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Top 25 Startups to Watch in South Africa

South Africa is positioned to grow at the fastest pace in over a decade, bouncing back from last year’s 7% growth contraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, growth is projected to pick up in the second half of the year, driven by domestic demand and commodity exports. Household consumption will contribute significantly to growth as the economy opens up and exceptional savings last year are spent at least partially. Private investment will progressively strengthen.

The South African startup ecosystem is one of the most robust and developed on the continent thanks to several strengths, including significant consumer and business markets, sophisticated entrepreneurial talent, and strong corporate sector. South Africa has access to local capital and ties to a growing number of international investors. High tech startups thrive in the midst of a growing number of startup support organizations active in the ecosystem.

Internet and mobile penetration in South Africa are growing. Marketplaces, e-commerce and sharing-economy based B2C platforms are exploding. Hence, all this is possible due to a strong base of design and digital talent. The South African government is creating more incentives to attract skilled professionals, investors and entrepreneurs with international experiences to build businesses in the country. The angel investors are actively investing in the South African startups. We have also compiled a list of active angel investors who are spreading South Africa’s tech renaissance. 

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List of Top 25 Startups to Watch in South Africa


1. JUMO 

JUMO is a fin-tech company that partners with banks, MNOs and other e-commerce players to deliver progressive financial choices to customers in emerging markets across Africa and Asia. Two billion people worldwide have limited access to formal financial services such as borrowing and saving. JUMO has built a large-scale, multi-sided technology platform and designed progressive financial choices to reach them. JUMO uses its digital footprint to create a financial identity using only behavioural data. 

Industry: Fin-Tech, Big Data.

Founders: Andrew Watkins-Ball

Total Funding: $156.7M

Founded Date: 2015



2. Planet42 

Planet42 is on a mission to improve mobility for people that don’t get assistance from the banks. The company leverages technology to mitigate risk and promote financial inclusion by buying second-hand cars from a network of motor dealers and providing them to customers on a subscription basis. 

Industry: Financial Services.

Founders: Erik Oja, Marten Orgna.

Total Funding: $20.2M

Founded Date: 2017



3. The Sun Exchange 

Sun Exchange enables people all over the world to earn while making a positive impact. With Sun Exchange, anyone can easily buy solar cells that power businesses, schools and other organizations in sunny emerging markets, and earn a solar-powered income from the clean electricity that’s generated.

Industry: Solar, Internet of Things, Blockchain.

Founders: Abraham Cambridge, Larry Temlock.

Total Funding: $7.7M

Founded Date: 2015



4. hearX Group 

hearX is an award-winning start-up with the mission of providing affordable access to hearing healthcare using smart digital solutions. The hearX Group has four categories of solutions: Lead Generation and Remote Care solutions, Clinical solutions, Preventative Solutions as well as Direct to Consumer intervention solutions.

Industry: Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare.

Founders: De Wet Swanepoel, Herman Myburgh, Nic Klopper.

Total Funding: $19.8M

Founded Date: 2015



5. Contro 

Contro operates as an online prescription dispensing  and delivery service, which helps people to get the medication they need in a much more convenient manner. Contro, through its secure digital platform, allows individuals to take control of their personal wellness by offering a convenient, affordable and discreet subscription service. 

Industry: Healthcare.

Founders: Alex Schmid

Total Funding: $41K

Founded Date: 2020



6. VALR 

VALR is a blockchain and cryptocurrency startup that was founded in 2018 by Badi Sudhakaran, Farzam Ehsani and Theo Bohnen. It  is a digital asset trading platform where users can buy, sell, store and transfer cryptocurrencies seamlessly and securely. VALR bridges the gap between traditional financial system and the new world of cryptocurrencies.

Industry: Financial Services, Blockchain.

Founders: Badi Sudhakaran, Farzam Ehsani, Theo Bohnen.

