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African startups to keep an eye on in 2012

2012 is going to be a big year for young startup entrepreneurs, as several SMMEs are gearing themselves for rapid growth in Africa’s IT sector.
By Craig Falck for Africa Report
Photograph: © Yuri ArcursDreamstime.com

Barely into the new year, things are already looking good for startups on the African continent, especially when it comes to technology startups. Here are a couple of the African tech startups to look out for this year, according to Vincent Maher of MemeBurn…
Africa’s massive startup potential is due to the increased demand for enterprises pushing the boundaries and introducing new forms of technology into the African marketplace. ForgetMeNot Africa is a message platform that has already been adopted by a handful of African telecommunication carriers. It’s innovative in the sense that it allows users to access the world wide web using short message services (SMS) – the actual name for these messages is eTXT, or electronic Text. Basically, these messages give users access to internet messaging on their mobile phones that includes sending and receiving emails and using chat messages on their networks.
Bandeka is an invite-only African social network for “well-educated Africans”. Its aim is to bring together Africa’s elite and successful professionals in an online community where they are able to mingle virtually with their business counterparts. But it’s not just a click-’n-type environment, either – Bandeka regularly hosts private functions where the online participants get together and meet face-to-face and get to know each other and their interests on a more friendly basis.
MXit has been around for a couple of years already, but guess what? It’s getting some 50,000-odd new users every day. That says a lot for the cheaper-than-oxygen messaging service for cellular phones. According to Maher, MXit, under the leadership of Alan Knott Craig Jr, is going to pivot sometime soon as other Java-based apps are going to catch up to it, so keep your eyes on this one.
With Africa’s growing agriculture sector reaching new heights, technology has come to the forefront to help the farmers with monitoring their livestock. iCow is an app that allows the farmers to monitor their stock when it comes to gestation, immunisations, disease information, veterinary services as well as managing their health care. This will only benefit the agriculture sectors as it will soon be altered for all kinds of other livestock, and as we’ve already discussed on Africa Report, farming is BIG business in Africa.
There are loads of startups scattered around the African continent that will do big things this year that we haven’t covered, mainly because the information and technology sector is going to be the biggest performer, thanks to its relentless growth rate and the demand for it. Keep an eye out on Africa Report though, as we continue to report on enterprise success stories from across Africa.
Source: http://memeburn.com/2012/01/10-african-tech-startups-worth-watching

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