Meet the 7 African startups that made Norrsken's Impact100 list

Norrsken Foundation has named seven African startups on its 2022 Impact100 list.

Meet the 7 African startups that made Norrsken's Impact100 list
Ikpeme Neto, founder of WellaHealth, one of the African startups selected for Impact100

The Impact100 is an annual list of the world’s most promising impact startups, compiled by Norrsken. For this year's list, the foundation partnered with Acumen, The Obama Foundation, Katapult, Unreasonable, Softbank, Leaps by Bayer, Footprint Coalition, Summa Equity, World Fund, SEIF, Trellis Road, Early Bird Venture Capital and BMW Foundation to compile the list.

The Impact100 list is made up of companies that have delivered at least an MVP product to market and/or raised at least seed/series A-funding. Businesses with a scalable business model and a proven ability to combine growth with positive global impact are also considered during the selection.

The winners are chosen by the Impact100 jury. The members of the 2022 jury are: Niklas Adalberth, founder of Norrsken Foundation, Matt Miller, partner at Sequoia Capital, Ulrika Modéer, UN assistant secretary general, Amit Bouri, CEO of Global Impact Investing Network, Carl Manneh, co-founder of Mojang, Srishti Gupta, ex-director at McKinsey, Nonkululeko Nyembezi, chairwoman at Standard Bank and Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen.

The Impact 100 winners are the companies that the jury believe have the most potential to grow into impact unicorns - companies whose work will positively impact the lives of 1 billion people.

Out of the 100 companies selected across the globe, seven are African tech startups based in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. Healthcare startups dominated the African list.

Meet the Impact100 from Africa

The African startups selected for Impact100 by Norrsken includes; Apollo Agriculture, Asilimia, Burn Cookstoves, Kwara, RxAll, Wala Health and WellaHealth. Most of these startups are amongst the 11 African startups that participated in the Norrsken Impact Accelerator in 2021.

Apollo Agriculture (Kenya)

Founded in 2019, Apollo Agriculture uses machine learning, remote sensing, and mobile payments to accurately underwrite farm credit risk and has built an automatically managed network of more than 5,000 agents and nearly 1,000 retailers that allow last-mile delivery of farm inputs and services to small-scale farmers.

In March 2022, Apollo Agriculture secured a $40m Series B funding to drive international growth, in a round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2, and supported by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and other investors.

Asilimia (Kenya)

Asilimia, which was founded in 2020 by Morgane Kablan and Tekwane Mwendwa, helps small businesses make transaction-free mobile money payments and also provides its users with access to financial services like insurance.

The fintech secured a $2 million pre-seed funding ($1 million equity and $1 million debt) in 2021 from Fredrik Jung Abbou, a two-time unicorn founder and Norrsken Impact Accelerator, while the debt round had the participation of French Public Investment Bank (Bpifrance) and GreenTec Capital Partners.

Burn Cookstoves (Kenya)

After spending 13 years as a cookstove consultant in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa, Peter Scott launched Burn Design Lab and BURN Manufacturing Co. on Vashon Island, Washington. In 2014, BURN launched its first full manufacturing facility in Kenya —the only vertically integrated modern cookstove company in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The solar-powered facility currently has a capacity of 45,000 stoves per month and employs over 400 people, 60% of whom are women. Over the next three years, BURN aims to expand to Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, DRC, Nigeria, and Ghana, launch five new products and increase production capacity in Kenya from 45,000 to 120,000 units per month.

Kwara (Kenya)

The Kenyan fintech Kwara was launched in 2019 to help credit unions (savings and credit cooperatives societies, SACCOs) in the East African country shift to digital platforms by providing them with its proprietary backend-as-a-service (BaaS) software.

After raising $4 million in a seed round led by Breega VC firm, Kwara is now building the next-generation neobank that will give credit union members access to instant loans and third-party services such as insurance, as the startup moves to offer end-to-end solutions to its clients.

RxAll (Nigeria)

RxAll was founded in 2016 by Adebayo Alonge, Amy Kao and Wei Lui, the healthtech startup using deep technology to provide quality medication to patients. In 2021, RxAll raised $3.15 million to scale across existing markets and improve its technology.

Wala Health (Ghana)

Wala is a digital platform enabling easy, quick blood supply & sharing critical for lifesaving transfusions. First, we tackle the blood supply problem using existing social networks to build a “tribe” of committed and repeated blood donors. Donors receive “digital tokens,” which can be exchanged for medical services. Our software is a digital platform that connects hospitals to meet demand shortfalls. A digital marketplace to manage, request, and share blood.

WellaHealth (Nigeria)

Launched by Dr. Ikpeme Neto in 2017, Wellahealth provides high-quality and affordable healthcare coverage for common health conditions such as malaria, typhoid and viral illnesses. Targeting lower-income households, Wellahealth partners with healthcare providers and insurance suppliers to reduce the cost of medical care.

Wellahealth is currently serving 10,000 patients monthly and is committed to increasing that and providing access to affordable healthcare for millions of Nigerians.

"We are so delighted to be selected as part of the Norrsken Foundation’s Impact 100. We are glad that Norrsken has recognized our work to provide affordable and accessible healthcare via our low-cost health plans that start at just a dollar a month and the work we do with insurers to enable them to access a large range of community locations where their patients can go in to get medications and tests," Dr. Neto said in a statement shared with Benjamindada.com.

Who is Norrsken?

Founded in 2016 by Niklas Adalberth, co-founder of payment services unicorn Klarna, Norrsken is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-political foundation, with a strong belief in effective altruism. "Our mission is to help entrepreneurs solve the world’s greatest challenges. To do that, we’re hard at work building an ecosystem where founders can find the capital, knowledge and network they need to make saving the world their business," reads an excerpt of Norrsken's website.  

The foundation operates a Norrsken House in Stockholm, Sweden, Europe's largest hub for tech and impact startups, and Norrsken House in Kigali, Rwanda, the largest startup hub in Africa. It also incubated Norrsken VC—a $130 million impact VC fund investing in the best entrepreneurs that solve global challenges using technology, and Norrsken22, a $200 million growth fund backing exceptional entrepreneurs building Africa’s new tech unicorns.

Aside from the funds, the foundation also manages the Norrsken Impact Accelerator, Europe's leading Accelerator program for early-stage impact startups.


Editor's Note: This article has been updated to indicate that Morgane Kablan is the COO and co-founder of Asilimia instead of Maxime Sevattaz. The startup was also founded in 2020, not in 2017.