Our 12 startups to watch in 2018 – how did we do?


Back at the start of the year, Disrupt Africa unveiled its 12 African startups to watch in 2018. How did we get on with our predictions?

Moroccan B2B trading platform WaystoCap

We said: “WaystoCap is set for West African expansion in 2018 – and we’ll be watching closely.”

What actually happened: Opened offices in Burkina Faso and Togo to add to its existing operations in Benin, and expanded its product offering.

Verdict: Hit

Moroccan e-commerce startup Vendo.ma

We said: “Vendo.ma is busy racing for monetisation having perfected its platform and onboarded plenty of customers.”

What actually happened: Steady growth and now making money.

Verdict: Hit

Egyptian home services marketplace FilKhedma

We said: “We think 2018 will be a big year as it sets out to expand its market presence on the back of recently secured funding.”

What actually happened: Contemplating expansion beyond its Cairo base on the back of a five-fold increase in volumes over the course of the year.

Verdict: Hit

Kenyan B2B commerce platform Sokowatch

We said: “We’re not the only people to notice Sokowatch – the startup was named one of three winners of the Innotribe Startup Challenge in May; made it onto the World Bank’s XL Africa accelerator in August; and secured investment in October.  What’s next?”

What actually happened: Closed a US$2 million seed round to further expand its customer base across East Africa while also piloting additional value-added services for shops.”

Verdict: Hit

Kenyan software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for mobile commerce Sky.Garden

We said: “The public response has been strong, with the startup charting 25 per cent month-on-month growth in order volumes.”

What actually happened: Raised US$1.2 million in January and spent the rest of the year building an office suite for retailers. Has seen 26 per cent month-on-month growth in both volume and value. Now raising Series A funding.

Verdict: Hit

Ugandan mobile commerce startup Intelworld

We said: “Uganda’s Intelworld has quietly been working away since 2014, but we feel 2018 will see this startup really take off.”

What actually happened: Appears to have closed.

Verdict: Miss

South African solar micro-leasing marketplace Sun Exchange

We said: “If ever a startup combined multiple cutting-edge techs into one impressive solution, it’s South Africa’s Sun Exchange.”

What actually happened: Has built a global community of over 14,000 members across 90 countries, and also recently introduced SUNEX, its own digital rewards token. Secured US$500,000 in seed funding to speed its growth.

Verdict: Hit

South African e-health startup hearX Group

We said: “hearX Group is a prime example of how technology is revolutionising access to healthcare, and the company’s work is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves.”

What actually happened: Launched two new products with international partners, and won multiple awards.

Verdict: Hit

Angolan food delivery platform Tupuca

We said: “Having fine-tuned its solution, the startup is looking to scale up to add grocery and pharmacy deliveries; and expand to new markets.”

What actually happened: “500,000 items sold, 147,000 deliveries completed, and over US$5 million in sales.”

Verdict: Hit

Ghanaian agri-tech startup Farmerline

We said: “The startup connects small-scale farmers to information services, products and resources to improve their incomes; and has over 200,000 farmers registered to date.”

What actually happened: Ticking along nicely. Got grant funding from Mastercard and was a Zambezi Prize finalist.

Verdict: Hit

Nigerian online ticketing startup PayPass

We said: “While it’s early days for PayPass, Disrupt Africa is impressed by the early progress and we have a good feeling about what’s in store for this team.”

What actually happened: All gone quiet.

Verdict: Miss

Nigerian agri-tech startup Releaf

We said: “With the platform now publicly available, Releaf hopes to onboard 20,000 businesses over the next 12 months.”

What actually happened: Profitable and growing.

Verdict: Hit

> Overall total <

10 Hits

2 Misses

Turns out we’re pretty good at this! Keep an eye out over the next few days for our 12 African tech startups to watch in 2019. A very happy new year to all.


About Author

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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