In a remarkable recognition of Kenyan entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, two Kenyan tech innovators, Amos Muthoni Kimani and Royford Mutegi, have been featured in the 2024 Underdog Tech Award shortlist. This prestigious global award, initiated by inDrive, celebrates tech startup founders from regions outside the major tech hubs, who have shown exceptional innovation and resilience despite facing challenges such as limited resources and restricted access to funding.
Amos Muthoni Kimani, co-founder and CEO of TausiApp, and Royford Mutegi, co-founder and Head of Programs at the Vermi-Farm Initiative, have both made significant contributions in their respective fields, showcasing the potential for global tech innovation originating from Kenya.
TausiApp, under Kimani’s leadership, has revolutionized the beauty industry in Kenya by offering on-demand beauty services, allowing customers to receive treatments at their convenience, whether at home or the workplace. This platform not only facilitates easier access for clients but also provides beauty professionals with greater reach and flexibility, a significant advancement in modernizing beauty service delivery.
On the other hand, Mutegi’s Vermi-Farm Initiative is making waves in the agricultural sector by providing smallholder farmers with sustainable and innovative agri-tech solutions. The initiative focuses on increasing crop yields and reducing water usage, while also creating new market access routes for farmers’ produce. This effort represents a significant step forward in revolutionizing agriculture with sustainable technology solutions in Kenya.
The Underdog Tech Award, with its focus on supporting technology startups thriving against odds, highlights the importance of innovation and diversity within its shortlist. Ekaterina Smirnova, Head of The Underdog Tech Award, emphasized the award’s commitment to empowering founders from various regions, celebrating the achievements of those who might not have the backing of prestigious universities but possess the drive and creativity to change the world.
The award recognizes winners with cash prizes of $30,000, $20,000, and $10,000 for the first, second, and third places respectively, in addition to training from industry experts and PR support. The winners of the 2024 Underdog Tech Award will be announced on April 1st, 2024.
This recognition of Kenyan innovators like Kimani and Mutegi not only highlights the potential for technological advancements in sectors such as beauty and agriculture but also underlines Kenya’s growing role in the global tech ecosystem. Their achievements are a testament to the innovative spirit and resilience of Kenyan entrepreneurs, setting a precedent for future innovators in the country and beyond.
The panel of judges for the award includes prominent figures from the tech industry, academia, and various sectors, ensuring a diverse and comprehensive evaluation of the nominees. With the inclusion of Kenyan innovators in the shortlist, the Underdog Tech Award shines a spotlight on the significant contributions of individuals from regions outside traditional tech hubs, encouraging a more inclusive and diverse global tech landscape.
The InDrive Underdog Tech Award 2024 shortlist
- Amos Muthoni Kimani, from Kenya: Co-founder and CEO of TausiApp, a convenient on-demand beauty service app that delivers treatments to customers at their preferred location, like home or work.
- Victor Juarez from Guatemala: Founder of TuConsejeria, a startup focused on providing comprehensive psychological and mental health support to the Hispanic community, specifically women and young people, tackling issues such as socialization, family, citizenship training, sexual education, prevention of violence (bullying), gender equality, and education, and helping users to open up about their mental health issues.
- Basima Abdulrahman from Iraq: Founder and CEO of KESK, a startup building the first green energy platform in Iraq. KESK synergizes solar power and cloud computing technologies to build alternative energy projects and generate new revenues.
- Elmira Safarova from Chile: Founder and CEO of Rarus Health, a digital ecosystem that helps to improve diagnostics, assist the families of children with rare genetic diseases and generate data to accelerate the development of drug and gene therapies.
- Omar Ahmed Abdelwahed and Ibrahim Karim Eid from Egypt: Co-founders, and CEO and COO respectively, of Valify Solutions, an Egypt-based RegTech company specializing in digital identity infrastructure technology. Currently the market leader in Egypt, Valify offers its services to financial institutions, telecos, e-commerce platforms, as well as companies in many other industry sectors.
