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Saturday, November 12, 2016

The six most innovative technology companies in Africa | IDG Connect

This is a contributed piece by Tomer Harel co-founder of Spectoos.

The startup landscape in Africa is growing stronger, with many young motivated entrepreneurs entering the scene. These six African startups below are great examples of the ingenuity, creativity, and inspiration that are characteristic of their founders – characteristics that are needed to really be innovative. 

Photo: IDG Connect

Photo:Tomer Harel
"Tomer Harel co-founder of Spectoos picks his six most innovative companies from across the continent." notes IDG Connect.

As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention”, and the growing African technology sector has been efficient in closing the gaps that needed to be filled. Over recent years, young African technology entrepreneurs have developed numerous companies answering the needs of their people (and in some cases, the world), which have proved to be exciting sources of innovation and progress for the continent. Here are my pick of the most innovative technology companies in Africa that are driving the region’s technological renaissance.

iHub is a co-working space for young people looking to develop technology startups. It is located in the Bishop Magua Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. iHub was started in March 2010 by blogger, TED fellow and entrepreneur Erik Hersman. It was the first co-working space in Africa.

What makes iHub so unique is that it is part open community working space, part investor vector and part incubator. It provides an exciting environment for technologists to collaborate and turn their ideas into successful startups. Startup costs are greatly reduced thanks to the open space, meeting room space, desks and Wi-Fi available for members to use. iHub also provides connections through which entrepreneurs can receive venture funding. For many young African entrepreneurs, iHub is the only door through which they can access the startup world. iHub’s overall aim is to help turn African talent into successful companies, and so far, they have been very successful.
-          Read an interview with Erik Hersman

Direct Pay Online
A major technological innovation in Africa is the use of online and mobile payments. The Nairobi-based payment service provider, Direct Pay Online, provides such services to merchants all over East Africa. With its headquarters in Kenya and branches across the continent, Direct Pay Online now serves more than 5000 merchants, mostly in the tourism and ecommerce industries.

Using state of the art technology, Direct Pay Online enables users to make payments and be paid from any location and at any time through online and mobile payment services. They support many different payment types through a single cloud-based platform, such as credit card, mobile money transactions, and they even offer an mPOS solution. This makes transactions easier, faster and more reliable. Direct Pay Online is also the first payment service provider to have PCI DSS Level 1 compliance in Africa. This means that they comply with the highest standards of security when dealing with credit card information.

Source: IDG Connect