Based on their stories, funding and user base, we curated a list of some of the most promising early-stage startups in Africa you should watch out for.
Even though we have an ever growing list of early-stage startups building great products in Nigeria and across Africa, we asked our readers which startups they are looking out for this year and they mentioned a number of them. I went through their replies and came up with this list.
So, let’s call this "readers' choice". The list cuts across edtech, fintech, healthtech and platforms powering the continent's creator economy.
1. Talent QL & AltSchool Africa
Founded by Adewale Yusuf, Opeyemi Awoyemi and Sultan Akintunde, Talent QL — Talent Quiet Location — is a talent outsourcing and incubator company that enables companies to hire, develop, and manage remote talent globally with a mission to "democratise access to opportunities for African tech talents".
To become part of TQL’s 'talent pool', developers go through various assessments aimed at testing their competence. Since its launch in November 2020, Talent QL raised a $300,000 pre-seed and later received a $120,000 investment from Techstars.
Last October, the company launched AltSchool — an edtech platform for individuals looking to gain technical skills and kickstart a career in Software Engineering.
Payday is a Rwanda-based fintech startup facilitating sending and receiving money globally from Africa.
Launched in 2021 by Favour Ori, Payday had over 5,000 users and $1.4 million in transactions successfully processed within the first three weeks with most of its users coming through referrals and "word of mouth".
The fintech company secured a $1 million pre-seed fund to build "Paypal for Africa" in October 2021, it is currently participating in the Techstars Toronto accelerator program.
Founded in August 2021 by Trojan Okoh and Chike Ononye, ThePeer is a technology company creating the infrastructure enabling businesses to support fast, direct and efficient transactions across other business platform.
We’re redefining customer experience and online transfers and we need the support of the business and developer communities. Developers everywhere can easily integrate our smart API in record time to help businesses leverage our technology to improve customer transfer experience. — Trojan Okoh, co-founder and CTO of Thepeer
Famasi is a healthtech company providing medication management services to improve access, convenience and prompt support for patients, especially those with chronic health conditions.
Founded in February 2021 by Adeola Ayoola and Umar Faruq Akinwunmi, Famasi is been bootsrapped and also have raised funds through a few angel investments.
5. Nguvu Health
With Nguvu Health, Africans can connect with licensed clinical psychologists via in-app messaging (text therapy) or video call (video therapy).
With limited funding by African nations to provide mental health care, according to a World Health Organization survey conducted in July and August 2020, the company aims to make access to therapy affordable starting from $10.
Nguvu Health was founded by Joshua Koya and Tolulope Ogunjuyigbe in March 2020. The healthtech company was part of the 15 startups that made it to the 6th edition of Google Startup accelerator program.
6. Spire Africa
Founded by Charles Njoku and Chukwuka Ezeoke, Spire Africa is transforming the landscape of product and customer experience through feedback.
Spire is in the business of making feedback work for different audiences. Whether it is very early or idea stage startups who want to learn about their customers or test their product or startups/businesses who want to manage their product and customer experience across several channels in one collaborative place, Spire makes it all easy and efficient. — Charles Njoku
7. Vella Finance
Founded by Mark Afolabi, Gabriel Ajenifuja, Segun Fagbami and Tolu Adedayo, "Vella Finance wants to facilitate a crypto utility system for Africans at a time when fintech and cryptocurrency are both gaining traction in the region. The company was launched into beta on the November 1, 2021 and has gone to record some little wins just after a few days in the market", Tolu Adedayo said.
With Vella Finance, users are able to save in USDT, pay merchants in China, send, spend, and receive money, swap currencies and pay bills using cash or crypto.
Timilehin Ajiboye, Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi founded Backdrop to allow users discover and share beautiful places to take pictures based on their interests and criteria.
There’s currently no go-to app to find pretty places. While you can stumble upon picturesque places on other apps, they aren’t built primarily for travel discovery. Backdrop is here to change that.
GetEquity allows investors to find, create, and diversify investment portfolios by accessing new investment opportunities, trade-in digital security assets, invest in local SMEs, and improve liquidity.
Founded by Jude Dike and William Okafor, startups can list themselves through the GetEquity platform and market to institutional investors and public users using the platform. GetEquity enables anyone to buy equity in a listed startup for as little as $10.
Edukoya, an Africa-focused online learning platform founded by Honey Ogundeyi in May 2021. Edukoya has a range of valuable features targeted at Nigerian secondary school learners including 24/7 exam preparation and homework tutor help, a data driven question bank with step-by-step solutions and personalised performance tracking systems.
Last month, the edtech startup raised the largest pre-seed round in Africa's edtech ecosystem.
After Stitch — a South African API fintech company emerged from stealth in February 2021 with a $4 million seed round, the company went on to secure a $2 million seed extension to fast-track development, launch their solution and continue to grow the team in Nigeria.
Stitch has a data product that enables developers to connect their apps to users' financial accounts, at which point users can share their transaction history and balances, confirm their identities and initiate payments.
Since its launch, Stitch has grown in data volume by 40-50% month-on-month, facilitating million dollars payments with Chipper Cash, Paystack, Franc, Sanlam, Yoco, Flexclub as some of its consistent customers.
Minly is an Egypt-based creator economy platform that allows digital creators across the Middle East and North Africa region to create authentic, personalized connections with their fans.
Launched in 2020, Minly has more than 50,000 users and an impressive list of popular regional celebrities ranging from actors, musicians, internet influencers and athletes like Fifi Abdou and Mahmoud Trezeguet, an Egyptian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Aston Villa and the Egyptian national team.
Last June, the creator platform raised a $3.6 million seed in a round co-led by 4DX Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners and Global Ventures.