10 top young Kenyan entrepreneurs in technology

KARIUKI GATHITU Founder of MPAYER, Kariuki 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 startups in a global competition; Dragons Den, held in South Africa and it was

KARIUKI GATHITU
Kariuki-Gaithu14

Kariuki Gathitu – Founder, MPAYER

Founder of MPAYER, Kariuki 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 startups 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.

Kariuki is also involved in youth advocacy and is also a public speaker on the subject of entrepreneurship. He has worked with the African union, the World Bank and governments in this capacity.

CATHERINE MAHUGU
Catherine-mahugu

Catherine Mahugu – Founder, Soko

27-year-old Catherine is a Computer Scientist and the founder of Soko – an online destination platform based in Kenya and San Fransisco, USA for shoppers to discover handcrafted accessories from all over the world and purchase them directly from the designers and artisans.

 

In 2013, the company raised $700,000 from a Dubai-based investment firm and have also garnered over $600,000 in artisan revenue to date with the jewelry being sold by major retailers like Nordstrom, Anthropologie and One Kings Lane.

Catherine who is an International Telecom Union (ITU) Young Innovators fellow was also featured on BBC News and Forbes 30 most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa.

MUBARAK MUYIKA
mubarak-anzishaprize.org2_

Mubarak Muyika – Founder, Zagace Limited

Mubarak, 22, is a Computer Programmer and Kenya’s own Mark Zukerberg according to Forbes. He was orphaned at age 10 but that didn’t deter him from achieving greatness as 6years down the line, he founded Hypecentury Technologies – a web hosting company which he sold to Wemps Telecoms two years later in a 6-figure deal. 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.

Muyika’s new company, Zagace, which has raised funding from local investors, is a cloud enterprise software that helps companies manage inventory such as accounting, payroll, stock management, marketing and many more all bundled in a simple and easy to use format called Zag apps.

KELVIN MACHARIA KURIA
Kelvin Macharia Kuria

Kelvin Macharia Kuria; Founder, Sunrise Tracking

Kelvin is another under 30 CEO whose entrepreneurial spirit was awakened by an experience a close relative of his had. The hijacking of a family member’s car led to the founding of Sunrise Tracking – a Nairobi-based vehicle security tech firm that offers GPS tracking through an automated fleet management system, CCTV and ability to turn engines off remotely via SMS.

The company which started with $300 is currently valued at over a $100,000 with an office in Nakuru and 6 full-time staff. The company which has been featured in Daily Nation (Kenya’s largest newspaper), Voice of America, CNN as African Startup of the Year by CNN, Business Daily Watch as Top 40 Men under 40 in Kenya and Forbes magazine as one of the top 30 most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa.

JAMILA ABASS
Jamila Abass; Founder of M-Farm

Jamila Abass; Founder of M-Farm

Jamila Abass, founder of M-Farm, is a 29-year-old Computer Science Kenyan graduate. She 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. Asides the problem of pricing, farmers that produce in low volume also get their produce sold to many buyers in big cities that don’t want the hassle of getting the volume they need from multiple different farmers, via the M-Farm group selling tool which gets farmers to team up to bring produce to certain drop off points. Then an SMS is sent to the system promoting what they have to sell.

ASHA MWERU
Asha Mweru - Founder,

Asha Mweru – CEO, Chocolate

Asha was in her 4th year at University when Chochote started. Chochote (Swahili word for ‘anything’) is an e-commerce platform she launched with her classmates Ivy Wairimu and Victor Karanja, which started as a simple classroom assignment.

The team of 4th year Strathmore students sought to connect buyers and sellers on a platform based on excellent customer service, discounted prices and home delivery. Although Chochote in Swahili means ‘anything’, the tagline of the e-commerce enterprise is “not just anything.” Hence, the reason it concentrates mainly on the supply of unique crafts, jewelry and fashion items. In the long run, the team intends to increase its suppliers, expand to reach consumers across the region and establishing a Chochote mobile application.

RICHARD TURERE
Richard

Richard Turere; Inventor of Lion Lights

Challenges usually preceed innovation and Richard’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. This led to a constant attack on lions which were endangered species at that time.

Richard then sought for a solution within himself that would ensure that his family’s cattle herd 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. After his innovation the lion attacks ceased and soon neighbould similar rs required his services to help build similar systems around their farms.

EVANS WADONGO
Evans Wadongo

Evans Wadongo; Chairman, Sustainable Development For All (SDFA) Kenya

Evans is the Chairman of Sustainable Development For All (SDFA) Organization 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, Evans’ invention is fast replacing the smoky kerosene lamps and firelight in rural Kenya. Through his organization, he has been able to distribute thousands of these lanterns throughout rural Kenya where there is little or no electricity. Also, Evans’ organization sponsors an empowerment initiative that teaches poor Kenyans how to reproduce these solar lanterns and sell for profit.

TERESA MBAGAYA
Teresa-Mbagay

Teresa-Mbagaya; CEO Econet Education

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.

Since joining Econet, Teresa has launched 3 education services in Zimbabwe with further aims for international expansion: Econet Zero targets 5 million Econet Broadband subscribers offering them free access to 50+ education websites including Coursera, EdX, Wikipedia, Codecademy and others; a global first for any Mobile Network Operator in scale. EcoSchool targets all tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe, an education platform that provides on-the-go, affordable, and reliable access to world-class educational content via the EcoSchool tablet. Recently, the business launched EcoSchool Academy to all 9 million subscribers, an interactive mobile learning environment which provides 50 short courses covering a range of topics. Econet Education has reduced the costs for Medical Students in Zimbabwe, providing tablets on which they can access their textbooks at significant savings.

CHRIS GATHINGU
Chris Gathitu

Chris Gathingu – Founder & CEO, Tangazoletu

Chris is an early starter, a curious individual, analytical to the core, the very definition of an entrepreneur and a doer. Chris Gathingu is the CEO & Founder, Tangazoletu Limited – an ICT and Mobile solutions firm that uses technology to create solutions to business process challenges to promote efficiency.

Having started Tangazoletu with less than $2000 in the year 2005, Chris has been able to move the company to handling contracts worth over $15 Million.

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