The Rwandan startup ecosystem has been described as a young and promising space providing a fertile ground for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive.
The recent surge in innovation and startup activity in the small, landlocked and mountainous country can be attributed to the strong efforts by the government to create a business-friendly environment including infrastructure in high-tech sectors, such as ICTs.
With over 5 startup hubs based in Kigali, several co-working spaces and numerous service providers focused on entrepreneurship and innovation, more startups are being born in Rwanda with the aim of providing solutions.
Founder360° takes a look at 5 rising startups from Rwanda worth knowing.
Bag Innovation is an EdTech and talent sourcing platform that combines AI and gamification to simulate virtual internships and bridge the gap between the academic and business sectors in Rwanda.
Founded in 2017 by Gabriel Ekman and Yussouf Ntwali, the BAG (Building a Generation) platform serves as a learning tool for students while providing companies in need of talent with affordable insights, growth support and data collection.
According to the company, the platform has reached over 8,000 students and graduates in Rwanda. In 2019, the startup raised US$150,000 for expansion in Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Uganda.
GET IT is a food and grocery delivery startup that procures groceries and food from farmers and delivers them to hotel, restaurants and frontier markets. The company sources products directly from farmers, cutting out several middlemen who add little value, providing higher quality products at a lower cost.
The startup which was founded by Lauren Russell Nkuranga uses its off-grid cold storage facilities while providing logistics services in the distribution of food-safe fruits, vegetables, and frozen food.
GET IT has over 70 employees, and has raised over US$1.5 million in seed-stage capital.
FreshBox an AgriTech startup that provides portable, off-grid cold chain solutions to reduce post-harvest food loss, extending the shelf life of vegetables and fruits.
The startup which was founded in 2018 by Ganza Justus and Abhinav Gautam provides affordable cold rooms for storage and cold trucks to farmers for transporting the fresh produce.
For a country that has ⅔ of the population is directly and indirectly involved in agriculture, FreshBox aims to reduce post-harvest food loss by renting out these facilities to farmers in Rwanda without any high upfront costs.
Exuus is a FinTech startup that aims to leverage the power of informal collective saving schemes through a digital and decentralized collective wallet for saving groups.
Founded in 2014 by Shema Steve, Exuus has developed two products, SAVE, a digital platform that financially empowers savings groups sustainably through a comprehensive, adequate, open and user-friendly saving groups ledger handling; and Cartix, a decentralised credit scoring algorithm for both saving groups and individual.
In 2018, Exuus received US$50,000 investment from Samurai Incubate Africa and thereafter won Seedstars Kigali pitching event in 2019. And just like A-Trader. Exuus was recently accepted into the CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa 2019.
Benefactors is a FinTech startup that provides tailored working capital solutions to firms. This includes offering businesses cash advances based on their invoices from reliable buyers.
47% of Rwandan SMEs can’t access to cash flow services, making it the least-accessed type of financial services, and the startup which was founded in 2017 by Olivia Zank supports SME’s in stabilizing their cash flows while exploring growth opportunities.
The startup works with pending invoices or purchase orders for delivery enabling businesses to continue working when payments delay. BeneFactors can provide up to 70 per cent of the invoice value within 24 hours of signing an agreement.
In 2018, Benefactors secured US$150,000 in pre-seed funding to help it scale its operations after reaching break-even point in June and was crowned the winner of the Rwandan leg of the Seedstars World