Africa’s technology ecosystem as we know it is thriving and primed for astronomical growth and success in this decade. Over the past 5 years, our ecosystem has celebrated several key milestones:
- Exits and acquisitions in the millions.
- Impressive funding rounds ranging from seed to Series C.
- The arrival of new angel investors and venture funds eager to serve African entrepreneurs.
- Business and product expansions into multiple regions within Africa.
While these milestones are valid and deserve amplification, we cannot ignore the diversity elephant in our meeting rooms, tech conferences, pitch stages, and panel sessions. Funding received by female-owned startups is still significantly low compared to what their male counterparts receive from foreign and local investors. In this widely-read piece by Max Culliver and Africa: The Big Deal, they paint a gloomy picture of existing gender disparities within Africa’s venture funding space. In 2021, 93% of the funding in Africa went to male-led startups – a pretty shocking figure by any standard.
But the news isn’t all doom and gloom. This year alone, we’ve seen more African female founders raise capital for their startups and get accepted into reputable accelerators like Techstars Toronto Accelerator (Techstars Toronto) and Y Combinator (YC). This article aims to recognize some African female founders making great strides across various industries and sectors on the continent.
This list comprises women who are mothers, advocates, readers, dancers, hikers, swimmers, entrepreneurs, founders, and so much more. Meet 11 African female founders we are rooting:
Sethebe Manake – Botswana 🇧🇼
My name is Sethebe Manake (she/her) and I am a real-estate expert turned tech entrepreneur who enjoys dancing and game nights. I am the founder of GoSmartValue; a one-stop-shop for real estate investors, financiers and developers to get accurate and reliable information that informs their decisions. The information we provide to real estate investors ranges from property valuations to customized location insights.
Jihan Abass – Kenya 🇰🇪
My Name is Jihan Abass (she/ her) and I’m the Founder of Lami. I grew up on the coast of Kenya and I love being in the water; either deep sea fishing or wakeboarding. I set up Lami with the aim of democratising access to insurance using technology. Lami offers an insurance API that has digitized the entire insurance value-chain and can be used to distribute insurance products through digital partners.
- LinkedIn: Jihan Abass
Neema Iyer – Uganda 🇺🇬
My name is Neema Iyer and I’m the founder of Pollicy, a Ugandan-based startup. A fun fact about me is that my grandmother, mother and I are all of different nationalities.
Pollicy is a feminist civic technology collective that focuses on using data and technology to create social change. We research ways and implement projects through which Africans can take back control of their data and reimagine new ways of tech ownership. Our mission is to advance how data is conceptualized, used and reproduced for the development of just societies.
- LinkedIn: Neema Iyer
Tao Laine Boyle – South Africa 🇿🇦
My name is Tao Boyle (she/her). I am the co-founder of FoondaMate. I am an avid reader and occasional hiker when I get the chance and free time.
FoondaMate enables access to online learning for students previously unable to study online — through low data and chat first applications that are available in multiple regional languages. FoondaMate’s flagship products enable students to access study materials as well as answers to questions on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. Educators also use FoondaMate’s resources to set homework and share learning materials with students.
Thato Schermer – South Africa 🇿🇦
My Name is Thato Schermer (she/her) and I’m the Founder of Zoie Health Technologies. I grew up in Pretoria, South Africa and Wisconsin USA. My hobbies are planning baby showers and bridal showers, cooking and traveling. I’m also really great at mimicking accents; the Zoie team’s favorite is my Australian accent.
I set up Zoie Health to make quality women’s healthcare more accessible for millions of women in Africa by leveraging technology. Through our app, we offer virtual consultations with various women’s healthcare practitioners. We also have a contraceptive subscription service on our platform.
- LinkedIn: Thato Schermer
Tebogo Mokwena – South Africa 🇿🇦
My name is Tebogo Mokwena and I’m the founder and CEO of Akiba Digital. I’m an avid traveler and have been to 50 countries (before the age of 30) with plans to visit all African countries in my lifetime. I graduated from the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and the University of California (Los Angeles) with a triple major in computer science, genetics, and biochemistry.
Akiba Digital is building an alternative credit scoring infrastructure to enable small businesses and underbanked consumers to have better access to financing. I hope to use technology and innovation to contribute to Africa’s economic growth by unlocking financial access for those who are predominantly excluded.
- LinkedIn: Tebogo Mokwena
Dr Nonhlanhla Sitole – South Africa 🇿🇦
My name is Dr Nonhlanhla and I’m a science geek who holds a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology. In my next life, I want to be an astronaut!
I’m also the co-founder of health startup, Zoie Health. Zoie is a digital women’s health & wellness clinic that facilitates virtual medical consultations, contraceptive delivery subscriptions and community chat for women in Africa. My goal is to make quality women’s healthcare more accessible for millions of women around the world, by leveraging leading technology, world-class clinical care and love.
- LinkedIn: Dr Nonhlanhla Sitole
Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson – Nigeria 🇳🇬
My name is Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson. I am the co-founder/CEO of Healthtracka, a nutrition enthusiast, and a wannabe dancer. Healthtracka is a health tech startup that is decentralizing access to medical diagnostics in Africa, through at-home testing. Healthtracka is bringing the lab to Africans in the comfort of their homes.
- LinkedIn: Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson
Oluwatosin Olaseinde – Nigeria 🇳🇬
My name is Tosin Olaseinde, and I’m the founder of MoneyAfrica and Ladda. I enjoy hiking and have hiked the Table Mountain and Lion’s Head in Capetown.
MoneyAfrica teaches people about money. I enjoy talking about money and so I built a platform that helps over 200,000 people learn about their money.
Ladda is a fintech company that helps people invest and build wealth in the long run.
- LinkedIn: Oluwatosin Olaseinde
Tomilola Majekodunmi – Nigeria 🇳🇬
My name is Tomilola Majekodunmi (she/her). I am the co-founder and CEO of Bankly. I am a dog lover with a 2-year-old toy-pom called Arya. I am passionate about Nigeria, social impact, and the wholeness of women.
Bankly uses a hybrid model (humans and tech) to enable people to make payments, save, withdraw, and transfer money to other people, especially in locations where physical banks are difficult to access.
- LinkedIn: Tomilola Majekodunmi
Honey Ogundeyi – Nigeria 🇳🇬
My name is Honey Ogundeyi. I am the Founder and CEO at Edukoya, as well as an aspiring professional squash player and tutor.
Edukoya is an edtech company on a mission to redefine learning for the next generation of Africans. Our digital platform connects primary and secondary students with the best teachers worldwide for real-time tutoring sessions using a membership model.
- LinkedIn: Honey Ogundeyi