- Carlos Andrés García Iguarán from Colombia: Co-founder of Numera, a platform enabling companies to automate their accounting processes, simplifying everyday tasks such as sending and receiving invoices, settling taxes and payroll, and generating timely and reliable managerial reports from centralized data.
- Mostafa Dawoud from Egypt: Co-founder and CEO of Dentolize, a fully-customisable dental practice management solution that scales with clients’ needs and enables dentists to streamline their financial, clinical, and operational processes. Dentolize can also be used for managing patients, employees, other associates including insurance companies and suppliers, inventory and much more, without the need for additional software.
- Roikhanatun Nafi’ah from Indonesia: Founder and CEO of Crustea, a startup leveraging eco-friendly aeration technology with smart IoT to support advanced aquaculture ecosystems, helping increase pond farmers’ productivity and reduce operational costs.
- Chandramouli Samatham from India: Founder of Caare, a company on a mission to make basic healthcare accessible to rural and senior communities by offering a full spectrum of healthcare services via its online platform.
- Ashraf Bacheet from Egypt: Co-founder and CEO of O7 Therapy, a startup revolutionizing access to mental health services through its digital platform and mobile app. O7 Therapy offers online therapy, corporate wellness programs, and psycho-educational resources, empowering Arabic-speaking people by building the Middle East’s largest mental health institution.
- Royford Mutegi from Kenya: Co-founder and Head of Programs at Vermi-Farm Initiative, which provides smallholder farmers with sustainable and innovative agri-tech solutions to help increase crop yields and reduce water usage, while creating routes to market for surplus produce.
- Sadman Sadek from Bangladesh: Founder of Digital Innovation for Impact, a startup empowering smallholder farmers by providing them with valuable meteorological, agricultural, and technological insights to help them mitigate their exposure to climate risks.
- Akhlad Mohamed Alabhar from Egypt: Founder and CEO of Egrobots, an agritech platform that enables farmers to produce more with fewer resources. Through data and analytics, their solution improves farm sustainability, reduces costs, and addresses food security challenges. Egrobots minimizes resource wastage, optimizes water and pesticide usage, and reduces chemical runoff.
- Julian Garcia from Argentina: Co-founder of Wiolit, a startup on a mission to reduce food waste from institutional canteens by providing companies with a platform through which they can monitor their food consumption and adjust production accordingly to help meet CSR objectives.
- Biplab Karki from USA: Founder and CEO of Hyperce, a startup providing innovative and personalized e-commerce solutions to businesses of all sizes, with a goal to address the challenges of traditional e-commerce technology by offering scalable, cost-effective, and highly customizable modern suite solutions that are easy to manage.
- Mohamed Tarek Mohamed Abdelzaher from Egypt: Co-founder of P-vita, an innovative startup recycling agricultural waste to produce raw material for the cosmetics and food industry.
- Felipe Castañeda from Chile: CEO and Founder of GLIBER, a fintech providing financial services to gig economy workers, helping them to better reach their financial goals while enabling employers to reduce employee turnover.
- Constantine Fedosev, based in the USA: Co-founder and CEO of Visionary, an energy storage plus cloud service for power grid companies that operate low-voltage distribution power grids. Visionary’s solution helps companies to reduce their capital and operational expenses by as much as 2-7 times, increasing the effectiveness of local renewables by up to 8 times and helping to manage distributed energy assets.
- Abdelrahman Rashwan from Egypt: Founder and Head of Product at Credify, a startup empowering digital lenders with alternative data insights, optimizing creditworthiness assessments at the point of application and driving hyper-personalized marketing post-onboarding.
- Saúl Paniagua-Lapenta from Bolivia: Co-founder and CCO of VAKA, a platform connecting farmers with investors, helping investors more easily finance agricultural projects and farmers to boost production capacity through access to increased funding and technical advice.