DEMO Top 40: Paysail Helps Businesses and Accountants Run Payroll Via Mobile Money

PaySail is the easiest way for businesses and accountants in Africa to run payroll, file tax and social security and also pay employees via Mobile Money or through the Bank. With a keen focus on simplicity of design and ease of use, PaySail automates every aspect of the payroll process.

Product
With PaySail, payroll taxes are automatically calculated each month, based on employees’ basic salaries. Paysail generates simple payroll reports available in multiple formats (including Excel). Paysail also generates and sends payslips to employees by email. These payslips can be accessed by the employee at anytime, from anywhere.
Value
By providing an extremely easy way for businesses to run payroll, pay employees and file taxes, we want to give local businesses a better payroll experience.
Successes
Our first success was to raise seed funding from the Meltwater Foundation. It’s generally hard for startups in Ghana to raise seed funding of any amount.
Our next success is that we are currently processing payroll for over 60 businesses after 5 months of starting PaySail.
We also ranked 2nd place at the Seedstars Accra event held in June this year.
Currently, we are one of 5 DEMO Africa LIONS who will be pitching in the US at DEMO.
Team
Precious Nyarko, CEO – Precious is a former Corporate Accounts manager at City Investments Company Limited. He is an Accountant by profession and a Graduate of Zenith University College . Precious also years of experience designing user interaction for scalable mobile and web applications.
Samuel Ako, CTO – Samuel Ako has over 5 years programming experience. His specialty is in developing scalable backend infrastructure for mobile and web applications. He also has strong interests in BigData and Natural Language Processing. He has a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from University of Ghana Legon.
Osborn Adu-Kwarteng, Business Development – Osborn is a Google certified AdWords practitioner and has a degree in Mathematics from KNUST. Osborn loves to develop business strategies and to manage technical projects. Also is also a programmer and spends time developing various software projects using new web technologies.
Development Stack
PaySail is built with Node.js using the Express Framework. We currently host PaySail on Heroku whilst we use MongoDB to manage our data.
Contact/Social Media/Job Openings
Find us on Twitter on @happypayroll. You can also reach us by mail at info@paysail.co. Please visit https://www.paysail.co/jobs to see our job postings
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#DEMOTop40 : VotoMobile Improves Engagement Between Citizens and Organizations

When it comes to designing policies for citizens, most uneducated and unreached groups are not heard. VOTO is a designed-in-Africa platform that enables organizations to easily launch real-time feedback, health education, behaviour change and policy design programs across sectors. Our clients get 10X better engagement than SMS methods.

Product
VOTO is a web-based platform that helps our partners distribute and collect information by engaging difficult-to-reach populations through any mobile phone. We specialize in interactive voice calls (including IVR) in local languages, instantly reaching across distance, language, and literacy barriers. Our platform works in every country in the world, and is particularly well-suited for Africa and South Asia. VOTO also has an API to power existing mobile service providers.

Value
Traditional ways of engaging the world’s poorest people are expensive, inefficient, and leave the most marginalized people out of the conversation. Distance, infrastructure, and language/literacy create barriers to insightful communication; the result is many unheard voices and a lack of reach and feedback for products/programs. Eg: health programs (like maternal education or ebola prevention) struggle to reach rural non-literate people (often women). Through our first-hand experiences with the limitations to citizen engagement, and observing the rapid growth in mobile penetration, we developed a mobile information sharing and feedback platform. After results from initial SMS surveys yielded low-response rates and a bias towards male and urban respondents, we focused our platform on voice engagement. Voice has the benefits of cutting across language and literacy abilities, as well as providing richer engagement and trust building opportunities. With voice our partner now get >10x participation rate compared to SMS, with near even female/male and rural/urban participation!

Successes
In 18 months since our launch, our product has been used by 250 organizations to reach over 250,000 people across 20 countries. Our partners include The World Bank, UNICEF, McKinsey&Co, Innovations for Poverty Action, Farm Radio, CoWater and even Facebook! VOTO is becoming the standard mobile for development platform across sectors. Projects include journalists running national public interest surveys, rural clinics distributing maternal health education, policy makers studying vaccine supply chains, economic development organizations reaching out to farmers, urban planners monitoring water distribution access, and academics researching the effect of public health interventions. We have helped the Gates Foundation redesign fridges along African vaccine cold-chains, the Government of Ghana get feedback on the price of electrical power, and the World Bank increase voter turnout by 30% in Brazil.

