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DEMO Africa announces shortlist of 40 tech startups

In less than a month the first DEMO Africa tech startups event will take place in Nairobi, Kenya. In preparation for the event, the organisers have released a shortlist of 40 startups from different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to launch at DEMO Africa next month.

“This has been a very enriching exercise seeing the kind of quality innovation coming out of Africa,” said Harry Hare, the DEMO Africa Executive producer, commenting about the selection process.

According to DEMO Africa, a total of 500 applications were processed in lead to this event. Out of these 150 were shortlisted and then again another shortlisting process produced the 40 startups. Of the 40 startups, 14 are from Kenya, 11 from South Africa, 4 from Ghana, 3 from Nigeria, 2 Senegal, 2 Tanzania and Cameroon, Egypt, Uganda and Zimbabwe contributing 1 each.

Here’s the list of 40:

Name of Startup



eLimu Nivi Mukherjee Kenya
iPay Philip Nyamwaya Kenya
Kuza Mobile Pieter Nel South Africa
Sasa Africa Ella Peinovich Kenya
mKazi Nancy Wang Kenya
Mprep Kenya Kosgei Isaac Kenya
Evly Eric Edelstein South Africa
Gigham George Gally South Africa
KKYB Productions Kekeli Buckner Ghana
TaxTIm Evan Robinson South Africa
Maliyo Games Hugo Obi Nigeria
My Order Hilda Moraa Kenya
ProWork Francis Onwumere Nigeria
Firestring Alison Jacobson South Africa
Hewani Retail Thuo Herbert Kenya
Kuzima Michael Ocansey Ghana
mPawa Maxwell Donkor Ghana
MTI Support App Sean Venter South Africa
Mverified Patrick Innovator Kenya
MobiFlock Vanessa Clark South Africa
OzinboPay Sam Paapa Opoku Ghana Ndjientcheu Ngandjui Patrick Cameroon
mTracker Mwema Jacob Kenya
Qabila Media Productions Perihan Abou-Zeid Egypt
CrowdPesa Christian KAKOBA Kenya
Eskimi Vytautas Paukštys Nigeria
ExpenZa Wim Morris South Africa
Lipisha Martin Kasomo Kenya
Meka Mugume Collins Uganda
SkillPod Media Mark van Diggelen South Africa
People Input Serigne Barro Senegal
Framework One Stephan Pienaar South Africa
Kivuko Amiri Mziray Tanzania
Mlouma Aboubacar Sidy Sonko Senegal
MPayer Stella Njoki Kenya
Kytabu Tonee Ndungu Kenya
Rasello Natalino Mwenda Tanzania
Balefyre  Earl Joseph South Africa
dash2go Samuel Wanjohi Kenya
VirtualBank Tawanda Kembo Zimbabwe


You can view the full details of the startups on the comprehensive list on the DEMO Africa site here.

DEMO Africa is part of the “Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA) Partnership, an alliance which, according to their website, has been created to “enhance and deepen the startup and innovation ecosystems of targeted fast- growing African economies.” LIONS@FRICA is spearheaded by the US State Department and supported by Microsoft, DEMO, USAID, and Startup Weekend.


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24 thoughts on “DEMO Africa announces shortlist of 40 tech startups

  1. Have these guys really considered why some of the people they are targetting are unbanked? Quite Simple is that they don’t have the money to be putting into the banks. Even a good percentage of those with bank accounts just use them to get their salaries and withdraw all the money. And expecting those people without bank accounts to be doing transactions online? Hameno. Good idea though but is is practical and will it succeed?

    1. So what this guy is trying to do is open an online bank in Zimbabwe for people who don’t have bank accounts. Which probably means they don’t have money or a stable source of income, which probably means they don’t use the internet and the bank will allow them to do transactions online. Am I missing something here

      1. The owners of Ecocash, Textacash, Cellcard and E-mali must be shaking in their boots with fright right now

        1. @disqus_w6PwiI2B72:disqus not really. You see, this product actually promotes the use mobile money because we make it possible for the unbanked to use the money in their mobile money wallets to make online payments and we make possible to remit money to the unbanked (and the banked as well) by delivering it straight to their mobile money wallets.

