Seedstars World is a global startup competition where new opportunities that are expected to disrupt the economy are showcased. The competition is currently in its final stage where about 36 startups have come together in Geneva, Switzerland, to battle for the best promising solution prize of 500,000 Dollars.
Taking place starting today, February 4 to February 6, 2015, the Seedstars World Final event will see the African continent represented by startups from eight countries that include Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Morocco.
These startups were selected from a pool of more than 1,500 startups from emerging markets across Eastern and Central Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America, with only one of the selected 36 expected to win.
From Kenya is a startup dubbed OkHi that is seeking to solve the problem where most people in the country do not have a physical address to associate themselves with, especially with ecommerce and online platforms that require a physical address.
According to reports, at least four billion people around the world do not have a physical address to their names and that is the problem that OkHi, a smartphone app, is seeking to solve for the Kenyan market and the other markets as well.
Through the solution, every smartphone user will get an OkHi address that will serve as a GPS point, will feature a photo of the user’s home gate and other small detail features that will help people reach you wherever you are.
The OkHi address can be shared to friends and family coming to visit or on eCommerce platforms, to aid in providing more effective and easier ways of delivering goods purchased, and with online shopping sites growing in popularity across the country, OkHi may have hit the jackpot on this one.
Other competing startups include Rwanda’s TorQue Workspace, a cloud-centric software solution that is made specifically to meet the needs of wholesale distributors in the country and Africa as a whole, Uganda’s Remit, a platform that allows people to transfer money from wherever they are to mobile wallets in Africa.
Then there is the zero pollution waste to energy company, dubbed Green Energy, from Nigeria that is aimed at providing cost effective gasoline and electrical energy from municipal waste, Senegal’s Somtou startup that deals with providing solar-powered tablet-like devices to aid small businesses in managing transactions.
From Morocco is a startup dubbed myVLE, a SaaS e-learning platform that is designed to supplement the traditional teaching in classrooms by allowing for flexibility and use with requiring any technical skills.
Representing South Africa is Lumkani, a low cost fire detective device built for slums to help solve the problem of fire breakouts by alarming the family where the fire is starting. If not successful in itself, the device triggers the neighbouring devices up to 100 metres in distance to facilitate for effective response.
And lastly, but not the least is Ghanaian startup Beam that uses Bitcoin technology to allow Africans in the diaspora to remit money in a more cost effective way and instantly, as the money is sent directly to the mobile money accounts of recipients.
Africa as a startups scene is growing at a very fast rate, and investors are using every opportunity to get to be part of the rising ideas that are deemed to become big businesses in the years to come, improving the economy along the way.
In this light, we only hope that one of the eight will be picked as the winner in the competition that will see 36 participants from around the world, giving Africa a reason to celebrate in their innovations.