DEMO Africa 2015 is over. Everyone who participated is either on a flight back to their respective countries or snoring on a bed somewhere, exhausted from all the excitement. We witnessed 30 ideas launch on the DEMO Africa stage, five of which were selected to head on to Silicon Valley to pitch.
And because of the amount of innovation and ideas at the event, we’ve included four more startups that caught our eye.
First, the Silicon Valley cohort:
Simbapay, run by Nyasinga Onyancha and four others, offers convenient and cheap money remittance services to Africa. The service allows instant payment to mobile wallets and your regular bank accounts. Via the mobile app, international users can transfer funds into bank accounts in Kenya and Nigeria with lower remittance charges. The startup has $500, 000 in funding, to date.
Zuvaa is a marketplace for African inspired fashion and design, according to the founder, Kelechi Anyadiegwu. The startup launched in May 2014 and has recorded over $300,000 in revenue. Zuvaa is taking on a $15 billion addressable market, by 2020 projections.
Carparts Nigeria is an online marketplace for auto-parts. The website connects auto part vendors with customers willing to buy used or brand new parts for their vehicles. According to the founders, who both have more than two decades of experience in previous fields (Accounting and IT Security), they have funded the company with $230,000 of their own money.
BambaPOS is a cloud-based point of sale service. Retail merchants who are yet to automate their payment process, maybe due to cost or complexity, can now do so via the BambaPOS service. The service turns android smartphones into mobile POS machines, works on and offline, and receives payments through multiple channels.
One of the seemingly painless ideas coming from this year’s DEMO Africa, InsuredAfrika is a comparison website for insurance deals in Kenya. It’s been bootstrapped since day one and is looking to raise $1,000,000 to expand outside Kenya.
And our Editors’ picks
Raye7 is a mobile app that facilitates ride-sharing within the user’s existing network of associates. What was most impressive about it was the founder’s excitement as she graced the stage. Due to the novelty of the idea in Cairo, the founders strategically started by introducing it to the workplace. As colleagues use the app to organise trips together, eventually more people will get comfortable with it and diffusion of innovation can take place, thereby mitigating the culture shock when the service goes bigger and mainstream in a few months.
Ever seen an idea that gives you a, “Duh!” moment? Like, “that’s such an obvious solution to a huge problem. How didn’t I think about that?” Well, say hello to Locname. Locname is a web and mobile application allows you to create an address for any point on earth and assigns it a short, unique name, which you can then share easily in just 2 seconds!
For example, I’m at home and a friend needs to get to me. All I have to do is load up the app and click a button, which sets a marker on my current location, (the app uses Google Map’s API to zero in on your location). My friend who also has the app sees my location and can now find me, regardless of the poor numbering system on my street. Easy peasy! I thought this was a slam dunk idea and was expecting it as a finalist but I guess them’s the breaks.
I’m a sucker for a good deal and this startup from Cote d’Ivoire may just be my next obsession.
Airshop is a marketplace for duty-free shopping. If you’re traveling, or know someone who is, or maybe you don’t mind making the trip to the airport, Airshop lets you place orders for goods online and pick them up at duty-free shops around the airport. Because they’re duty free, the goods are cheaper. Almost 20% cheaper. The service is still in beta but if the response they’ve received is any indication, Airshop is going to be a smash hit.
I’d heard lots of good things prior to seeing this demoed at the event but I was still impressed by the ambition of the project. And as a book lover, I guess I have a soft spot for anyone trying to make reading easier and more fun. We’ve already written about them here but I’m considering a more indepth coverage in the coming weeks.
Ibukun Taiwo contributed to this post.