2021 was a year of firsts for Zimbabwean startups

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2021 was a year to remember for Zimbabwean startups, we saw a slew of news at the start of what I think could be the story of the year through a freelance platform called AfriBlocks. The US-based Zimbabwean startup became the first in the country to be selected for the illustrious TechStars Seattle Cohort. This achievement also made Africblocks the first Zimbabwean startup chosen for a US-based accelerator.

Techstars is probably on the same level as Y-Combinator when it comes to prestige. The program has raised over $ 11.4 billion in funding for over two thousand startups, of which 85.8% are active or acquired.

We at AfriBlocks dare to design the future of work in Africa and beyond. By connecting a growing network of African freelancers with paid jobs across the border, we are ready to do our part to make up for the impending global shortage of tech talent. In a big boost to our efforts, Afriblocks is honored to announce that we have been selected as part of the Techstars Seattle 2021 Cohort!

Afriblocks then hosted this year’s edition of the Black Blockchain Summit and raised $ 100,000 from Google’s Black Founders Fund.

FlexFinTx

The former didn’t stop there, as local blockchain startup FlexFinTx became the first Zimbabwean entity to be selected for the World Economic Forum’s cohort of technology pioneers. For context, this is the same program that giants like Twitter, Google, and Spotify pitched their ideas. And to be honest FlexFinTx could change Zimbabwe every time the country opens up to blockchain technology because they are creating digital identities for millions of people who have no form of identification not just locally but across Africa.

According to the World Bank, there are about 1 billion people in the world who have no form of identification. Most of these individuals are found in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (81%). These IDs are on the blockchain which makes them secure and could open Zimbabwe to a secure online voter registration program.

Precision aerial

Zimbabwe saw its first drone and UAV (Unmanned aerial vehicles) conference this year and it was thanks to the hard work and determination of Precision Aerial and Zimbabwe Flying Labs. We were present and there were drone experts and enthusiasts from all over Africa and the world.

It was also incredibly encouraging to see parastatals like the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and others showing how far they have come with drone regulation and adoption.

Thumeza and Dawa Health

These two made it to the final and received a share of US $ 750,000 (along with 8 others) in loans and services of the Telecel Group (A SIP) and Startupbootcamp Afritech Accelerator. Thumeza was chosen because the startup is trying to bridge the financial meltdown that independent transport operators endure between jobs before getting paid. While Dawa Health is struggling to reduce maternal mortality in Africa by enlisting aid workers to provide antenatal care to expectant parents.

Farm

Agriculture has been a part of Zimbabwe for a long time, so it wasn’t surprising to see one of ours shine on the global stage. FarmHut is a local agritech startup that helps smallholder farmers reach wider markets. The startup received $ 100,000 from the Hult Prize foundation for its concept and continued to partner with the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union shortly thereafter.

Bryt Knowledge and Leads to Exultation

Bryt Knowledge, a local Edutech startup, was among the seven finalists who received support from JUA Kickstarter, a $ 2 million fund established by Zimbabwean businessman Adam Molai. Bryt was selected because it offers a bespoke e-learning experience for students and courses that lack the traditional curriculum such as money management. Gateway to Elation, on the other hand, is an inclusion initiative for the blind that has been awarded $ 25,000 by the Holman Prize for its work in helping people with visual impairments gain independence and be more socially active.

Bring 2022

2021 was something else and we’re all excited to see what Zimbabwean startups are doing on the international stage. We were also encouraged by smaller startups we interacted with this year such as the Mutsapuri five-bike logistics service, EduXpert, an e-learning company looking to replace brick and mortar schools, ZimTorque which has launched a electric vehicle financing program and many others.

The determination and ingenuity shown in 2021 will undoubtedly push Zimbabwe’s startup ecosystem to higher levels in 2022.


Quick recharge of NetOne, Econet and Telecel

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