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Five game changing startups in Kenya

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Africa has gained reputation as having the largest number of startups. In Kenya, startups are booming fast in all sectors and industries. The government’s intent on encouraging this trend has been boosted by the improvement of access to funding for small and medium enterprises by financial institutions. I will take you through some of the most promising startups and bring you the most innovative business ideas already rocking Kenya and promising to take Africa, and the world by storm

Startups are fast becoming a great avenue for the majority of the youth in Kenya to find market experience and get job opportunities.

We dive into the fast growing business industry to bring you some of the most promising startups in Kenya. Here in no particular order is a list of five of the most exciting young companies along with a brief description to prove that Startups are quickly and innovatively driving Kenya’s economy upwards! This list includes startups that are most promising and not necessarily most hyped.

BRCK

We live in days where IT enabled services are already making the center of most organizational and personal operations. Though in Africa there are times when you have to step out of the signal range where sending that one all important emergency email can be tedious. BRCK is a black box that functions as a self-powered, mobile WiFi device that has quickly earned a reputation as the backup generator for the internet to solve these connectivity quandaries.

Source: BRCK blog
Source: BRCK blog

The device is backed with an ability to seamlessly switch between multiple networks. Equipped with a battery that keeps the juice for a good eight hours, no amount of power outages in a day will interrupt your regular dose of online video streaming. For the adventurous travelers, you will experience no trepidation as you set out for a vacation in a remote area.

The BRCK is a neat business concept because its practical viability earned the startup $1.2 million seed funding in less than a year of its existence while managing to raise $172,000 in a kickstater campaign in 2013. Talk about durable practical ideas.

Zatiti

As the world becomes more and more internet and web based, businesses are faced with a challenge of maintaining a sleek and working online presence. Zatiti, a Kenyan web-based platform, allows businesses to create and maintain a strong, personalized online presence. While it requires great skill to create and maintain a decent website, Zatiti exists to lift the twinge related with owning a website and ease the burden of heavy coding. They help design a customized theme for business e-commerce platforms through their own e-commerce website.

Zatiti
Zatiti

Zatiti makes it to this list because of its sustainable business model. This innovative business has deployed several methods to ensure its survival including: a 2 percent charge on transaction fee, a monthly subscription fee, sale of premium templates and sale of increased storage space for ready subscribers.

Kytabu

Kytabu, a textbook subscription service that provides learning content from digital textbooks to Kenyan students. The service makes the delivery of textbook materials easy and available while bringing down the cost of obtaining content. With the introduction of such a neat concept, learning is made as interactive as possible. They have over 100 books condensed in a 1GB file delivered either via an app on android through low-cost tablets (Sh7,000) attached with an internet dongle or on a microSD.

WATCH: USIU student encouraging reading culture through ‘read aloud’ events

If you are that legal martinet already thinking about the copyright infringements involved, worry not as the content of the app is encrypted. The owner of a tablet cannot share content with another device.

Kaa Radaa App

Inspired by the recent Garissa attacks, Kaa Radaa is the most practical community policing tool ever developed. This timely app comes in the wake of increased terror attacks and alarming rates of crime in the country. This is the ‘lightsaber’ (or futuristic lethal but elegant weapon, star wars… any one? Ok) of a digital police force to help everyone keep tabs on crimes and counter or alert the police, where possible. The app provides access to various police hotlines so you can report crimes to the relevant closest authority.  The app heavily relies on a detailed reporting mechanism created through crowd sourcing hence making everyone a citizen police.

Angani

While cloud computing is the back bone of most processes in the first world, it is just gaining traction in much of Africa. Angani is providing a local affordable cloud computing service to businesses that spend a substantial amount on data storage. They provide plans that a business can choose and pay per user making their services affordable. This business model suits the convenience of the Kenyan market as it provides a range of ways to pay for services delivered including through mobile money transfer services such as M-pesa and Airtel Money.

And there you have it, five most promising startups in the country!

That being said, I believe there are top notch startups being formulated as we speak. I mean, probably an army of Jedi is already seated in a room somewhere planning to release the next big thing. However, these are some of the most elaborate startups on the scene that are not on this list. So since we don’t have a laundry list option at our disposal why don’t you tell us which startups you think deserve to make it on this list?

By Charles Okinyo

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