African startups reaching the global stage

By Nicolas Waddell September 30, 2017
Africa startup development

For many on the outside looking in at tech hotspots like Silicon Valley, it can often feel like any startup not based in one of the many worldwide tech hubs won’t stand a chance at reaching a global audience. For companies starting up far off the beaten path for startups, it can be challenging, which is why it’s always interesting to follow the stories of startups who have a more original country or continent of origin than the usual suspects. Which is what inspired me to look at startups from Africa. 

Though there are a number of accelerators based in Africa aimed at supporting startup growth in the region, there is a general feeling amongst many entrepreneurs that Africa has yet to have its true breakthrough of growth. But there are many African startups looking to go further than just to the shores of the continent, working hard to reach a global audience. So here are some startups already doing exactly that. Without further ado, here are some of the most promising African startups looking to take on the world.


A startup based in Cape Town that specializes in event management. Founded in 2014 by Charlie Wright and Götz Thümecke, the platform provides everything you’ll need to host an event. Some of the services Eventerprise offers includes equipment rental, entertainment, and digital content.

Eventerprise has recently been recognized for its potential by winning a place on the ReadWriteLabs Alpha accelerator program in Silicon Valley. Speaking about the opportunities a place like Silicon Valley can offer, Götz said, ““The U.S. represents nearly 70 percent of the total global venture capital. Expanding into the U.S. market while admitted into a highly regarded acceleration program is a huge stepping stone to success, and will help us continue innovating.”

Eventerprise already operates in 46 countries, and with a place on the Labs’ Alpha program, that number could further raise in the future as Eventerprise look to crack the US market.

Kaaro Health

This Ugandan fintech startup focuses on supporting healthcare SMEs with medical and renewable energy equipment leases as well as telehealth solutions. Kaaro Health was born as a way to provide entrepreneurs with better medical care in rural areas of the country.

The combination of solar energy and medtech is an innovative solution to help provide healthcare to those in areas without electricity, or at least, not enough to constantly power machines. In addition to this, over 80% of all citizens live in rural areas, despite 75% of hospitals and healthcare facilities existing in the country’s urban regions.

Just last week, Kaaro Health won a place at the F-LANE program in Berlin. The accelerator program offers $13000 in micro-funding to the participating startups. Having already beaten out nearly two hundred other companies, Kaaro Health has the chance to showcase its talent on a worldwide stage.

Smir Design

Specialising in fine African-inspired rugs, this startup demonstrates you don’t have to be a technology-centric business to be successful. Founded by Sanmarie Vivier in 2014, the company aims to empower individuals to create aesthetically pleasing spaces in their homes that are comfortable and practical, but most importantly, aren’t overly priced.

With a wide variety of products, from synthetic rugs, runners, and even rug cleaning solutions, Smir Design encourages African heritage through stylish and unique designs. Most recently, the company has been commended with winning the Creative Business Cup 2017 in South Africa and has won a place in the grand finals, which will be held on the 15th – 16th of November in Copenhagen.

This program was designed to support creative startups with business development as well as international market access. Startups selected will also receive improved access to finance through initiatives in investor readiness.

As African startups continue to gain visibility globally, we can only expect to see more innovators gain support and snowball the momentum.