The VOTO Team at the “VOTOLandia” in Kumasi, Ghana

Team
The founding team consists of two Canadians (Mark and Louis), along with the founding tech team, two Ghanaians (Rasheeda and George), who saw that there were too many barriers between the billions of people on this planet who are cut-off from the web, and the many many organisations trying to offer products and services to these populations. It’s time to connect the unconnected! VOTO’s greatest strength is our rockstar studded and super dedicated team of world-class engineers, designers and client managers. VOTO has offices in Kumasi (Ghana), San Francisco and Toronto. Our team of 15 is is 40% female, 50% techies, 60% Ghanaian and cuts across 4 nationalities. The Senior Management Team (3 people) consists of 3 engineers, 2 MBAs, 1 PhD, a professional banku eating champion, and a Ghana ultimate Frisbee legend.

Development Stack
Laravel, PHP and the open source telephony softswitch, Freeswitch.

Contact/Social Media/Job Openings
arthursarpong@votomobile.org (George)
Twitter – @VotoMobile
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/VotoMobile
We are always looking for rockstar developers, designers, and client managers to join our team!

Read more of such posts under the “DEMO Top 40” tag.

#DEMOTop40 : SpacePointe Makes Retailing Easier Through Its Marketplace

Online shopping is a buzz and a growing industry all across Africa. Owing to the success of mobile payments, most marketplaces are beginning to use the power of online payments to build marketplaces for retailers. SpacePointe is focused on helping African small-to-medium business increase their bottom line while selling online and at their brick and mortar stores.

Product
The SpacePointe product includes the following:

  • Online Marketplace for retailers to sell their products without having to worry about the cost of doing it all for themselves.
  • Mobile POS Application called PointePay to help retailers receive cashless payments, manage inventory and store operations.

Value
Additional channel of distribution via our marketplace, an opportunity to get new cashless customers in store, manage inventory, offer customer loyalty programs and manage general store operations. When retailers thinks of SpacePointe, they will think: “Now I will be empowered with the help I need to succeed in my business!”

Successes
The team has chalked some successes namely:

  • Making it to Demo Africa’s top 40 list is definitely an accomplishment
  • Designing an application that will also cater to the textual and compute illiterate retailer. 

Team
The current SpacePointe team is made up of about 20 people. Below are the names of the founding team members:

  • Sayu Abend: Founder and CEO 
  • Osato Osayande: President, Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder
  • Edward Osayande: Chief Financial Officer MBA, CPA, ACA
  • Ola Fadipe: General Manager, Retail Operations
  • Boye Alagbe: General Manager Vendor Operations
  • Karl Abend: General Manager, International Products

Development Stack
Java
PHP
MySQL
Microsoft Azure Environment

Contact/Social Media/Job Openings
Sayu Abend
Email: sabend@spacepointe.com
Web: http://www.spacepointe.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/spacepointe
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/spacepointe

#DEMOTop40 : MyeCampus Helps Students Prepare For Exams With Past Questions

Twelve years ago, the founder of MyeCampus.net Cecil S. Nutakor failed his Senior High School Exams and had to rewrite twice. Unfortunately, every year, millions of students across Africa fail to pass their final exams and are unable to continue their education. Figures from the West African Examination Council show that exams pass rates have been on a constant downward decline since 2005.

In Ghana, between 2008 and 2011 more than half a million students representing 55% fail to meet the pass mark for the basic education certificate exams (BECE). In Liberia, all 25,000 students fail to gain admission into Universities in 2013 (100% failure rate). In Nigeria, the failure rate is at 67% on the average each year. If this trend is not discontinued illiteracy rates in Africa will sky rocket by 2020.

The good news is exams councils across the world have established that 75% of all exam questions are past questions. Therefore logically when students are able to prepare adequately for exams using past questions, exam pass rate should rather be on the raise and not declining.

The challenge however is the lack of equitable access to these past questions and supporting educational materials to enable students practice for exams, only 30% of the population who attend private schools have access, the remaining 70% who attend public schools do not have such access.

Our value proposition is to fill the inequitable access gap by bringing teaching and learning activities online for free, to generate huge internet traffic that will attract advertising, announcement and publishing revenue for sustainability and growth.

Product
MyeCampus.net is a self-pace online learning and teaching platform, which provides access to educational content from all examination councils across Africa in alternative multimedia rich formats such as podcast, video, games, audio books, eBooks, and interactive test engines for practicing with past questions for exams.

Value
MyeCampus.net is positioned to address the problems of falling exams-pass rates, high school dropout rates, inadequate test preps, limited access to educational materials, unavailability of alternative multimedia rich academic content formats, high teacher to student ratios, lack of motivation to teach & learn and high unemployment rates in Africa.

Successes
Ten different institutional pilots of MyeCampus between 2005 and 2010. A total of 2.5 Million+ hits since 2011 with an average of 13,000+ hits per day from 2013. 1500 registered users. 600 active users.

