Intership (Kampala, Uganda): Intership is solving a logistics problem for the growing middle-class in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the growing demand for high-end products such as electronics, fashion, and cosmetics, none of the major e-commerce retailers—including Amazon, eBay and Alibaba—will ship to this region due to the logistical challenge and small market size.
Intership solves this problem by buying the goods on behalf of locals across six African nations. They first deliver them to their hubs in US, Europe, or Asia, and then forward directly to customers via DHL (with whom they have a shipping deal).
ARED (Kigali, Rwanda): ARED’s Mobile Solar Kiosk provides a one-stop shop destination for mobile users in rural and semi-urban areas. The kiosks are integrated distribution channels of key services such as Wi-Fi, airtime, mobile money, intranet/Internet, charging stations, etc. Customers are typically those at the base of the pyramid who access content via smartphones. The kiosks are distributed to operators free and operators earn a commission on services sold at each kiosk.
The kiosks are aimed at women operators and those with disabilities who otherwise have limited opportunities to earn an income. ARED make money by charging content providers and selling the data analytics collected at each station. They currently generate $100 per kiosk per week.
SafeMotos (Kigali, Rwanda): Travelling by motorbike taxis (also called boda-bodas or motos) is hugely popular in sub-Saharan Africa. They are incredibly cheap and take you door to door, unlike buses, which may only be indirect. SafeMotos’ drivers are equipped with smartphones that record data on how safely they drive. This data, combined with customer reviews, helps users identify the safe drivers from the unsafe. Their Uber-like platform is also convenient for ordering your next ride. Users input the destination and suggest a price rather than trying to haggle with a driver they meet on the street.
BRCK (Nairobi, Kenya): BRCK is essentially a modem that is able to connect up to 20 devices at a time and seamlessly switch between Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and Ethernet connections automatically, depending on which signals are available. In moments of very low connectivity, BRCK uses the best available source to provide uninterrupted Internet usage. Even if there’s a power blackout, the device comes with a battery that provides up to eight hours of use. BRCK’s new product, Kio Kit, is a portable digital classroom that includes a Wi-Fi hotspot, a small server packed with educational content, and 40 tablets that can be charged wirelessly and work in the roughest conditions in rural schools.