The year 2020 was a turbulent year for most of the startups in Kenya. With the onset of COVID, many startups had to rethink their business models in order to survive while others were sadly crashed.
But even then, 2020 still saw some startups posting exponential growth in revenue, securing more funding, establishing new partnerships and launching new products.
Founder360° shares with you 6 innovative Kenyan startups to watch out for in 2021.
Kwara is a platform that aims to digitize cooperative financial institutions by offering a Banking Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and credit scoring capabilities to SACCOs, and access to banks and ATMs for cooperative members.
In a country where 30% of savings takes place via SACCOs, or Savings and Credit Cooperatives that serve low-income, underbanked populations, operations are usually inefficiently manual with tight regulations coupled with lack of fraud prevention, Kwara online software system connects SACCOs to the formal financial system providing a safer, faster, and more diverse services to underserved populations.
Founded in 2018 by Cynthia Wandia, Kwara won the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator in Kenya and was selected in the recent cohort of the BFA Global Catalyst Fund securing US$100,000 grant.
Amitruck is an innovative mobile and web-based trucking logistics platform that brings together cargo owners and transporters.
Founded in 2018 by Mark Mwangi, AmiTruck matches cargo owners with trucking logistics professionals through a digital competitive bidding process bringing trust and transparency into the African logistics sector.
AmiTruck’s solution cuts out expensive middlemen whilst increasing security as all drivers and vehicles are vetted and goods in transit insured.
The startup raised funding from GreenTec Capital in early 2020 and was recently selected for the Google for Startups Accelerator and Africa Transformative Mobility Accelerator (ATMA) 2020/2021 cohort in September of the same year.
PesaKit – Kenya
PesaKit is an AI-powered digital assistant (chatbot) for mobile money agents that enables agents to know, manage, and control their float (cash).
Founded in 2018 by Andrew Mutua, the app platform enables agents to borrow float (money) enabling effective service to customers who want to deposit or withdraw money.
Through predictive analytics by forecasting their inventory needs for the next hour, day, week or month, the app assesses an agent’s creditworthiness and creates a score, where it previously didn’t exist enabling the agent to borrow float (money) when it is required or based on recommendations and insights.
In addition to winning the DFS Chatbot Challenge Africa in 2020, PesaKit was selected in the recent cohort of the BFA Global Catalyst Fund banking US$100,000 grant in the same year.
Savanna Circuit Tech
Savanna Circuit Tech is an AgriTech startup that develops a solar chilling in-transit system for dairy farmers.
Founded by Emmastella Gakuo and Percy Lemtukei in 2017, Savanna Circuit manufactures and distributes last-mile, non-refrigerant, solar-powered milk chillers that can be placed on any means of transportation, from motorbikes to trucks.
Their AI-enabled ICT solution allows milk aggregation, traceability, and quality control to prevent milk spoilage and maximizes profits for dairy producers.
The startup was awarded the grand prize of US$100,000 at the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2020.
Flare is a Kenyan HealthTech that offers software infrastructure and operational support for medical emergency response services.
Founded by Caitlin Dolkart and Maria Rabinovich in 2016, Flare’s innovative software coordinates emergency response vehicles onto a real-time digital map (like Uber) with real-time tracking of accurate location for effective response.
Its main product dubbed “Rescue”, which is currently available only in Nairobi allows subscribers to call a hotline during a medical emergency and instantly connected to a network of quality providers. The medical team is active 24 hours a day and ensures help within 15 minutes.
The startup was selected for Google for Startups Accelerator on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in early 2020 and later in the year, it was selected as one of the three winners of the US$250,000 Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) equity-free prize.
Flare was in the final shortlist for the AppsAfrica Innovation Awards 2020, which celebrates the best in mobile and tech from across Africa.
Founded in 2018 by Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti, MarketForce 360 enables consumer brands to optimize how they deliver essential goods and services to retailers and consumers by bridging the information gap in last-mile distribution.
Through its proprietary platform, MarketForce 360 aggregates data collected and presents it through live web dashboards, where manufacturers, distributors and financial service providers can easily and effectively monitor and analyze their distribution channels.
MarketForce 360 is currently enabling trade across 50,000+ retailers, and US$200 million in transactions have been processed through the platform to date.
In mid-2020, the startup secured US$350,000 in a Seed investment round and later in the same year, they were accepted into the Y Combinator accelerator programme receiving US$150,000 in seed funding.