15 Startups That Are Changing The Face Of Côte D’Ivoire In 2018

Côte d’Ivoire is witnessing an economic boom and this is embodied by its young entrepreneurs – fearless and investing in many sectors. Following an extensive research and intending to highlight startups with less than 4 years of existence, Association 3535 founded by Richard Seshie is pleased to unveil its annual list of 15 startups that are changing the face of Côte d’Ivoire in 2018. 

AFRICA CONTENT GROUP

Creating compelling or viral content on the Internet is what Africa Content Group does for companies by way of designing articles, producing illustrations, videos and providing strategic advice.

This digital communication agency owns Buzzyafrica.com, a website that showcases the best of African buzz with a community of 100,000 fans on Facebook and #EdithAtesté, a TV-broadcasted and Youtube series of short videos that test run new products for businesses and offer consumers an opinion.

Having resigned from her job 4 years ago, the company founded by Edith Brou, today counts 8 full-time employees for 120,000 USD of cash flow disbursed in 2017. And this is just the beginning for her as she intends to revolutionize corporate digital communications in Côte d’Ivoire.


AFRODICT

Afrodict is the first platform in Côte d’Ivoire that provides online booking services for makeup, hair and other beauty-related services. From their mobile app or website, you can book a beauty service to be performed by a professional in the salon or at your home for increased personalized services. The platform lists several providers with different price ranges.

A law graduate, Masha Akré was predestined to a lawyer career but she quickly got caught up by her passion: makeup. In 2012, the 22-year old Masha Akré with the help of her brother launched Glamourissime; the very first makeup bar in Abidjan where she offers beauty services and makeup workshops. Then came the launch of Afrodict in 2017. To date, Afrodict counts 1000 persons registered to their platform, 150 completed orders and several team building/beauty workshops performed for companies.


CINETPAY

CinetPay is a payment service that allows online and offline merchants to accept mobile money payments.

For clients, it works by generating a unique code from their mobile phone, allowing them to shop online without the need for a bank account or credit card.

The duo Idriss Marcial Monthe and Daniel Dindji came up with their idea after they created a website to sell domain names, and where they regularly faced the issue of online local payments options.

Launched in May 2016, CinetPay integrates the three major mobile payment operators present in Côte d’Ivoire and claims to have 250 active merchants, between 150,000 and 200,000 transactions per month and 11 full-time employees.

Their next innovation?  In 2018, CinetPay will launch a multi-operator mobile money payment terminal and have yet to publicly announce a recent successful financing round to help them fuel their ambitions to democratize online payment in Africa.


COLIBA 

Coliba started from a simple observation: how to reduce plastic waste visible everywhere in the capital city of Abidjan by leveraging technology?

Launched in 2017, Coliba collects plastic bottles from businesses and households in exchange for points that can be tracked via SMS. Once accumulated, these points are converted into vouchers to purchase food products, school kits or beauty products (via a recent partnership with L’Oréal); depending on the neighbourhoods and the opt-in choices. These bottles are then pelletized and resold to local companies.

Founded by Yaya Koné, then joined by Genesis Ehimegbe; Coliba has 16 franchised collectors equipped with bicycles/tricycles, 2 sorting and treatment centres in two neighbourhoods of Abidjan for 2 tons of plastic collected daily.

Coliba, fresh out of successfully raising funds in France, intends to become a major player in the plastic waste recycling market in Côte d’Ivoire, estimated at over 2 billion USD.


GREEN COUNTRIES

A Master in Sustainable Development graduate from CERAP in Abidjan, Kouakou Sylvère‘s academic project aimed to combat alleged cases of cancer due to the misuse of fertilizers in agriculture.

Since then, the project called “Green Countries” has turned into an actual company.

On a 4-acre site, Green Countries collects organic waste from companies which is then transformed into organic compost, marketed in 10 kg and 50 kg bags under the ATOU brand; then bought by local agric companies and agro-industries.

So far 2,500 tons of waste have turned into 400 tons of organic compost, producing nearly 120,000 USD in sales turnover. Green Countries plans to significantly increase their operations in 2018.


INSTANT CHOCOLAT

A former banker, Axel-Emmanuel gave up everything to train himself and become a chocolate maker.

Champion of Côte d’Ivoire’s chocolatier competition and Vice-champion of the 2014 Africa chocolatier’s competition, he co-founded in 2015 with Yvan Patrick Akré and Mac Arthur KouassiInstant Chocolat“; specialized in making artisanal chocolate and offering personalized packaging.

The startup produces natural, milk, plantain and ginger flavoured chocolate bars sold in supermarkets, but also artistic chocolate pieces in the form of “Zaouli” traditional masks, African combs or stools. From 5 tons sold in the year 2016, the company now sells 1.5 ton of chocolate per month and became the first 100% Ivorian chocolate maker to enter the duty-free departments of the International Airport of Abidjan.

Their next milestone? The company is currently working to set up chocolate factories in rural areas; passing on their expertise to farmers’ wives to produce fair trade chocolate. 5 cooperatives already produce 1 ton of chocolate per month out of the 2,500 certified cooperatives that exist in Cote d’Ivoire.


INVESTIV

An agronomist trained in Canada, 22-year-old Aboubacar Karim returned to his home country, Côte d’Ivoire, where he founded his company Investiv.

Investiv makes use of drones in agriculture to take aerial images of crop fields; which makes it possible to know the exact acreage of land, to simulate and forecast harvest, to diagnose plots affected by diseases in order to provide phytosanitary treatments.

