A website focused on sharing news and information regarding startup businesses, Disrupt Africa recently published a list of African companies that it believes will make significant strides in 2016. The following are among the startups that made the cut.
Expanding into Tunisia and Algeria in May 2015, DabaDoc has also launched operations in Nigeria and South Africa since its establishment in 2014 in Morocco. It was founded by siblings Zineb Drissi Kaitouni and Driss Drissi Kaitouni. DabaDoc, the winner of the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) competition in Casablanca, allows patients to search for physicians in their area and make an appointment online. In addition, the website gives doctors a platform to manage their appointments, and doctors are also able to use its software in conjunction with their existing scheduling platforms. DabaDoc has been featured in Forbes and on France 24 and is the largest online medical appointment booking platform on the continent. The free service maintains a database of thousands of doctors, who are searchable by specialty and location. Patients have access to doctors specializing in 72 fields in 50 different cities.
Establishing a safer environment for motorcycle taxis and passengers, SafeMotos is similar to Uber in that people can use the app to find a motorcycle driver to transport them from one location to another. However, SafeMotos drivers must install smartphones on their motorcycles to gather data regarding their driving habits. The app automatically weeds out poor drivers by pushing them to the outskirts of the system. As a result, passengers have access to safer drivers. The app, as of mid-2015, had 15 registered drivers and was on pace to have a total of 400 by the end of the year. SafeMotos has a goal of raising $120,000 in capital and has already obtained $85,000. The company is currently active in Rwanda and expects to launch in other African countries in the near future. In addition, SafeMotos has received recognition from numerous media outlets, including CNBC Africa, Silicon Republic, TechCrunch, and The Guardian.
Another startup focused on transportation is CladLight. Founded in 2013 and led by chief executive officer Charles Muchene, the company received backing from Kenyan startup accelerator Nailab and a crowdfunding campaign. Its flagship product, a smart jacket, is designed for motorcyclists and features LED signal transmitters on the back of the jacket that alert others on the road when the wearer brakes or wants to turn left or right. Enhancing the visibility of riders, the jacket also comes equipped with a GPS tracker and can be worn over other riding clothes by adjusting the straps. In addition, the product is resistant to water and dust, making it suitable for all road conditions. As of June 2015, CladLight had pilot-tested its jacket. With $41,000 in funding, the company had a target goal of manufacturing 500 jackets by the end of 2015. Its CEO aims to sell the product to bike retail stores, motorcycle assembly plants, and insurance companies.
In just over a year, South African startup SweepSouth reached its operational break-even point when it was able to charge customers $3 per hour for home cleaning services. What started as a self-funded business has flourished into a promising enterprise that has grown at a rate of 60 to 100 percent each month. The success of its operations caught the attention of investors from Newton Partners, Pule Taukobong’s AAN, and the Identity Development Fund managed by Polo Leteka Radebe. The three entities provided the crucial first round of funding to help the company scale its operations. SweepSouth currently provides home cleaning services in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Centurion, and Pretoria. Customers can book services through the company’s easy-to-use website at any time, using any device with an Internet connection. SweepSouth’s professional cleaners undergo a vetting process before becoming insured with the company. Customers can expect to pay, on average, $12 per day of cleaning. Specific services range from mopping and dusting to folding clothes and emptying trash bins, and customers can also choose to add additional tasks, such as ironing clothing and cleaning the refrigerator.
Based in Ghana, meQasa is a platform that allows real estate professionals to connect with prospective buyers, sellers, and renters of residential and commercial properties. The site, supported by the incubator MEST, is similar to the American website Zillow in that it allows people to create dynamic property profiles, with photos and details about amenities, for real estate for sale or lease. A free service, meQasa is designed to work with mobile devices as well. It only connects prospective buyers and renters with trusted agents to complete transactions. Additionally, the company maintains a customer service line accessible through phone, email, and text. In 2015, meQasa obtained $500,000 in venture capital backing from Malaysian-based Frontier Digital Ventures to accelerate its mobile and web services.