I’ll say it here; Top Ranking Africa is an innovative company. Trust me, it is. Because of people like me working for this company, you’ll always get your facts straight about anything relating to Africa and it’s countries. However, we did not feature in Fast Company’s top 10 innovative companies in the continent. Shame, maybe next time. For now, let’s look at who made it to the list.
- Country: South Africa
- Year formed: 2014
- Founder(s): James Paterson and Benji Meltzer
Cape Town-based agri-tech company Aerobotics combines aerial imagery obtained from satellites and drones with its machine learning algorithms to provide early problem detection services to farmers, helping them monitor their crops, get early warning of potential risks, and optimize yields.
It provides farmers with accurate statistics on their trees and vines and allows them to use its management zones to plan planting. Aerobotics now operates across hundreds of farms in 11 countries throughout the world, including Australia and the United States; and has cornered 40% and 20% of South Africa’s macadamia nut and citrus markets respectively.
- Country: United States
- Year Formed: 2013
- Founder(s): Viola Llewellyn and Marvin Cole
So, this is a weird entry in our list. The company actually operates in Africa but wasn’t formulated in Africa. You get what I mean yes? Ovamba provides short-term capital to micro-, small-, and medium-size businesses via mobile phone technology. It can lend amounts of up to US$500,000, and has seen default rates of below 6% across its US$25 million portfolio.
Recent innovations that set it even further apart from traditional banks include a natural language chatbot for African languages, a blockchain solution for investor onboarding, and facial and voice recognition security features for its funding platform. You can turn to Ovamba if your local loan apps are playing hard to get.
- Country: South Africa
- Year Formed: 2015
- Founder: Abraham Cambridge
Sun Exchange is an online platform that allows users to use digital currencies to purchase solar cells, which are then leased to projects and earn returns over a 20-year period. It has over 10,000 users and has constructed six projects, including one at the Knysna Elephant Park.
Sun Exchange taps into crypto communities in order to help organizations such as schools and churches begin using previously unaffordable solar power, while also helping its users make money over time. It is currently in the process of expanding into Kenya.
- Country: Singapore-based company operating in Rwanda
- Year formed: 2016
- Founder: Karanvir Sharing
Rwanda’s “boda boda”–motorcycle taxi–industry is huge, with 20,000 on the roads compared to 600 taxis. It is also unregulated and chaotic, causing a number of problems. Yego Moto is fixing with its innovative platform.
Yegomoto is a motorcycle ride-hail company which aims to make Rwanda’s motor cycles more efficient while bringing transparency and fairness to the fares, for both, the driver and passenger. Yegomoto equips the motos with a Yegomoto Meter, which calculates the fare (based on distance travelled and time taken) and helps drivers navigate in real-time.
- Country: Ghana
- Year Formed: 2015
- Founder: Dr Murisiku Raifu
Talamus has developed a mobile-first healthcare platform that allows patients to make physical and video appointments with doctors, receive appointment reminders and laboratory and imaging results, organize medication, store medical records, and pay medical bills; all from their mobile phone.
The platform has been live since April 2018 and is currently active in Ghana and South Africa. Talamus has also partnered with over 1,000 healthcare practices of varying kinds across its three markets, and is also moving into the insurance space. You can view this short video to see what it’s all about.
- Countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia and Tanzania
- Year formed: 2018
- Founder: World Food Program
A nonprofit project born out of the World Food Program, Farm to Market Alliance is attempting to make Africa’s agricultural sector—a potential breadbasket for the world—more sustainable by empowering farmers and building stronger markets. It has developed PATH, a cutting-edge value-chain solution that helps farming families transition to commercial agriculture.
The solution provides farmers with four key areas of support—predictable markets, affordable finance, technologies and quality inputs, and handling and storage solutions—to help them become reliable market players, and build the confidence of other players in the wider agriculture market.
- Country: Westoborough non-profit organization based in Tanzania
- Year Founded: 2000
- Founder: Stephanie Dodson and David Dodson
Sanku-Project Healthy Children has developed innovative new technology, the “dosifier,” which enables rural flour mills to fortify flour with key nutrients during the milling process. Fortified flour tackling issues of nutrition deficiency such as birth defects, child development issues, and blindness.
Sanku-PHC already provides fortified flour to more than one million people, and a recent pilot program conducted with Vodafone brought real-time, data-driven insights to 3,000 flour mills. It aims to reach 100 million people, providing them with more nutritional food, by 2025.
- Country: Kenya
- Year Formed: 2018
- Founder: Maria Rabinovich
Flare is building a brand-new emergency response system, which launched commercially in Kenya in January 2018. The company’s digital platform brings together the East African country’s fragmented ecosystem of emergency vehicles, and uses GPS tracking and Google navigation to route the most appropriate responders to each emergency scene as requested by users.
Flare is already the largest such network in Kenya, with a network of more than 400 ambulances. It has already completed 350 life-saving rescues, and reduced its average response time to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, it has launched its membership product, Rescue, to market and provided around 28,000 Kenyans with coverage.
- Country: Nigeria
- Year Formed: 2016
- Founder: Olugbenga Agboola
Flutterwave, a digital payment API is designed to make it easier to do business across the continent by allowing users to make international payments in their own currencies. It processes millions of dollars in transactions and has been expanding across Africa of late.
It is now integrated with major online tools such as Shopify and WooCommerce and allowing customers to make payments on platforms like Amazon.
- Country: Mauritius
- Year Formed: 2015
- Founder: Fred Swaniker
African Leadership University in Mauritius, is an institute of higher education designed to teach leadership skills to Africa’s best and brightest and to fight the brain drain, which has seen many of Africa’s most accomplished young people go abroad to the U.S. or Europe for their education (and often their careers). A second undergraduate campus of ALU was opened in Kigali, Rwanda in 2017.
ALU has also rolled out an innovative approach to student finance based on income-sharing agreements. This model means students pay nothing up front for their education, and instead only pay a share of their income to investors once they are employed. ALU already has campuses in Mauritius, Rwanda, and Kenya, and will use its funding to open its doors in Johannesburg, Lagos, Cape Town, and Casablanca.
Which other innovative companies do you know of? Let us know in the comments below.