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Profiling seven African tech start-ups that are looking to go global

Tech start-ups from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa have arrived in London for a two-week crash course in how to take their business to the next level

African tech start-ups involved in healthcare, fintech and agritech are hoping to introduce their businesses to the global market following a partnership with the UK government.

Some 20 African companies were invited to London to partake in the first Go Global Africa programme - an innovation partnership that supports new businesses, increase their capability and improve links with the UK.

Over 400 companies applied for Go Global Africa, but only 20 made the shortlist for the programme.

They are:

  • Afya-Plan
  • Myfugo Innovations LTD
  • Cherehani Africa
  • FlexPay Technologies
  • CropCrowd
  • Elikham Systems Limited
  • Innovation Corner
  • Thrive Agric
  • eTrash2Cash
  • PiggyVest
  • HelpMum
  • Social Lender
  • Helium Health
  • Envisionit E-Escrow
  • GLU Global
  • MaxiCash
  • Nobuntu
  • Pineapple Tech
  • Technovera
  • Health Solutions Africa

Here we profile some of the African tech start-ups to receive the recognition.

Profiling seven of the Go Global Africa tech start-ups


Image result for pineapple south africa app
(Credit: Pineapple)

Insurtech app Pineapple allows users to take a picture of the item they want to insure to instantly get a quote.

The app can be used to get cover on a range of devices such as mobile phones, cameras, drones, jewellery and musical instruments in one click and claims to reduce the time it takes to get a quote down to a minute.

The South African tech start-up was founded by Matthew Elan Smith, Ndabenhle Junior Ngulube and Marnus van Heerden in 2016 and has been recognised by Entrepreneur Mag and the Southern Africa Startup Awards.


Thrive Agric

African tech startups
(Credit Thrive Agri)

Thrive Agric has a mission to make Africa more agriculturally sustainable.

The online network encourages more participation in farming by allowing people to invest in smallholdings and share the harvest they produce, while also providing farmers with data analytics to improve crop yields.

The co-operative model hopes to support the continent’s 500 million smallholder farmers and reduce Africa’s $110bn (£84bn) spend on food imports.

Over the past year and a half, the start-up has worked with over 11,000 farmers across Nigeria with the aim to reach one million farms across Africa over the next three years.


Elikham Systems Limited

African tech startups
Elikham CEO, Isaac Karani (Credit: YouTube)

Elikham Systems Limited offers water management technology to provide clean water for industrial and domestic use.

Its environmentally-friendly waste water treatment technology claims to be the most reliable in Kenya, using 95% less energy than other systems, and is capable of turning sewage water into water that is safe enough to drink.

Elikham CEO Karani Isaac told Construction Review Online: “Water scarcity is a challenge that is facing us all.

“The only way to ensure you have a glass of water to drink, do farming and clean the compound with quality water is through waste water management - having a facility that can give you water that is safe for reuse.”

The company has also expanded into plumbing and solar power.



African tech startups
(Credit: eTrash2Cash/Twitter)

Nigerian-based start-up eTrash2Cash joins the other companies on the Go Global programme.

The fintech company uses a mobile app, web and SMS messenger platform to give cash incentives in exchange for everyday waste.

The social enterprise ensures that waste products, such as plastic, paper, metals and glass, are properly processed, recycled and reused.

It also collects food waste to create organic compost for smallholder farmers in the region.


Helium Health

African tech start-ups
Helium Health interface (Credit: Helium Health)

Helium Health digitises patient records for hospitals in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The company was founded in 2015 by Adegoke Olubusi and Dimeji Sofowora, and claims to have 5,000 medical professionals sign up to the system.

The digital interface allows patient and staff information to be stored on any device and doesn’t require an internet connection to run.

Helium Health can also be used to provide real-time analytics and monitor wider trends across the hospital or medical services.



African tech start-ups
African cattle, such as the Zebu, can be more productive for farmers through the use of MyFugo (Credit: PxHere)

MyFugo provides data-driven insight to livestock farmers to improve the productivity and profitability of their farms.

Founded by Allan Tollo and Jackson Mwaniki, the Nairobi-based start-up tracks and automatically shares health data on the animals with vets, traces animals at risk of disease to prevent it spreading, tracks production rates for better breeding outcomes, and captures general farm data and analytics.

The digital platform also provides access to online marketplaces for farmers to advertise and sell their produce.



African tech start-ups
(Credit: PiggyVest)

Lagos-based start-up PiggyVest - formerly - is one of several fintech start-ups that made the Go Global shortlist.

It is the largest digital savings and investment platform in Nigeria and claims to help people save over 1bn Nigerian naira (£2m) every month.

The app allows users to set individual or group saving targets and schedule automatic payments into their savings account.


What will the African tech start-ups gain from being part of Go Global

As part of the Go Global initiative, the start-ups will receive pitching coaching, a public speaking masterclass, and advice on scaling from professional services firm PwC’s start-up team and the Natwest Fintech Accelerator.

The African companies will continue to be supported by the UK’s international tech hub network following the two-week programme.

UK digital minister Margot James said: “Africa is a vibrant and dynamic continent, with huge potential for growth, and the firms chosen for the first Go Global Africa programme see tech as a force for good in society.

“I’ve no doubt they have the talent to play a transformative role in their country’s growth while also building connections for UK start-ups in new markets and highlighting Britain as the place to develop new technology.”

The Go Global innovation programme previously brought together the UK and Israel and, in the four years since it was established, has helped launch 175 tech partnerships in deals worth £85m.