          1. @tkembo:disqus Dude was being sacastic. Your idea of a virtual is jus as similar to Ecocash, cellcard, and e-mali. These things are under utilised by the masses. As such your product is just going to join them in this group. You should take heed of dread’s advice, most people cannot afford to bank. In the current setup of high unemployment, I do not see you get surpassing the current service providers. Ecocash might have a largest base of subscribers, but it not number of registered users that makes the money. It boils down to the number of transactions. How many of those registered users do use the system on a regular basis? How much do they make per registered client? Your choice of project might make a very nice presentation point, but on the ground its not going to go anywhere. Otherwise good luck, its good that you bring another prize to our lovely country

      2. @disqus_75rpSx5AR3:disqus we are not trying to open bank accounts for the unbanked. We have noticed that only 30% of ZImbabweans have bank accounts. Most of these bank account holders only use their accounts collect salaries & other transitory deposits. But we also know that Zim has an 89% mobile penetration rate. We know that most of these mobile phone owners are already using mobile money. We have seen how Ecocash, the one with the lions share of the mobile money market, is adding 2K subscribers every month – It was very easy for us to predict that the future of transactions in Zim & in Africa will be with mobile devices. So what we have done is to make it possible for mobile phone owners to use their phones to make online payments and to receive remittances directly. The emperor has no clothes IMHO.

        1. Just to add that with 30% of the population having bank accounts, financial institutions in Zimbabwe are doing exceptionally well when compared to Africa. We have billion Africans and only 50 million bank account holders – that’s a 95% unbanked population. Our ambition is to be the leading Payment Service Provider and MTA in Africa

    2. @disqus_75rpSx5AR3:disqus, your first is how we shall help those who don’t have money at all and the second one is whether our idea will succeed. For the former, those are not the people we are trying to help. The people we are trying to help are those who want to make online payments but don’t have have to the capacity to do so. Another way of looking at it is that we make it possible for merchants to collect payments from people without credit cards.
      For the later, We know that our ambition is bold but we have no doubt it can be done. In fact, we have no doubt that it will not only work in Zimbabwe but can be scaled across Africa

    3. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

      It is certainly not easy but sounds like a good idea. It will be up to their hard work and lots of patience to have it taken up by the numbers.

      Two hills to climb being:
      1) overcoming spending & saving culture (outside traditional banking/payment methods)
      2) giving a good incentive or reason for people to use the service

      Thats from my Zim knowledge. Since they intend to scale, breaking cultural barriers and gaining uptake may be less challenging for other countries like Kenya.

  2. A good luck message to you @tkembo:disqus! Much love for representing. Don’t listen to the naysayers, you might be on to something…just prove it to everyone.

  3. A lot of successful enterprises where born out of ideas that the less innovative derided as “your idea will not work”.

    Go for it Kembo, don’t waste time entertaining nay sayers like dread who try to look for everything negative in an otherwise brilliant idea. Whoever said business is easy??

    1. Criticism helps them. As long as it is constructive. The issues raised by dread are valid issues to reflect on and that they should consider when thinking of business risks and how to mitigate them. Blind cheer leading is just as bad as non-constructive criticism.

      And being finalists, they should be prepared for all sorts of questions as these are likely to be asked by whoever will be judging their idea.

      1. I’m totally in agreement with constructive criticism but from what i understand, the basic tenets of constructive criticism are that, the one criticizing notes the potential pitfalls of the one being criticized’s idea and having highlighted those, provide potential solutions or a different approaches to the criticized’s ideas. In that way you are constructing a person not bringing him down, but if one just mentions the negative aspects of an idea, that does not qualify as constructive criticism but rather criticism period. These guys are representing Zimbabwe, so its in our best interests that instead of just criticizing we rally them on if we do not have anything constructive to say, rather than being negative.

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