Startups

The 10 most innovative African companies in 2020 according to Fast Company

March 11, 2020 · 3 min read
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Fast Company, an international business media brand, recently released its list of the most innovative companies in the world.

Snap, the parent company of popular social media platform Snapchat was crowned as the most innovative company in 2020. Multinational tech giant, Microsoft, and electric car and clean energy company, Tesla, made the top three, while Zipline, an Africa-focused but San Francisco-based drone delivery company made the top ten.

434 companies from 39 countries were selected based on their impact on their respective geographical industries and cultures. Among these, are ten African companies which Fast Company says are finding solutions to local problems with their applications being relevant beyond their borders.

In no particular order, here are the most innovative companies in Africa.

54gene

Founded by Dr Abasi Ene-Obong in 2019, the one-year-old startup utilises human genetic data derived from diverse African populations, to improve medical products in the continent.

So far, it has raised $4.5 million and Fast Company says it selected the startup for taking the first step toward creating an Africa-wide genetic biobank by partnering with more than a dozen hospitals in Nigeria to analyze the genomes of their patients.

Tongoro

Founded by Sarah Diouf in 2016, the ready-to-wear fashion label attained global recognition after being worn by Beyoncé and featuring in Vogue.

The Senegalese company was selected because it empowers local artisans as well as showcase the work of African makers and tailors, whom she trains to meet international standards of production.

PiggyVest

The Nigerian online savings startup was founded in 2016 by Joshua Chibueze, Odunayo Eweniyi, and Somto Ifezue.

So far, it has raised $1.1 million and Fast Company says PiggyVest was selected for helping West African millennials invest and save for the future while rolling out features offering users an option to invest in the U.S. dollar.

Kobo360

The logistics startup was founded by Obi Uzor and Ife Oyedele in 2017. It has raised over $37 million and was selected for connecting African truck drivers with companies in need throughout Nigeria and beyond.

The Nigerian-based company pays drivers directly to their bank accounts, eliminating the need for cash transactions and putting all the paperwork online.

Twiga Foods

Founded in 2014 by Peter Njonjo and Grant Brooke, the Kenyan business-to-business food distribution company has raised over $60 million while disrupting the agritech space.

Fast Company says Twiga Foods was selected for professionalizing East Africa’s market economy, helping urban shopkeepers source produce from small-scale Kenyan farmers and building out a fintech product that offers vendors credit to build out their businesses.

Copia Global

The Kenyan-based eCommerce company was founded in 2012 by Jonathan Lewis and Tracy Turner. It has raised $48 million and was selected for allowing Kenya’s unbanked and unconnected to participate in eCommerce using a network of 5,000 community-based agents.

Tizeti

Founded by Kendall Ananyi and Ifeanyi Okonkwo, Tizeti is a Nigerian internet service provider and has raised $5.1 million. Known for providing public Wi-Fi hotspots in urban areas, Tizeti was selected for harnessing the power of the sun for an affordable 4G network.

MPost

Founded in 2016 by Abdulaziz Omar and Twahir Mohamed, the Kenyan-based startup provides a patented addressing solution turning mobile phones into formal postal addresses.

Having raised $2 million so far, it was selected for turning mobile numbers into Kenyan PO boxes.

Lumkani

A social enterprise, Lumkani seeks to address the challenge of fires in urban informal settlements and townships in South Africa.

Fast Company selected the South African company for bringing fire protection and insurance services to South African townships with its devices now in more than 40,000 homes.

mPedigree

Founded in 2007, mPedigree uses technology to determine the authenticity of products, especially counterfeit medicines. It was selected for using text messages to root out fake goods and also bringing traceability to seeds and other agricultural products within Africa.

Tage Kene-Okafor

Tage Kene-Okafor

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Endlessly amused by technology. @ulonnaya

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