Hope you’re doing well.
At the beginning of every year, when I start planning the zine, I have a very faint idea of what is going to be in it. I commission pieces, interview people, chase down the drafts from the contributors, but never really see the complete picture until I write the editorial. In this year’s issue, I get to it in about 500 words but here’s even less: hardware startups that are able to navigate supply chain inefficiencies become delay-proof and that’s a really good thing.
No Tracking, a zine by Hardware Things, is available now.
In case you missed it, here’s last month’s newsletter.
Facing supply chain issues moving parts to their countries as well as within them, African agriculture technology hardware startups are developing unique solutions. In my latest piece, I write about how companies like SAYeTECH in Kumasi, Ghana and Plug ‘n’ Grow in Cairo, Egypt have tweaked their product development processes to avoid disruptions.
Nicola Twilley is working on a new book on refrigeration. Luckily, that means we get this great article about cold chain storage and transport in Rwanda that delves into the country’s National Cooling Strategy to reduce food loss due to a lack of refrigeration. At the same time, Rwanda has an ambitious goal to double its perishable exports by 2025 — making this the centre stage for some interesting applications.
Side note: Koolboks just raised a $2.5million seed round. The company, based in Paris but active in Lagos, Nigeria, is building offgrid solar refrigerators that use ice as a mode of energy storage.
While the presentation is a little odd, the Scaling in Africa Report presents a “critical systems examination” of the challenges with scaling commercial ventures on the continent. The distinction between what the authors term a startup vs a scale-up is important in reading through it, as they only focus on the latter.
SmartBee by Beekeeper Tech is a precision bee hive with production alerts and swarming event predictions. [Tunisia]
Africa Agriculture Watch combines remote sensing and some ML to give food production forecasts. [Rwanda]
BARIDI is building solar-powered cooling boxes for livestock markets. [Kenya]
Villgro Africa and the Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) is receiving applications from Kenyan healthcare entrepreneurs whose solutions target the reduction of healthcare costs. The call is open to solutions with a technology or service focus.
Deadline: September 23.
The GSM Association is receiving applications from Tunisian startups for their Platforms for Tomorrow acceleration programme. It is open to startups whose technologies enable consumer-producer interactions (i.e. network effects) in any sector.
Deadline: September 25.
In South Africa, Parket is building parking solutions using sensors to monitor spots in garages. Building owners can buy ads or change pricing on their app when volume is low and drivers on the other hand can pre-book or pay monthly.
Until next time here’s a funny tweet,
This month’s Community Chat is with Victor Boit, who leads Veno Autobotics - an industrial automation outfit in Nairobi, Kenya. Join us on the 15th!