They say Africa missed the industrial revolution but it won’t miss the technology boom. Here are young Kenyans making waves in the tech world according to Africa’s leading media social enterprise, Enterprise54.
1. Kariuki Gathitu
Gathitu saw the difficulties that Kenyans experienced when it comes to mobile payments and this led to the birth of MPAYER – a mobile money management system. MPAYER recently won second position among 50 top start-ups in a global competition, Dragons Den, held in South Africa and it was also the best application in Africa. MPAYER is having great impact in the SME space in Kenya, allowing young businesses to build strong scalable businesses.
2. Catherine Mahugu
Mahugu is a computer scientist and the founder of Soko, an online platform based in Kenya and San Fransisco, US for shoppers to discover handcrafted accessories from all over the world and buy them directly from designers and artisans. Mahugu, who is an International Telecom Union Young Innovators fellow has been featured on Forbes 30 most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa.
3. Mubarak Muyika
Mubarak, 22, is a computer programmer and Kenya’s own Mark Zukerberg according to Forbes magazine. He was orphaned at age 10 but that didn’t deter him from achieving greatness as he founded Hypecentury Technologies – a web hosting company which he sold to Wemps Telecoms. In 2012, Mubarak’s passion for entrepreneurship saw him turn down a fully paid scholarship to the prestigious Harvard University to follow the unbeaten path of setting up a computer business.
4. Kelvin Macharia
Kuria Kuria is another under 30 CEO whose entrepreneurial spirit was awakened by an experience of a close relative. The hijacking of a family member’s car led to the founding of Sunrise Tracking, a vehicle security tech firm that offers GPS tracking through an automated fleet management system, CCTV and ability to turn engines off remotely via SMS.
5. Jamila Abass
A Kenyan computer science founded M-Farm alongside Susan Oguya in 2010 to bridge the gap on real time market information regarding price of farm produce and also help low-volume Kenyan farmers sell their products to potential buyers, all through SMS. M-Farm seeks to provide up-to-date market prices via an app or SMS, directly to farmers. It also connects farmers with buyers directly, cutting out the middlemen.
6. Asha Mweru
Asha was in her fourth year at university when she launched Chochote. Chochote (Swahili word for ‘anything’) is an e-commerce platform she started with her classmates Ivy Wairimu and Victor Karanja, which was as a simple classroom assignment. The Strathmore University students sought to connect buyers and sellers on a platform based on excellent customer service, discounted prices and home delivery. The team intends to increase its suppliers, expand to reach consumers across the region and establishing a Chochote mobile application.
7. Richard Turere
Challenges usually preceed innovation and Turere’s case was no exception. His family had a cattle herd located in Kitengela on the unfenced south side of Nairobi National Park which was frequently attacked by lions. Turere then sought a solution within himself that would ensure that his family’s herd of cattle was safe while also preserving wildlife; hence, the invention of the ‘Lion Lights’. The Lion Lights are flashing lights set up around a perimeter facing outwards; which are used to scare away lions.
8. Evans Wadongo
Wadongo is the chairman of Sustainable Development For All organisation in Kenya. In a bid to bring succour to the people of Kenya in the midst of the country’s power problems, the 26-year-old Kenyan Engineer designed a solar-powered LED lantern – MwangaBora (Swahili for “Good Light”). Due to its affordability, his invention is fast replacing the smoky kerosene lamps and firelight in rural Kenya.
9. Teresa Mbagaya
Mbagaya, 28, previously worked at Google on its education team and partnered with the Emerging Markets Outreach team to provide free open source education materials to emerging markets. In 2013, she joined Econet Wireless as the youngest executive to found and lead Econet Education. At Econet she launched three education services in Zimbabwe with further aims for international expansion.
10. Chris Gathingu
Gathingu is an early starter, a curious individual, analytical to the core, the very definition of an entrepreneur and a doer. He is the CEO and founder of Tangazoletu Ltd – an ICT and mobile firm that uses technology to create solutions to business process challenges to promote efficiency.