Top 5 startups to watch in 2015

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Trying to come up with the hottest startups to keep an eye on next year is a tough job, but we’ve made a stab at it below. Whether its new launches, expansion, or money to spend, these five startups could take the continent by storm in 2015.

1. Sterio.me

Formed in 2013 on AMPION precursor StartupBus Africa, Sterio.me seems to have been around for ages. However, the startup is only limbering up, plotting a mobile revolution in education and testing out its wares off the beaten track in the small southern African country Lesotho ahead of further anticipated launches in the next year.

Sterio.me engages learners outside the classroom via mobile to reinforce in-classroom learning. A “sterio” is a pre-recorded interactive lesson delivered via an SMS-triggered inbound voice call to the learner, which is accessible to learners even with feature or basic phones and does not require internet access.

2. Kiro’o Games

Cameroonian video game studio Kiro’o Games had a successful 2014 without even launching a product to market, raising US$141,800 in capital. The startup also completed its studio, and is now in the process of developing its first commercial game.

The total cost of the game – Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan – will be US$1million, approximately one quarter of the cost charged by United States (US) and Europe-based game studios. The company is optimistic its ability to create quality products at a lower cost will mean exciting times ahead in 2015.

3. Nerve Mobile

African mobile manufacturers are in vogue. In South Africa, there is Zest and Dream Mobile. Congo has VMK. But Nigeria’s Nerve Mobile, which recently made waves at the Demo Fall and Diaspora Demo Day events in the US, looks best placed to take Africa by storm.

The company has begun making sales and in October of last year earned a US$200,000 seed funding round, the type of money that has thus far eluded its competitors, but next year will be a big year in terms of pushing its products out to a wider market.

4. Obiwezy

Another Nigerian startup, Obiwezy, a recent graduate of the 440.ng accelerator programme in Lagos, aims to professionalise the used gadget market and create an online shopping brand that Nigerians can trust and rely on.

The startups is optimistic it can be the difference in a market where early players have created an environment of distrust of e-commerce by providing sub-par services to consumers.

Obiwezy has been gaining traction, seeing revenues of US$50,000 per month, and can anticipate a big 2015 once it actually begins marketing efforts.

5. mPedigree

Ghana’s mPedigree, the company behind a pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting solution, launched in 2007, but it seems the best is yet to come. Having already expanded to Nigeria and Kenya, mPedigree is now eyeing launches in Egypt, Zambia, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Rwanda.

mPedigree’s anti-counterfeiting solution is a cloud-based system that creates unique 12 digit numbers which are put on single packs of medicines hidden under an opaque layer, only to be revealed when the consumer is buying the product. A customer can then send these PINs by SMS to a special shortcode, and within 15 seconds receive a reply confirming if the product is original or fake.

The real key to success in 2015 for the company will be whether or not it can smoothly expand its product offering into sectors other than pharmaceuticals, where margins have typically been relatively low.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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