7 African startups to watch in 2021

Although 2020 was a rather turbulent year, there were many positive stories coming out of the African tech space. Some are saying “2020 won” in reference to the coming year. However, we believe in spite of still being in the grips of the pandemic, 2021 is going to be a truly exciting year for tech across the African continent.

Here are 7 startups to keep your eye on this year:

1. Paystack

This Nigerian payment platform was acquired by Stripe for $200 million in October last year. With ecommerce growing at over 20% YOY in Africa, this is the opportune moment for Stripe to leverage Paystack’s solid merchant network and drive further penetration across the continent.

One particular game-changer could be bringing a more seamless payment solution to African Shopify store owners who up to now have had to deal with 2nd rate payment providers when serving international customers. Shopify merchants have been asking for this since 2015.

2. Skynamo

2020 was a big year for field sales platform, Skynamo. After raising a whopping $30 million Series A in January, they used the capital to expand into both the US and UK.

With it’s core product predicated on remote work, Skynamo are poised to see accelerated adoption of their field sales app and cloud-based management platform in 2021.

3. Gozem

Since its launch in late 2018 this Togolese transport app has been growing at a rapid rate. It has expanded across West Africa and now has a presence in over 8 Francophone countries. It addition to motorbikes it now offers ride hailing for cars and rickshaws.

This year they are looking to become a “super app” by expanding into delivery services. Last October they acquired Togo’s largest food delivery app, Delivroum, which is the first step in this direction. 2021 could be the year they expand into parcel delivery. Watch this space.

4. Chipper

Money transfer company Chipper certainly made some waves in 2020. Firstly, They surpassed 3 million users. They also raised a $13.8 million Series A and $30 million Series B which included investment from Jeff Bezos via his fund Bezos Expeditions. This was the fund’s first African investment.

In 2021 you can expect Chipper to expand into several new countries as well as launch a cryptocurrency and stock trading platform.

5. Docspert Health

Launched in February 2020 by a team of medical doctors, Docspert Health connects patients in Africa and the Middle East with leading international medical experts online and through video conferencing.

They offer services in over 40 medical specialties through a network of over 100 leading international medical experts based in the US, UK and Europe.

After securing funding from Egyptian accelerator Flat6Labs, MAC Capital Partners, and an assortment angel investors Docspert is now primed for large-scale expansion.

6. Onboard

This Tunisian startup has a niche, but very useful product. They help hardware companies serve their customers better through digital, AI-assisted manuals. A good use case is someone who is struggling to assemble a piece of flatpack furniture they’ve recently purchased because the manual is rubbish.

They are also SaaS, an operating model still in its infancy in Africa. They’re venture backed and in May 2020 they were selected to join the Flat6Labs Tunisia Accelerator program.

7. SunCulture

Kenyan AgriTech startup SunCulture is helping the world meet its ever increasing food demands through an innovative solar-powered irrigation kit.

According to the UN, the world’s food supply must double by 2050 if it is to meet the demands of a growing global population. Africa possesses 65% of the world’s arable land, making it the most viable prospect as the future global bread basket.

Although 80% of African families depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, only 4% use irrigation. SunCulture is changing this by offering subsistence farmers solar-powered irrigation systems. The future of African farming may well be shaped by these guys.

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