The Future Awards Africa Prize In Technology
John Oke (24)
The Nigerian tech industry has gone in ten short years from pariah defined by seedy cybercafes rife with fraudsters to a major employer and exporter of labour, a national resource and an independent avenue for young Nigerians with problem-solving skills and ambition for greatness to make their fortune. The Financial Tech sector of the industry has become the new battleground for ideas and John Oke has proven himself to be ready and willing to excel in this fight.
John Oke founded Wallet.Ng, a fintech startup that seeks to provide mobile payment solutions for people who seek to embrace the new cashless movement, people who transact multiple, continuous payments and do not want to be burdened with logistic and bookkeeping and the elusive majority of unbanked Nigerians for whom our traditional banking systems are exclusionary and discriminatory. Oke’s Wallet.Ng does this by removing all the traditional barriers to access to payment services by requiring the user only have a functional mobile number.
Since Oke started Wallet.Ng, primarily targeting students and young entrepreneurs, his market has expanded to encompass young professionals and expatriates living within the country. It has grown its user base to 5000 active users from 430 in September 2017 and processed ₦234 million across just 17,000 transactions and it has been doing an average of 78% month-on-month growth in transaction volume and value since January 2018. Pretty impressive for a ‘saturated’ market.
Adegoke Olubusi (25); Tito Ovia (25); and Dimeji Sofowora (26)
There are many unaddressed factors fueling Nigeria’s medical brain drain, but few can deny the lack of innovation in Nigerian hospitals and health facilities contribute to the death of patients, the disillusionment of doctors and the growing rot within the medical community. Three young techpreneurs, Adegoke Olubusi, Tito Ovia and Dimeji Sofowora felt it was imperative to find a way to set the rapidly advancing global technology to solve Nigerian health problems.
Their solution was Helium Health, spawned from an idea to start small by digitizing medical records from hospitals across the continent, making them immediately available to all doctors connected to Helium Health’s database and useful for projecting disease epidemics, studying health trends and pre-empting disease outbreaks. By disposing of paper documentation, replicating data in real time, Olubusi, Ovia and Sofowora have managed to connect 5000 doctors across West Africa to the information pertaining to the continuing care of 500,000 patients through analytic software. Helium Health raised 2.2 million from several equity investors, signifying confidence in the future of the startup.
The trio were recently conferred the prestigious global honour of being nominated for the Forbes 30 under 30 in Health, the ultimate co-sign to their continuing efforts.
Odunayo Eweniyi (25), Joshua Chibueze (25), Somtochukwu Ifezue (27)
Sometimes global ideas come from solving the simplest problems. For Joshua Chibueze/Odunayo Eweniyi, their answer to the next big startup came from a tweet; how do you take the Kolo and automate it. The answer was PiggyBank.NG, a savings platform that started as an experiment on what was the best way to automate the small savings process without becoming mired in the problematic complex that is traditional Nigerian banking. For the trio, the solution was simple, take the stress of accountability and watch the saver give in to the technology.
Through several app rebuilds and launches on Android and PC, Eweniyi and her collaborators have somehow convinced young Nigerians to actively embrace a savings culture and have fun while doing it. Now in its second year, PiggyBank has grown from niche savings experiment to a major player in the financial services industry, with several copycat apps coming in its wake. The startup remains a clear leader as it has saved an astronomical 21 billion naira for its users since its inception in 2017, and raised 1.1 million dollars in venture capital funding, giving the founders some breathing space to see where next the little app that could take them.
With endorsements from the revered SME 100 and the loyalty of their customer base, PiggyBank proves that sometimes the simplest ideas are the most efficient.
Obi Omile Jr. (27)
Obi Omile has always known he would make his name on the internet. He is, after all, a child of the post-millennial movement and saw the transition from analog t0 digital and was witness to the endless ways in which digital technology has been deployed to ease human activity. Concerned with personal development, Omile’s first foray into coding and digital solutions was a personal finance app, his prescient attempt to carve a slice into the coming fintech invasion.
These days Omile uses his skills as a digital analyst, coder and researcher to tackle smaller problems. He is currently working on The Cut, a technology-driven user platform that is dedicated to hacking the men’s hair care business by automating the process of booking appointments and communicating with barbers. By democratizing the barbing industry, and allowing customers and barbers appraise one another through rating systems and reviews, he empowers both sides of the haircare divide, freeing up time for barber and customer.
Since Omile launched The Cut, he has managed an impressive 450,000 thousand successful barber appointments, amassing over 100,000 users and a weekly download of 5000 new and returning users. Omile has combined an understanding of the problems often overlooked industries, the democratized nature of new tech and the possibilities of the future and created a small but effective niche industry. We are excited to see what he does next.
Uchechukuwu (26), Aaron (25), Godwin(24), Nnaemeka(26), and Kingsley (28)
Basic amenities are one of Nigeria’s enduring problems. It is such a pervasive problem that many experts on Nigeria assert that if one of Nigeria’s basic amenities can be restored to global standards, it would start a revolution. Uchechukwu, Aaron, Godwin, Nnaemeka and Kingsley of Greenage Technologies are not waiting for the revolution to get in on the action and begin the backbreaking working of providing a viable alternative to the enduring and frustrating problem of electricity supply.
Starting from researching renewable energy at Energy research institute of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) the quintet stumbled on Sine Wave inverters as a viable product for mass production. Greenage technology has focused its efforts on innovation in the renewable energy industry, focusing on creating solar powered, intelligent inverters. Since their inception, Greenage technologies and its founders have provided a staggering 0.3 Megawatts of solar-powered electricity across 9 states in Nigeria. They have also generated 290,000 watts of electricity, supplying hospitals, academic centres, student homes and small and medium scale businesses.
While creating an important service, the quintet has grown into a million naira business, generating a monthly revenue of N1,050,000. An army of 7 permanent staff, 5 temps and 13 interns help keep the business running and the lights on.