AFA@10 Cohort Founder Wins At AfricArena

By Winnie Kimathi and Sly Khumalo 

In the dynamic landscape of African entrepreneurship, innovative founders are reshaping lives at a pace that outstrips the imagination of societal stakeholders, including governments. This transformative wave, brimming with impact and wealth creation, requires a unique mindset, grit, and a touch of audacity to build businesses against all odds. The recently concluded Angel Fair Africa event (#AFA@10) echoed a resounding message from founders and investors alike: “Live in the beauty of our dreams and don’t dwell too much on the difficulties of the present.” As the Africa Investor Week which AFA@10 was a part of, winds down, we reflect on the outstanding accomplishments of startups in the AFA@10 cohort, celebrating their triumphs. 

In the realm of fintech, where one might assume the innovation train has left the station, founders are continually discovering new intersections for finance and technology through embedded fintech. Andrew Tesha of A-Trader is leading the charge by digitizing African capital markets, providing investment opportunities accessible via any mobile device, starting in his native Tanzania. Across the border, in Kenya, AbulAziz Omar of Save App is crafting Ukonga, a micro-savings platform designed to bolster users’ financial health by enabling passive savings. Meanwhile in  South Africa,  Nicky Swartz  of SpoonMoney is on a mission to support a hundred thousand (100,000) women with a credit and  saving solution, hence fueling a pathway to stability for women-led informal businesses. Fintech, as it turns out, extends beyond payments and cross-border remittances.

In logistics and construction tech, a seasoned two-time founder – Chisepo Chirwa is building Bosso – a construction company that uses technology to make construction and home building materials easily accessible and affordable. Shopping for building materials can be convenient and fun. Bosso, based in Zambia, won the AfricArena – Saint Gobain Challenge in 2022, and got awarded the best construction-tech startup in Africa that year. 

Chisepo receiving the  Saint Gobain Challenge award at  AfricArena in 2022

From Nigeria, DeliverAsap founded by Oyedayo Oyeniran is a logistics platform that is making it easier for African importers and exporters to compare freight rates and terms from shipping companies while insuring their consignments – a pain point for cross-border logistics. There’s still a few issues to solve in mobility tech, as Timo Rides goes beyond the functional benefits in ride sharing to addressing issues of safety, dynamic pricing and low driver payouts.

Education Tech emerges as a compelling sector. Akoo Audio Books founded by Ama Dadson in Ghana, is supporting underserved African authors’ content distribution. Simultaneously, it aids African children with limited access to books, the illiterate, and the visually impaired through audio books in various native languages. Another visionary Ghanaian founder – Cecil  Nutakor of E-Campus, uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to measure, analyze and predict your readiness for examinations and employment. In networking, BoxPlexus, based in SA, is a platform that connects African founders and investors to raise funds for their businesses. 

Other startups were in Wellness & health, Rivia which acquires and retains clients while ensuring consistent, reliable customer experiences within a branded wellness chain from Ghana. Manufacturing – Aqualeixo which provides clean refillable drinking water from SA and last but not the least,  Malvore Cocktails – a unique concept of premixed cocktails, also from SA 

A highlight of AFA@10 was, Andrew Tesha of A-Trader, won the Best Seed Startup Award at the  AfricArena Grand Summit 2023 the following week. The interesting thing is that Andrew wasn’t pre-scheduled to pitch at AfricArena, but he got in at the last minute prepared from AFA@10 and won the category! A true testament of the importance of showing up, taking chances and fighting on. 

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