54Gene, Piggyvest and 8 Other African Startups Make Fast Company’s List of Most Innovative Companies
Fast Company has released its annual prestigious list of world’s most innovative companies. This year, 434 companies from 34 countries around the world made it to the list.
Out of the 434 companies, 10 were selected from the African continent. Companies were selected based on the profound impact they have on both industry and culture, showcasing a variety of ways to thrive in today’s fast-changing world.
The companies listed include Nigeria’s Piggyvest, 54gene, Kobo360 and Tizeti. The other African companies are spread across Senegal, South Africa and Kenya. The 10 companies from Africa and why they were selected are unfolded in the paragraphs below.
Piggyvest is a Nigerian fintech company that has won the patronage of many Nigerians because of how it has helped them to save and invest easily. Through its app, it has made traditional banking services available to its clients, most of whom are millennials.
The four-year-old Nigerian savings platform helps people save by routinely deducting fixed amounts from their accounts at pre-determined periods. Every detail about the savings plan, from the duration and the amount to
moving the money into savings or investment accounts, is always set according to the user’s preferences.
The company has been rolling out new features. This includes offering users a dedicated bank account number to enable transactions as well as an option to invest in the U.S. dollar. These are the reasons why it made Fast Company’s list.
Kobo360 is a Nigerian logistics company that connects truck drivers with companies that need their services. This innovation is the reason why the company has been selected for the honorary inclusion into the list.
The company provides its services to businesses that need to move items within Nigeria and outside the country. Kobo360 pays drivers directly to their bank accounts, eliminating the need for cash transactions and ensuring all the paperwork is done online.
Tizeti is a Nigerian internet service provider that has been selected for its work in harnessing the power of the sun to provide affordable 4G network.
The startup provides public Wi-Fi hotspots in urban areas. It is rolling out high-speed network across the country using solar-powered towers. Tizeti is expanding its services from Nigeria to Ghana and other countries in West Africa.
54Gene is a biotech startup that offers genetic testing and molecular diagnostics services to Africans. The startup was selected because of its Africa-wide initiative to collect, analyze and sequence genomes of patients.
In so doing, 54Gene is creating a genetic biobank for the continent and has already gotten over tens of thousands of samples with 200,000 more expected by the end of the year.
#5 Twiga Foods
Twiga Foods is a Kenyan business-to-business food chain startup that provides Kenyan farmers and food manufacturers access to modern markets whose prices are fair and have good demand for their produce.
The startup was selected for bringing professionalism and structure to
East Africa’s market economy. Twiga has evolved from what it started with, now building a fintech product that gives vendors credit to build their businesses and developing its delivery capabilities.
Initially, only perishable goods like bananas were available on the Twiga network. Now though, the B2B startup is expanding to include more nonperishable goods as well.
#6 Copia Global
Copia Global is a Kenyan-based e-commerce company that allows people to order for items on its websites through its agents distributed across the country. The startup was selected because it developed a method of bringing e-commerce services to more of Kenya’s unbanked and unconnected population.
Its unique business model effectively combines online and offline experiences, and is focused on low-income and unbanked citizens living in rural areas.
This Kenyan-based startup uses technology to help identify fake goods therefore protecting people from harmful medicines. Its core product is a unique product identification marker that consumers use to determine whether or not a product is authentic.
The startup was selected for making it easy for people to verify items by simply checking the codes from their cellphones. This has made it easy to identify drugs, agricultural products and seeds to guarantee the health safety of consumers. Mpedigree has expanded its services to 12 countries in Africa.
Mpost is Kenyan-based and has developed a solution which allows people to turn their mobile numbers to virtual Post Office boxes.
Through its platform, Mpost allows notifications to be sent to clients whenever they get mail through their postal addresses. When subscribers receive mail at their chosen post office, the post office generates a unique QR-coded stamp and sends an SMS notification to them.
They can decide to pick up their mail or have it couriered to their location at an additional cost. This innovation is why MPost made the Fast Company’s list.
Tongoro is a Senegalese fashion label that has dressed international stars, most notably, Beyonce Knowles. The startup was chosen because of the work it does to empower local artisans through its fashion house in Senegal.
Through her enterprise, Founder of Tongoro, Sarah Diouf, trains African artisans and tailors to meet International Standards when producing local fabrics and patterns. The fashioned items are showcased to the world using the Tongoro label.
Lumkani is a South African startup that has made it easier for South Africans to access fire insurance with fast payouts. The company has also developed a fire detection device that monitors temperature rise instead of smoke. More than 40,000 homes currently use Lumkani’s fire detection devices in the country.
An increase in temperature beyond what is determined to be normal will trigger an alarm which can prevent a fire outbreak. This is more effective than using smoke detectors because the fire would have already started for there to be smoke.
The ten African companies were selected because they created solutions for identified needs in society.
If you’d like to get featured on our Entrepreneur Spotlight, click here to share your startup story with us.
Get latest Technology news, reviews, business-related content with a deliberate emphasis on the African narrative and insightful analysis in Nigeria – straight to your inbox.