African internet usage has been on the rise with an estimated users of about 143 million-13.5% of the the total population. While African internet users are only 6.2% of the total internet population, it is the the growth rate of the internet access that has been impressive with in some case as high 110%. in a year. Everyone has been looking to Africa for future growth While most people are interested they have been in dark about the startups that have been started in Africa and went on to be successful.
To give a quick background of African startup scene I have compiled a short list of startups that was started in Africa and was very successful. The list contains however some that may not be considered startups in the usual sense but have been included because they closely resemble startups and the ideas that they were successful were relatively new also.
Founded by Mark Shuttleworth in 1995 whom you probably know because of Canonical Limited who happens to be the company behind Ubuntu. Thwate initially founded and run out of his parents garage in South Africa is certificate authority (CA) for X.509 certificates and is the second largest public CA on the internet.It was however sold to VeriSign in 1999 for around $575 million dollars.
More from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thawte
Mxit is free internet messaging application founded in South Africa by Herman Heunis a Namibian in 2005. As of February it had 50 million users in 120 countries with 10 million active users in South Africa. The service has a sign-up rate of 50 000 users a day. 750 million messages are sent and received via the network daily.
More from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mxit
Ushahidi is non-profit software company that develops open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. Ushahidi which means testimony in Swahili, was created to keep track of the Kenya's presidential 2007 elections violence sent by eyewitnesses via mobile phone or internet. It has since been used in 2010 to track the earthquake in Haiti and also during the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in 2008 .
More from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ushahidi
M-Pesa is not exactly a startup but the idea was something new. It is a venture by Safaricom- the largest mobile network operator in Kenya and Tanzania . M-Pesa allows subscribers to transfer or withdraw money using a mobile phone without the need of a bank account. The success of M-Pesa the first such service in the world has actual made it famous with the western media.
More from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-Pesa