African Unicorns: Billion-Dollar Tech Startups are Revolutionising the Continent
African tech startups are moving at a fast pace with several billion-dollar tech companies emerging in the continent in recent years. These startups have earned the prize of being lauded as a “unicorn” which is a business valued at $1 billion or more.
Through innovations and technology, they have been able to solve some of the continent’s most pressing challenges and are attracting investors from around the world, which have put Africa on the global tech map.
Let’s look at some of these startups who are thriving and have made their mark on the world, redefining the success story of Africa and also contributing to the continent’s economic development.
Chipper Cash is a fast-rising African fintech startup that facilitates cross-border payment across africa. The financial technology company builds software that enables free and instant cross-border payments which can be complex and costly in Africa.
The company was founded in 2011 by Ugandan Ham Serujogi and Ghanaian Majid Moujaled in San Francisco to allow users send and receive money across different African countries for free, thus simplifying cross borders payments.
The company has also expanded to serve over ten African countries, including Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria, with plans to further expand in the coming years.
Fawry is a leading tech startup in Africa that has managed to revolutionise Africa through its wide range of digital payment solutions, including online and mobile payments, bill payments, and e-commerce services.
The company was founded in 2008 and launched in December 2009 by Egyptian Ashraf Sabry to ease payments solutions which was initially filled with complex payments procedures for individuals and business owners.
Fawry has successfully raised over a billion dollars in funding from local and international investors. With its user-friendly platform and innovative products, the company has become a game-changer in the African tech world.
OPay is a company that provides a range of digital financial services to millions of users across Nigeria and other African countries, including mobile payments, food delivery, and lending to make financial services more accessible and affordable in Africa.
The company was founded by Yahul Zhou, a Chinese billionaire entrepreneur in 2018.
The bank based in Nigeria also offers personal accounts including a debit card, with all transactions being managed from an Android or IPhone application.
Flutterwave is a leading fintech company that provides payment infrastructure to individuals and businesses that enables seamless and secured transactions across Africa.
The company which was founded by Nigerian entrepreneurs, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Olugbenga Agboola and Adeleke Adekoya in 2016, is headquartered in San Francisco, California with operations in over ten countries in Africa. This includes Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.
Flutterwave acquired Disha in 2021, a platform that helps creators make a living by offering them simple tools to create content. The company’s innovative solutions are helping to drive the growth of digital commerce and financial inclusion in Africa.
Interswitch is a Nigerian-based African financial services and payments company built to integrate digital payments and ease payments across the continents.
Interswitch has a wide range of products and services, including payment processing, card issuance, and e-commerce solutions. It was founded by Mitchell Elegbe in 2002 and headquartered in Lagos mainly to provide infrastructure that can digitize Nigeria’s predominant cash-based economy.
Wave is a mobile money platform that has grown to be a unicorn in Africa tech startup. The company provides financial services to individuals and small businesses in East Africa. It allows low fees on deposits, accounts, bills payments and withdrawals for users who want to send money.
The US and senegal-based company was founded in 2018 by Drew Durbin and Lincoln Quirk, the founders of remmittance, and SendWave. SendWave is a company that allows users to instantly send money from North America and Europe across numerous countries in Africa and Asia safely.
The company has received funding from leading investors which has made it achieve a unicorn status with a valuation of over $1 billion. Wave is helping to drive financial inclusion in Africa by providing accessible and affordable financial services to millions of people.
Andela is also one of the leading African tech companies that has grown into a billion-dollar startup in Africa. Andela is a global talent network that has built a network of over 1,000 software engineers in Africa with its operations across 5 continents.
The company was founded by four professionals in the online education and recruitment business, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jeremy Johnon, Ian Carnevale and Christiana Sass in 2014. It was initially launched as a training company to match developers in the emerging ,arkets, but it is now currently known as a technology hub.
Esusu is a fintech startup that has rapidly grown into a billion-dollar company in Africa. The platform allows users to build credit scores, access loans, while helping property owners increase revenue.
The company was founded in 2018 by Indian Samir Goel and Nigerian Abbey Wemimo as the co-founders and co-CEOs of the company. Thestartup was named to the Forbes Fintech 50 list in 2021.
The company’s innovative approach has attracted funding from leading investors, which has positioned Esusu as a key player in the African fintech industry.
GO1 is a leading African edtech startup that has achieved a billion-dollar valuation. The company provides a learning management system that offers online training courses to businesses and individuals across Africa.
G01 was founded by South African, Melvyn Lubega, and Australian, Andrew Barnes in 2015.The workplace training platform has over 100,000 courses into one subscription, and offers its services to private organizations as well as governments around the world.
This Nigerian fintech startup has become one of the few African startups to achieve unicorn status, offering a platform that helps people manage their finances more efficiently. It provides digital savings and investment services to its users, helping them to achieve their financial goals.
PiggyVest was founded by Nigerian entrepreneurs. Odunayo Eweniyi, Somto Ifezue and Joshua Chibueze in 2013.
The company, which has over 3 million users, offers its services through an automated system that saves small amounts of money at intervals, which only allows people to access their savings on specified dates, thus forcing its users to effectively save money.
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