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Nairobi tech companies — 2015

Normally a list about traveling to Nairobi would consist of establishments for fine dining, amazing hotels, animal parks, adventure packages and trendy bookstores/coffee shops. All that is good. When I went to Nairobi almost two years ago I was teaching myself to code and passing through on my way to Cape Town. This list is for anyone interested in technology in Africa, especially if you are traveling there for the holidays.

Trainees focus on teamwork and projects for real world experience (Tunapanda)

Tunapanda Institute — offers intensive technology training courses in the heart of one of the world’s largest slums. Everything they do, use and build is open source. The founders have a vision to build a pan-East African education service for people with low connectivity and small bank accounts. You can fund their efforts through their recently launched crowdfunding campaign.

Moringa School — I don’t know a lot about this one, but they teach people how to code. I volunteered for another program called Nairobi Dev School, but I don’t think that one is around anymore.

88mph — a startup incubator focused on ROI. There is a lot of non-profit and social good money floating around Nairobi to help people. Many charities are headquartered in Nairobi. The 88mph startup accelerator is in the Nairobi Garage. The garage is a coworking space focuses on building successful businesses to serve Africans. Since 2011 88mph has invested almost two million dollars into business from Nairobi to Cape Town to Lagos. The coworking space has coffee and tea as well as food and beer.

Bitpesa — a for-profit company operating in the African payment space. The name plays off Bitcoin and M-Pesa. M-Pesa launched in 2007 as a way for Kenyans to transfer money to each other through crappy feature phones. Today a huge portion of the country’s GDP moves through M-Pesa transactions. Bitpesa makes it easier to convert money into or out of Kenyan shillings.

Maramoja Transport — This looks like Kenya’s version of Uber. They website and mobile app are world class, which you don’t see all the time in an under served market like Africa’s. — web development firm, run by people that know what they’re doing.

Praekelt Foundation — built the Vumi platform, which is kind of like Twilio. You can read some case studies that illustrate it gets used to monitor elections, stop violence, educate pregnant mothers and sell beer. Yay beer! Praekelt Foundation and Praekelt consulting are mainly based out of South Africa but I think they have people in Nairobi too. They are also a partner with Facebook’s to provide free services to everybody.

Ushahidi — these people built BRCK for delivering wifi to rural areas and also a crisis mapping tool used by disaster relief teams all over the world. They also supported the creation of iHub, a space for the Kenyan tech community.

While traveling through Africa I used twitter to get in touch and meet with lots of people. I hope this post was informative, share it with your friends!

Revisions (Dec 4, 2015): An earlier post mentioned ran the Nairobi Javascript community webpage. In fact Eugene Mutai is the Nairobi JS community lead.

Also 88mph startup accelerator is within a coworking space called Nairobi Garage. The accelerator and investment company does not run the coworking space any more.

iHub was started with the help of Ushahidi but iHub itself is an independent entity with its own management.

Thank you Mbora the Explorer for help with these corrections.