Enterprise startups build and maintain technology tools for businesses. We don’t hear a lot about them around here. That’s probably because they aren’t exactly raising money all the time and no one is carping on Twitter about their latest shenanigans. Corporates aren’t half as talkative as regular consumers, so when enterprise startups don’t deliver, it mostly gets sorted within pages of internal memos and not Twitter’s first street.
This doesn’t take away from the enormity of the problem these startups are attempting to solve and the work they are putting into it. Here is a list of those in Nigeria that you should watch out for:
The story of ProWork is an interesting one. It speaks in support of hackathons which we have called out in the past as capable of killing a startup. Prowork is a homage to hackathons, the way they were designed to be.
ProWork grew out of a hackathon in September 2011. A year later, it officially launched and was on stage at the first DEMO Africa in the same year.
ProWork is solving for the problem around remote working. It’s a collaboration tool for businesses, very much like Slack. Since its launch, it has emerged as a regional winner of Evernote API challenge and was one of the top 50 startups selected for the Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship by Infodev in 2013. The startup was founded by Francis Onwumere and has so far publicity raised $250,000 in funding.
AppZone creates banking and payment software solution for Nigerian financial industry. Since it began operations in 2008, the startup has developed software infrastructure supporting 15 commercial banks and up to 180 microfinance banks.
South Africa’s IT services company, Business Connexion acquired a 30% stake in Appzone in 2014 and based on that, Appzone will be rolling out across six African countries in the coming year.
Appzone’s latest product is BankOne. The service provides an integrated backbone for various payment processors, and also allows clients to automate manual internal operations.
Obi Emetarom, AppZone’s founder trained as an Electrical Engineer at the Federal University of Technology in Owerri.
3: Delivery Science
Delivery Science is playing in one of the most brutal verticals in Nigeria’s ecommerce space; logistics. The company takes care of the science behind delivery. Delivery science builds big data applications that help ecommerce and logistics businesses track and manage deliveries. Its initial proof-of-deliver product has been updated to integrate simple transport management, point of sale and inventory management and allocation products.
Lanre Oyedotun and Chuka Ofili cofounded the business in 2013.
Slimtrader was founded by Femi Akinde in 2011 and has been growing a decent clip since. The platform integrates directly into companies’ inventory and helps them sell their goods and services through a multi-channel digital presence.
Currently, SlimTrader has operations in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa.
iSec creates secure authentication technology for the Nigerian finance industry. iSec’s proposition is that its secure authentication is foolproof and can be done without SMS and tokens.
The startup was endorsed by Nigeria’s central bank to work on the e-fraud prevention initiatives with NIBSS. The startup is one of the first alumni of the Nigerian government-funded accelerator, TechLaunchpad, and claimed to have raised a $10 million seed round at a $100 million valuation back in 2014. Recent information around the private equity fund from which iSec raised its round however disproves the possibility of said funding. Still iSec looks like it will make a dent in Nigeria’s banking sector where current authentication measures are still not foolproof.