According to the World Economic Forum, “no part of the planet is urbanizing faster than sub-Saharan Africa. The continent’s population of roughly 1.1 billion is expected to double by 2050.” Other factors such as improved power supply and high-speed internet, more early-stage investment funding, and increase in smartphone use have created a fertile environment for Africa’s emerging AI industry.
Leading countries include Kenya and Ethiopia in the East, Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa, South Africa in the South, and Egypt in the North.
Synced has identified eight exciting startups bringing AI to Africa’s education, finance, and health revolutions.
The Egyptian startup Affectiva was launched in 2009 by Rana El Kaliouby, a pioneer in Emotion AI and former MIT research scientist. Affectiva’s “emotion recognition products” draw on the company’s extensive database to detect moods and make decisions based on facial expressions. More than 1,400 healthcare, automotive and gaming brands use its AI emotion technology. In 2016 the startup raised US$14 million in investment to attain US$34 million in venture capital, and in 2017 was cited in Forbes’ 10 Hottest Artificial Intelligence Technologies list.
DataProphet is a South Africa-based startup founded in 2013 by Daniel Schwartzkopff, a graduate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town, and scenario planner Frans Cronje. It applies AI services to finance and insurance, with specialization in predictive analytics and advanced machine learning algorithms. The company has secured investment from YellowWoods Capital and has a sales office in San Francisco.
Kudi is a Nigerian fintech startup founded in 2017 that provides access to electronic banking and financial services by leveraging conversational interfaces, NLP, and AI technologies. Users can transfer money, track account details, and pay bills using its chat interfaces on Facebook, Telegram, Slack, etc. Kudi is also piloting business-to-business solutions with banks and telecommunication companies across Nigeria, with plans for expansion across Africa.
This Nigerian Educational startup matches qualified tutors with students according to area and budget. Tuteria tutors must maintain a user good rating to win more clients and compensation, and falling below a specified minimum level leads to teaching disqualification. Founder Godwin Benson is a Systems Engineering graduate from the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
The Ugandan fintech startup was launched in 2015 and offers tech solutions to microfinance institutions. Its platform helps digitize business procedures, credit information sharing, and many other services using mobile devices or biometric SaaS (software-as-a-service). Awamo has secured investments from the German Investment and Development Corporation, and plans to expand its networks across East Africa.
Aerobotics is a South African startup based in Cape Town, launched in 2014 by Benji Meltzer and James Paterson. The company uses machine learning to analyze maps and extract actionable information for crops such as wheat, citrus, and sugar cane. Its farming consultation services are used in South Africa, Australia, and the UK. Aerobotics participated in Startupbootcamp InsurTech’s accelerator programme in London.
This South African startup creates AI-powered virtual advisors to drive sales and perform technical consultations. Clevva’s platform enables companies to monitor and manage the virtual advisers they use to advise staff and/or customers. The startup’s innovations attracted attention in the Microsoft BizSpark Program and at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo Africa 2015.
FinChatBot was launched in June 2016 by Far Ventures. The company builts chatbots for client websites. It also monitors industry trends to increase sales conversion rates, predict customer needs and suggest business solutions. FinChatBox is based in Cape Town, South Africa.
Contributing Analyst: Jacob Oloketuyi | Editor: Meghan Han、Michael Sarazen