The New Times (Kigali)

10 December 2012

Africa's Top 20 Tech Startups (Forbes)

opinion

Earlier this year, Forbes Africa named Africa's top 20 tech startups. No Rwandan company made it to the list: maybe this will spur us into action so as to make it on the continental (and then global) playing field.

One of the criteria was that the start-up must have been around for less than 10 years and provide solutions pertinent to the continent's needs; Forbes also hand-picked these sites based on social media presence.

Here goes:

MXit: Founded by Namibian techpreneur Herman Heunis, Mxit is a mobile instant messaging (IM) utility with services including social networking, mobile voice clips, multi-media, banking access and other community based applications. Mxit subscribers can also connect to other social networks and instant messaging. It boasts 10 million users.

Sembuse: A South African mobile social network & instant messaging platform similar to Mxit.

Yola: Founded by South African internet entrepreneur VinnyLingham, Yola is a website builder and hosting service which lets you create your own site with easy-to-use drag and drop multimedia features. It hosts 6 million users.

Dropifi:A Ghanaian web messaging platform which helps bridges website owners and their visitors to better analyze and respond to incoming inquiries.

Cobi Interactive: A South African mobile software development company that provides mobile technology and strategy consulting for top African corporations; this is done through custom software design and development.

FloCash: For anyone with an email address and mobile number who wants to send and receive money across Africa easily, as well as carry out mobile phone purchases.

Obami: A social learning management system for South African schools, teachers and students.

Bandeka: An invite-only online community where well-educated Africans can connect with other equally successful professionals, thereby building lasting relationships over the long term.

Jobberman: West Africa's most popular job search engine and aggregator.

Motribe: A mobile platform enabling users, brands, agencies and publishers across the world to build and manage their own mobile social communities.

PesaPal: A payment platform that enables Kenyans to buy and sell on the Internet using M-Pesa, Zap and Credit Cards; it is similar PayPal in that PesaPal partners with banks, Mobile Operators and credit card companies to open options for consumers.

Synaq: An email solution for business that provides messaging and security products built around open source solutions.

Rupu: A Kenyan daily deals website modeled after Groupon.

BongoLive: Tanzania's first and only targeted opt-in based SMS advertising service; subscribers receive offers and discounts based on their interests.

Skyrove: South Africa's largest independent Wi-Fi hotspot network with over 600 Wi-Fi hotspots in South Africa.

Njorku(Cameroon): A career and recruitment services platform focused on Africa.

Ushahidi(Kenya): Software development for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. The focus is on increasing transparency and lowering barriers for people to share stories and democratize information.

SMSGH: Ghanaian startup that offers bulk SMS solutions, SMS Gateway solutions and mobile web solutions.

Hummba: A social and travel networking website that lets you download free audio travel guides and share travel experiences on social networks directly from your mobile phone.

10Layer (South Africa): A CMS system targeting newsrooms.

What do Rwandan startups have to consider in order to make the cut in the coming years? Look out for next week's piece...

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