At the African Private Capital Association’s annual conference held in Cairo in early May, a panel of venture capital investors in Africa were asked to each identify a company from their portfolios that excite them the most. Their responses were as follows:
1. Twiga: Streamlining supply chains
Maurizio Caio, founder and managing partner of TLcom Capital, singled out Kenya-based Twiga. This company, established in 2014, connects farmers and small shopkeepers via a mobile app. If a vendor runs out of a product, they can place an order through the Twiga app, and the company delivers within 24 hours, sourcing from its warehouse or directly from a smallholder farmer. Last year, Twiga also invested $10 million in its own farming operations via a new subsidiary, Twiga Fresh, to address challenges with quality control. Read more: Why B2B e-commerce platform Twiga ventured into farming
2. Touch and Pay: Digitising micro-transactions for the transport sector and beyond
Idris Bello, managing partner of LoftyInc Capital Management, expressed enthusiasm for Nigeria-based fintech startup Touch and Pay. The company offers a product called the Cowry card, which commuters use to pay for bus fares in Lagos and other states in Nigeria. Bello compared it to London’s Oyster card. Beyond transport, the money in customers’ Cowry wallet can also be used for fund transfers, airtime purchases, interstate travel payments, and merchant transactions.
3. Fuelin: Managing fuel consumption
Dina El Shenoufy, chief investment officer for Flat6Labs, pointed to Fuelin, an Egyptian startup offering a platform for logistics companies to monitor and manage their fleet’s fuel consumption. In the context of fluctuating oil prices and high inflation, fuel costs can account for 50-60% of these companies’ annual revenues, making efficient management crucial.
The platform employs optical character recognition (OCR) technology to transform fuel dispenser readings into digital text. It helps determine fuel needs based on the type of load and routes, and assists in locating the nearest gas stations, contributing to increased operational efficiency.
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