Total Funding: $4.9M

Founded Date: 2018



7. SweepSouth 

SweepSouth is a cleaning service company that connects clients to on-demand domestic cleaners via an online booking platform. SweepSouth was awarded first place in the SiMODiSA Startup South Africa pitching competition, and was the first South African company to be included in the 500 Startups Accelerator. 

Industry: E-Commerce, Home Services.

Founders: Aisha Pandor, Alen Ribic.

Total Funding: $6M

Founded Date: 2014



8. Aerobotics 

Aerobotics was founded by Benji Meltzer and James Paterson. It specializes in providing farm monitoring and pest management solutions. Its offerings include AI-enabled pest detection, disease detection, drone imagery services, orchard management, yield management, and more.

Industry: Agticulture, Artificial Intelligence.

Founders: Benji Melzer, James Paterson.

Total Funding: $27M

Founded Date: 2014



9. HouseME 

HouseME was founded in 2015 by Benjamin Shaw. It is a digital rental management platform that provides tenants and landlords with fair pricing, security, and transparency. Tenants can use the portal to find properties, submit offers, make the payment and more. 

Industry: Real Estate.

Founders: Benjamin Shaw.

Total Funding: $3M

Founded Date: 2015



10. FinChatBot 

FinChatBot was founded in 2016 by Antoine Paillusseau and Romain Diaz. It  is an AI-powered chatbot for the financial industry. Enriched with Machine Learning, FinChatBot  enables financial services providers to increase their onsite conversion rate while gathering more information about their potential customers.

Industry: Artificial Intelligence, Fin-Tech.

Founders: Antoine Paillusseau, Romain Diaz.

Total Funding: $2.3M

Founded Date: 2016



11. Intergreatme 

 Intergreatme was founded in 2016. It  is a mobile app that provides users with a simple, secure and effective platform to share verified personal documents & information with service providers. Intergreatme allows users to control their digital identity and businesses ability to onboard and verify any customer. 

Industry: Professional Services.

Founders: Dewald Thiart, James Peter Lawson.

Total Funding: $2.2M

Founded Date: 2016



12. Timbuktu 

Timbuktu is a platform that allows travelers to design and customize their own trip to Africa. Timbuktu was founded with a clear vision  to make Africa more accessible to all, by empowering the travelers to explore and build their own safari, regardless of experience or budget, while saving money along the way.

Industry: Travel 

Founders: IAN PETZER, Johnny Prince.

Total Funding: $263K

Founded Date: 2014



13. Fomo Travel 

FOMO Travel is an online lay-buy platform where one can pay a small deposit towards a travel goal and along the way, pay instalments. It helps individuals, families and groups to avoid all interest and debt whilst simultaneously allowing friends and family to contribute towards the traveler’s goal.

Industry: Payments. Travel Agency.

Founders: Andrew Katzwinkel

Total Funding: $120K

Founded Date: 2015



14. Naked Insurance 

Naked Insurance was founded in 2016 by Alex Thomson and Sumarie Greybe.  Naked Insurance offers short-term retail insurance products. It offers chatbot for usage-based quotes and prices. It also offers an app-based platform for quoting, buying, and claiming policies. The  application  is available for IOS platforms.

Industry: Insurance.

Founders: Alex Thomson, Sumarie Greybe.

Total Funding: $4M

Founded Date: 2016



15. Xineoh 

Xineoh was founded in 2015 by Vian Chinner. It is a machine learning-based advertising technology company that provides solutions for optimizing campaign performance. It provides an automated platform for managing the campaigns. It also provides the optimal bid amount and channel preference solutions. 

Industry: Artificial Intelligence.

Founders: Vian Chinner.

Total Funding: $3.5M

Founded Date: 2015



16. GotBot 

GotBot is an artificial intelligence chatbot solution. Customers can get the information and service they want through a message or conversation. It is a chatbot technology company that claims to use artificial intelligence to help enterprises manage their customer interactions. 

Industry: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence.

