African tech start-ups split $30,000 prize for transport ideas – Business Day

Bosch Africa Mobility Solutions ran a recent competition to find the continent’s best smart mobility start-ups with an eye towards solving Africa’s mobility problems with African-developed solutions.

Bosch says it received 222 entries from 27 countries within the continent in a space of a month. The winning start-up won a $30,000 (about R445,250) capital injection.  

Yves Nono, vice-president of Bosch Mobility Solutions, sales region Africa commented: “Africa currently faces significant issues around the topic of mobility; with a growing population, these issues will only be exacerbated. Now is the time we need to find smart mobility solutions for the future Africa.”

The judging panel selected the top 11 start-ups from seven African countries, including SA, and Business Day Motor News attended last week’s final stage, where ideas were presented by 11 young and ambitious minds to judges and an audience.

Moja Ride, which is founded by Ivory Coast citizen Jean-Claude Gouesse, is a fine example. His mobility solution centres on a taxi e-hailing service but goes beyond the usual by incorporating all manner of Ivory Coast transport systems, from taxis, mathathus and even ferries.

The idea aims to empower that country’s citizens, and hopefully the rest of the continent, with an app that calculates the shortest distances and cheapest fares while also introducing a single, safer card payment method regardless of mode of transport chosen.

Motilix was a finalist founded by Kenyan William Nguru and his friends and focuses on data analytics. The idea is to create a vehicle performance monitoring device that helps owners to continuously monitor the state of technical tune of vehicles, thus being able to be proactive in the avoidance of mechanical failures and save money.

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More ideas from other start-ups included the following:

• Naviacom, from Tunisia, provides a cloud-based telematics service to maximise efficiency and safety for transport companies;

• Parkcrowdy, from Nigeria, helps citizens and road users easily and conveniently find parking spots on the continent;

• Mobility, from Senegal, is a web platform that citizens use to find the closest, cheapest maintenance and service repair centres in that country;

• Hovo, from Egypt, is a logistics and trucking platform with optimised routes for logistics companies;

• Dronamics, from SA, is a drone-enabled delivery service with the slogan: ‘We are like DHL but 20% cheaper and 200% faster’;

• Bwala is a Kenya based start-up which focuses on more connection between suppliers and consumers by providing enhanced last mile distribution services;

• ABI, from SA’s digital platform, allows insurance companies to acquire real-time data analytics in facilitating automated claims processes.

But it was Hello Tractor from Nigeria and BuuPass from Kenya whose visionary ideas won over the judges. The former has a digital platform where farmers can find and share farming equipment in sub-Saharan Africa, while the latter is a Kenyan online platform where citizens can search, compare and book tickets for a variety of transport modes.

Both entities won $15,000 and a three-month accelerator programme from Bosch.



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