who feel insecure about risking funds with random people. The more you connect to those you know and trust, the less your wallet is affected by the claims of those you don’t know.
Nothing else can be said about this amazing start-up except that it is a genius invention as it gives you peace of mind as a small fee from your wallet pays for complete protection so that valid claims will always be paid, even if wallets run out.
Last but not least Pineapple is fully underwritten. Every single leftover penny in your wallet gets paid back to you at the end of each year, as they distribute profits to your Pineapple Wallet for you to be able to withdraw it IN CASH.
There you have it! Our top list of hottest African start-ups to watch out for in 2021.
By Yannick Cohen