Ten female tech founders in East Africa deserve to be celebrated

More women, especially in East Africa, are making a significant impact in Africa, despite limited access to global opportunities. The continent has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs in the world. This number was assigned to their resilience and courage in the face of defeat.

While African women have contributed to economic growth, their impacts are underestimated. Indeed, African society attaches great importance to the male child, a practice that mitigates the impacts of the female gender.

Last month, we introduced or reintroduced you tech founders who offer solutions in North Africa. This week, we bring you a follow-up article on ten selected tech founders in East Africa. Some of these women are innovative sectors and have solutions beyond their country of origin. This list is not exhaustive.

#1. Jihan Abass – (Kenya, Lami)

Jihan Abass is the founder and CEO of Lami Insurance Technology (Lami), an insurance gateway as a service. Lami is an end-to-end digital insurance platform and API that enables businesses across all industries to offer insurance products.

The startup is on a mission to provide a solution for the entire insurance ecosystem by helping businesses sell the coverage customers need. It uses technology to enable users to create and distribute digital insurance products in record time. Founded in 2018, Lami has raised $5.6 million over a total of four funding rounds.

Jihan Abass, Founder and CEO, Lami.

#2. Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa (Uganda, Chill AI Lab)

Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa is the founder of Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab (Chill AI Lab), a Femtech startup that harnesses AI to improve access to reproductive health cancer diagnosis.

Through Keti, her mobile app, women could consult with oncology experts and have samples taken and sent to labs. Subsequently, they obtain a diagnosis and a medical opinion.

Kaliisa is one of Africa’s young global leaders, serving as a director on several boards. His startup has raised about $4 million in five funding rounds and earns hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

CHIL AI Lab became CHIL AI Group, developing products in other sub-sectors, including agritech, fintech and drone technology, aimed specifically at women.

Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, Founder of CHIL AI Lab.
Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, Founder of CHIL AI Lab.

#3. Cynthia Wandia (Kenya, Kwara)

Cynthia Wandia is the co-founder and CEO of Kwara, a neo-banking startup for credit unions in Kenya. The Nairobi and Berlin-based startup is transforming credit unions in Kenya (savings and credit cooperative societies, SACCOs) into modern digital banks. The fintech was launched in 2019 to help SACCOs transition to digital platforms, providing them with its proprietary backend-as-a-service (BaaS) software.

In December 2021, Kwara raised $4 million in a seed round to create a neo-banking app allowing individuals to sign up with their favorite credit unions to access various financial services. The neobank provides access to instant loans and third-party services such as insurance for union members.

Wandia co-founded the company with David Hwan, its COO.

Cynthia Wandia, Co-Founder and CEO, Kwara.
Cynthia Wandia, Co-Founder and CEO, Kwara.

#4. Thérèse Izay Kirongozi (DRC, Traffic Robot)

Thérèse Izay Kirongozi is a Congolese engineer. She is notable for designing traffic robots that help control traffic while enforcing traffic laws and reducing road deaths.

Founded in 2013, the ease with which people could speed up, run red lights, and flee (or bribe their way) out of the consequences inspired the innovator. She wanted something more reliable and incorruptible.

According to Kirongozi, Traffic Robot helps hold people accountable to the rule of law and could help the state recoup revenue, potentially funding new infrastructure developments.

Thérèse Izay Kirongozi, founder of Traffic Robot.
Thérèse Izay Kirongozi, founder of Traffic Robot.

#5. Radhika Bhachu (Kenya, Ndovu)

Radhika Bhachu is the co-founder and CEO of Ndovu, a Fintech that gives people easy access to global stock markets. Ndovu simplifies investment solutions and provides easy access to global stock markets for Africans from their smartphones.

It also educates and guides its users through the investment journey to enable them to achieve their financial goals. Its Robo-Advisor helps provide retail investors with digital advice and access to global and local markets.

Bhachu is an experienced investment and relationship expert with UK-based asset management firms including Deloitte Consulting and BlackRock.

Radhika Bhachu, co-founder and CEO of Ndovu.
Radhika Bhachu, co-founder and CEO of Ndovu.

#6. Evelyn Ngatia (Kenya, TechWatt)

Evelyn Ngatia is the Founder and CEO of TechaWatt Ltd, the parent body of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) Academy, an EdTechca platform. The startup offers corporate training, thought leadership, strategy consulting, and speaking engagements.

Some of the 4IR strategic skills it offers include the 4IR Foundation course, the 4IR in Sectors course, and the 4IR and Sustainability course.

Ngatia is a member of several notable boards and is currently Chair of the Board of the Women in Tech Alliance, European Chamber of Technology.

Evelyne Ngatia, founder of TechWatt.
Evelyne Ngatia, founder of TechWatt.

#seven. Neema Iyer – (Uganda, Pollicy)

Neema Iyer is a technopreneur and fine artist who is the founder and director of Pollicy, a feminist collective of technologists, data scientists and creatives. Through Pollicy, Iyer is influencing Uganda’s digital development sector through an innovative lens at the intersection of data, technology and design to improve government service delivery.

Pollicy is based on three main pillars; data training, data research and building technology products. The startup has worked on over 100 projects, conducted over 200 data events, and trained nearly 5,000 people.

In July last year, Iyer was named to Facebook’s Global Women’s Safety Advisory Board. This year, Iyer and Pollicy announced a digital ambassador program to promote skills development and access to online technology for young African women.

Neema Iyer, founder of Pollicy.
Neema Iyer, founder of Pollicy.

#8. Linda Bonyo (Kenya, Lawyers Hub)

Linda Bonyo is the Founder and CEO of Lawyers Hub, a Law-Tech startup working on digital policy and judicial innovation in Africa.

Through the Lawyers Hub, Bonyo runs the Africa Digital Policy Institute, the Africa Law Tech Association and the Africa Startup Law Accelerator. The startup focuses on data governance, artificial intelligence, intellectual property, digital identity, internet governance, digital economy, technology and democracy.

Boyo is the organizer of the annual Africa Law Tech Festival and Africa Legal Innovation Week on Justice Innovation.

Linda Bonyo, founder of Lawyers Hub.
Linda Bonyo, founder of Lawyers Hub.

#9. Wambui Karingithi (Kenya, Chiza Health)

Wambui Karingithi is the Founder and CEO of Chiza Health, a health technology startup that seeks to solve the complex puzzles of healthcare for physicians, institutions and patients. The startup offers a connected healthcare ecosystem that drives efficiency and positive outcomes to increase satisfaction for institutions, healthcare providers and patients.

Chiza Health offers three main solutions, including Chiza MedicHub, which provides efficient management and movement of medical personnel, Chiza Care, which offers organized and goal-oriented home care, and MyChiza, which is a virtual health assistant focused on preventive care.

Wambui Karingithi, founder of Chiza Health.
Wambui Karingithi, founder of Chiza Health.

#ten. Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi (Uganda, Club Tangaza)

Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi is the co-founder and CEO of Club Tangaza, an EdTech startup that teaches kids (ages 4-18) and beginners how to code in an enjoyable way. The digital platform allows learners to virtually interact with top instructors to learn how to code and build games, apps, and websites, through given programs and digital tools.

Kanyunyuzi holds a master’s degree in Data Communication and Software Engineering from Makerere University. She is a firm believer that coding for kids is one of the many paths to the middle class economy.

Cléopâtre Kanyunyuzi, co-founder and CEO of Club Tangaza.
Cléopâtre Kanyunyuzi, co-founder and CEO of Club Tangaza.

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