20 Important African Startups to Watch

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Kenya’s huge success with mobile money and the M-Pesa platform has launched Africa into the startup spotlight.

But African innovation goes way beyond mobile money. Whether it’s ecommerce in Nigera, price comparison in South Africa or mobile advertising in Tanzania, African startups are not only changing their continent, but the world.

1. Saya – Ghana

Chat messaging clients are hugely popular across Africa. Mobile chat app Saya Mobile builds on the success of such services. It works across the iOS, Android, Blackberry and Java platforms, and is a product of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) based in Accra.

2. Ushahidi – Kenya

Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, was initially a website developed to map reports of violence around the 2008 Kenyan election. The company has since evolved to become a tech non-profit that specializes in developing free open-source software for data collection, visualization and interactive mapping.

3. AdsBrook – Ghana

Digital and mobile advertising is big business everywhere, including Africa. AdsBrook provides a network of channels for advertisers to run integrated campaigns. Headed by New York-born Derek Jason Bossman, who relocated to Ghana with his parents as a teenager, the company operates in West Africa and is rapidly expanding across the continent.

4. Gloo.ng – Nigeria

In Lagos, a city of 21 million people with 30,000 more arriving every day, the idea of running an online grocery business seems insane, but Gloo somehow manages to grow. Founder Dr. Olumide Olusanya gave up his medical practice to devote time to building his business. It now employs more than 100 people.

5. Mara Online – Uganda

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