Aboubacar Karim dreams of making Côte d’Ivoire a country where agriculture is no longer climate-dependent, thanks to precision agriculture. In less than a year, his startup employs 6 full-time employees, has mapped 2500 hectares and assisted more than 800 producers.


JANDA 

JANDA, is an acronym for “J’Adore le New Design Africain” which translates as “I love the New African Design”. The brand specializes in the design and manufacturing of Africa-inspired small-scale furniture.

Initially launched as an online platform that connects clients with highly skilled craftsmen to make customized on-demand furniture, JANDA pivoted in 2017 and now conceptualizes its own furniture and sells them exclusively online. Their inspiring and chic collection allows them to sell between 10,000 to 20,000 USD per month.

With a Master’s degree in auditing and accounting, Etienne Famien N’Guessan intends nonetheless to take up the challenge of providing affordable Africa-inspired, quality furniture at scale.


KAMTAR

Kamtar is a startup that allows people to book commercial vehicles (vans or trucks) on the Internet or by phone — convenient for deliveries or relocations. Kamtar does not own a car fleet and instead works with truck owners; while offering value-added services such as GPS tracking and goods insurance as an option.

Arthur Thuet and Delas N’Dri, the founders explained that this idea was sparked by what they witnessed of the hardship many people living in Abidjan have to go through to find and book such vehicles.

Kamtar, which targets both companies and individuals, just launched their service in January 2018 with undeniable potential.


MTICK 

We have (almost) all experienced such a situation: going to the bus station to buy a ticket often means queuing, stress and the uncertainty of getting the desirable ticket.

With four founders led by Bill Diarra, mTick is an online booking platform for inter-city bus tickets. With mTick, users can view schedules, compare prices, pay by mobile money and receive their ticket by SMS or e-mail. mTick remunerates itself by receiving a marginal commission on each reservation.

Ten Cote d’Ivoire-based carriers (AVS, BKL, OT-CI, UTS, Leopard Transport, GTI; etc…) have trusted mTick to date with more than 1500 bookings realized through their platform.


OKANA

Passionate about wines and spirits, and having been professionally involved in this environment for 10 years, Bénédicte Mendy was voted best bartender of Côte d’Ivoire in 2016.

Okana, her startup is the first nomadic bar of Côte d’Ivoire. Nomadic because a full bar comes to your place: thus offering a service of cocktails, wines and spirits right where you are. The cocktail creations are original, making use of several homemade ingredients (kola nut essence, fat-washed rum with palm oil etc.), thus creating unique moments around African flavours during professional or private events.

Never short of ideas, Bénédicte Mendy is launching Xperience Okana, a gathering every month in a different place around an ephemeral bar concept to savour her creations of African Mixology, taste wines and spirits or again participate in a cocktail workshop.


SOLARPAK             

Evariste Akoumian designed a solar bag called “Solarpak“, featuring a solar pad and a battery that recharges through daylight. There is a LED lamp inside the bag and when night falls, students connect the LED lamp to the solar pad and the energy stored throughout the day can power it, allowing the student to learn their lessons and do their homework.

In his pilot, 500 bags were distributed free of charge to students in villages that lacked electricity and it changed their lives.

Since then, Evariste Akoumian is now marketing the Solarpak bag. His strategy is to rely on individual donors, charities or international institutions that purchase a number of bags and redistribute them. Solarpak’s order book already accounts 1 500 bags to be distributed in Guinea, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire.


WEFLY AGRI 

The use of drones in agriculture is definitely full of immense potential. WeFly Agri allows people to keep an eye on their land without having to go there.

Noticing the problems coming out as a result of the occasional absence of his father on his large farms, Joseph Olivier-Biley and his 3 other co-founders created WeFly Agri. WeFly Agri offers 3 distinct services: cartography – which allows farmers to know acreage with precision, virtual touring, and remote management of large farms that allows landowners to give instructions to ground staff and receive a monthly report.

Having spent nearly a year developing an in-house software, WeFly Agri is also working on many innovations including the ability to control drones remotely.

Two major customers in the rubber industry have chosen to deploy the WeFly Agri solution and this dynamism should translate into new contracts in 2018.


WÔRÔ WÔRÔ

Maxime Elong is an entrepreneur active in the distribution of fashion products.

Four years earlier, he launched a concept in Paris, allowing women to sell their personal clothes. Then continuing his professional career for 3 years in Abidjan, he discovered that Internet literally allows an “army” of vendors to offer their stock; while a critical need was not met: the house delivery of goods to clients.

WÔRÔ WÔRÔ, a service specialized in the delivery of fashion products in Abidjan was born. In just over a year, his startup completed more than 6,000 deliveries, including 3800 deliveries in the last 4 months. With a team of 9 employees including 7 delivery men, WÔRÔ WÔRÔ is now doubling its effort to extensively cover Abidjan and inner cities.


XTECH CLOUD

Alexandre N’Guessan‘s DNA is his desire to wanting to change things for the better.

XTech Cloud, his company that employs 10 people in Côte d’Ivoire, providing services and solutions that helps companies transpose and manage online processes such as fleet management, ERP, connected objects management and notifications management.

This former student of the Polytechnic Institute of Abidjan recently signed a 1 million euro contract with the Telco group Orange, entrusting him with push SMS – targeted group messages sent via mobile phones – in all African countries in which the operator has a presence.


Cover Image Credit: lentrepreneuriat.net

Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of TechNovaGh.com, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana.

Email: [email protected]