Founders: Chris Green, Nick Argyros.

Total Funding: $188.6K

Founded Date: 2016



17. SOLmate 

SOLmate aims to provide convenient and reliable services to underbanked populations in South Africa who lack access to payment facilities and other traditional financial services. SOLmate also focuses on building a digital community platform for everyday people that allows safe custody of money and a convenient payment platform, along with access to other financial and lifestyle products, services, and rewards.

Industry: Financial Services.

Founders: Andrey Kladov, Boris Frischter.

Total Funding: $4.3M

Founded Date: 2017



18. Flow 

Flow is an app that makes renting easier, more affordable, and more rewarding. Landlords have an easy way to track their properties, collect rent on time, and communicate with their tenants.  Flow automatically creates and targets property ads for Real Estate Agencies and Property developers, removing the complexity and doing the heavy lifting while you’re out closing deals. 

Industry: Real Estate.

Founders: Daniel Levy, Gil Sperling, Jonathan Liebmann

Total Funding: $1.5M

Founded Date: 2017



19. Pineapple 

Pineapple launched in South Africa in 2018 with their “My Stuff” per-item insurance and have since launched their auto offering “My Ride”. It aims to maximize value, affinity and simplicity in the insurance market by rearranging the way insurance is conducted.

Industry: InsurTech, FinTech.

Founders: Marnus van Heereden, Matthew Elan Smith, Ndabenhle Junior.

Total Funding: $9M

Founded Date: 2017



20. Ctrl 

Ctrl was founded in 2017 by Francois Venter, Pieter Erasmus and Pieter Venter. It is South Africa’s first independent car and household insurance advice app. This  application would create a convenient short-cut to getting decent short-term insurance and solid advice to go with it. 

Industry: Insurance.

Founders: Francois Venter, Pieter Erasmus, Pieter Venter.

Total Funding: $2.3M

Founded Date: 2017



21. Akiba Digital 

 Founded in 2017, Akiba Digital enables lenders to better extend capital to small businesses and individuals. It is a data and technology company that provides financial intelligence solutions. Its vision is to unlock financial opportunities for consumers, businesses and society using alternative data. 

Industry: Analytics, Micro Lending.

Founders: Andile Maseko, Kamogelo Kekana, Tebogo Mokwena.

Total Funding: $1M

Founded Date: 2017



22. Prime-U 

Prim-U is a beauty & wellness platform that connects professional service providers and brands with customers to provide salon experiences on demand. A technology platform that matches demand and supply for wellness services thereby maximizing capacity and usage by minimizing wasted space for professionals and speeding convenience for consumers. 

Industry: Healthcare and Wellness.

Founders: Nokuthula Hlongwane.

Total Funding: $30K

Founded Date: 2017



23. Strove 

Strove is a mental and physical wellbeing platform for companies and employees around the world. Employees gain use of the Strove platform to track their workout data, daily steps, meditation sessions and sleep and are rewarded for doing so.

Industry: Healthcare, Software.

Founders: Chris Bruchhausen

Total Funding: $285K

Founded Date: 2020



24. 3DIMO 

3DIMO is an agritech company that uses thermal imaging cameras to help farmers detect early risk of lesions and fever in cattle, which could signal disease risk, helping farmers isolate disease risk, reduce financial cost of disease spread and increase farmers’ productivity.

Industry: Information Technology.

Founders: Nneile Nkholise

Total Funding: $50K

Founded Date: 2020



25. Mobiz 

Mobiz offers an industry-leading SaaS mobile marketing platform that connects brands with their customers. A Mobiz campaign generates a zero-rated, in-text link featuring content-rich, hyper-personalized landing pages, delivered through the broad and reliable reach of SMS, that show market-proven results. 

Industry: Enterprise Software, SaaS.

Founders: Clark Lin, Greg Chen, Keelan Naido

Total Funding: $2M

Founded Date: 2014


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