Kenya has positioned itself as one of the most prominent startup destinations in Africa.
With the rise of innovation hubs and accelerator programs in Kenya, there has been great growth for entrepreneurs with over 600 hundred start-ups in the country.
Access to internet and a great education system are also some contributors to the increase in startups and innovation.
Here are some notable startups to watch in Kenya.
Launched in 2014, Twiga Foods uses technology to consolidate the fragmented purchasing power of urban retailers, saving them a trip to the market by delivering to their doorstep better quality and better-priced stock. The mobile-based supply platform allows vendors who operate kiosks and market stalls in Nairobi to order the supply of products at low-cost, timely than what informal markets can provide. These products include bananas, potatoes, tomatoes and onions and they process over 4000 orders weekly. In 2017, Twiga raised a US$10.3 million Series A funding round to enable it to increase the number of vendors it serves.
Pezesha is a peer to peer micro-lending marketplace that connects lenders with high quality undeserved low-income borrowers. Launched in 2016, The startup is able to provide credit to low-income borrowers excluded by the financial system, and has in just 10 months of operation loaned money to more than 5,000 borrowers. Pezesha was part of four startups that were incubated at DFS Lab to share $250,000. In October 2017, Pezesha was selected to participate in Blackbox Connect 20 accelerator programme at Silicon Valley.
Sky.Garden is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for mobile commerce that is built specifically for African businesses. The e-commerce platform uses connects traders and consumers on an easy to use platform that secures payment and shipping facilities . It currently targets consumers in the big cities in Kenya where demand is the highest. Launched nine months ago, the startup has registered over 3,000 unique sellers who now have access to their very own Sky.Garden web shops. These web shop owners have more than 23,000 unique products uploaded across 30 different categories. Its an easy-to-use online marketplace allows informal traders, SMEs and established businesses to sell their products.
Founded in 2015, Cloud9xp is an online marketplace for booking leisure experience across Africa. They provide a platform where anyone can book online “High on Life” experience such as flying, adventure, extreme outdoor activities handpicked by their seasonal experience masters. Within a period of one year, Cloud9XP has been able to sell over 1500 experiences on their platform with an average experience retailing at $30 / Kshs 3,000. In a recent episode of KCB Lion’s Den, Cloud9xp raised over $74,000 from Darshan Chandaria and Wandia Gichuru which they are going to use expand their business and build an app for the same.
Fintech start-up BitPesa is a digital foreign exchange and payment platform for frontier markets. It began the year 2018 in fine fundraising form, closing a US$2.5 million round with a view to expanding its services further across West and Southern Africa, as well as in the UK and Europe. In March BitPesa partnered with Germany-based SME lending platform Bitbond to improve access to financing for businesses in Africa. It then raised follow-on funding from a number of investors to take its total secured investment to around the US$10 million mark. Even though it is still prevented from operating in its home country due to decisions taken by Central Bank of Kenya, the startup has still proven success.
By Neo Sesinye
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