Five International Awards;

  1. Global Young Social Entrepreneur Award 2007, awarded by Global Knowledge Partnership
  2. Global Innovator Award 2009, awarded by InfoDev of the World Bank
  3. Global Student Entrepreneur Award 2010, awarded by the Entrepreneur’s Organization, USA
  4. Most Promising African Entrepreneurial Venture 2013, awarded by Venture Capital for Africa. (VC4Africa)
  5. First Place, Social Entrepreneurial Business Idea Competition 2013, awarded by the ALTIS School of Business and Society of the  Catholic University of Milan, Italy

Team

  • Cecil S. Nutakor, Founder and Chief Executive Officer: Diploma Computer Science, BSc Entrepreneurship & SME Management, MBA Global Business and Sustainability: Social Entrepreneurship Track
  • Joel Amponsah, Chief Marketing Officer: Diploma Marketing & Media Relations, BSc Computer Science


Development Stack
Linux Operating System, Apache Web Server, MySQL Database System, and PHP Server-Side Programing Language

Contact/Social Media/Job Openings
Product – www.myecampus.net,
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/MyeCampusnet/162101617158581
Twitter – https://twitter.com/My_eCampus

Office location:
6th Floor, Ghana Multimedia Centre, High Street, Accra, Ghana.

#DEMOTop40 : PrepClass Provides Content To Help Students Prepare For Local Exams

Education is one of the sectors least catered for in the startup scene across Africa. Most youth in Africa have been burdened with having to resit both local and sub-regional exams. Prepclass NG Limited is an MIT mentored social enterprise that helps students access all the resources they need to prepare for exams.

Product
Prepclass is a web based, mobile responsive platform that provides students with high quality content related to local exams and helps them monitor and measure their preparedness for the exam. Our platform is mobile responsive and works across all sorts of devices.
Our flagship product ensures that students writing uni entrance examinations study efficiently with access to a plethora of past question material and a robust algorithm that allows us determine their strengths and weaknesses.

Value
We provide students access to a plethora of past question material and we have a robust algorithm that allows us determine their strengths and weaknesses.

Successes
We have prepared more than 2000 students with 80,000 total page views. We emerged as the overall winner from Africa at the IndiaAfrica 2014 competition that brought together startup from across Africa and beyond. Currently nominated for 2014 World Technology Award, New York. Invited to showcase Prepclass at the MIT Global StartUp Lab in Boston. Featured by Fast Company as one of the most innovative companies in Africa. We won the TechCabal BattleField Competition in February and we were among the 2014 Nominee Future Awards in the Education Category

Team
Obanor Chukwuweam – is an Ex Rocket Internet staff who has worked for Jumia and shortly for Jovago. At Jumia, he was an online marketing specialist and he managed ad spend of about a million euros on Facebook and Google marketing. He also worked at Google and Ericsson. Chukwuwezam was born into an educationalist background and his family has successfully run an education business for over 20 years. His roles in include Online Marketing, Sales, Fundraising and Public relations, Product conceptualization and Legal.

Ogunlana Olumide – is an Ex Rocket Internet and StartUp Partners Africa staff. He worked at Kaymu as a category manager and helped several sellers on the platform increase their sales. At StartUp partners Africa he worked as a business developer. He was a Nigerian delegate at World Business Dialogue Germany and ISFiT Norway. He is a First class engineering graduate of the University of Lagos. His passion for education stems from his desires to see more young people achieve the kind of success he did while in the university. His roles include; Offline marketing, Content management, Product development/conceptualization, HR.

Asides the both of us, we have a tech lead, a business developer and process manager on the team

Development Stack
Confidential

Contact/Social Media/Job Openings:
All our job opening are either placed on our site or on Jobberman, but we are always happy to speak with very smart young individuals that would like to work with us.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/prepclassng
Facebook: http://facebook.com/prepclass.com.ng
Google+: http://gplus.to/prepclass

Chura, a DEMO Africa Top 40 Startup



Introduction
Our start-up is called Chura which is Swahili name for frog. Chura for us signifies transition in leaping from one mobile network to another.

Product
Chura aims to ease the difficulties users experience in accessing services across different mobile service providers using 4 services namely:-

  1. Switch Airtime-Transfer airtime across networks.
  2. Buy Airtime-Buy Airtime from any network using any mobile money service.
  3. Airtime for Cash-Convert your airtime to mobile money.
  4. Bulk Airtime-Send airtime to multiple phone numbers at the click of a button.

Value
The idea was developed when we realised most Kenyan mobile subscribers have use different networks for different purposes.
An example is a subscriber that has one line for calls,another for texts and another for the internet.We thought it would be convenient to be able to serve all these lines from a single point in a fast and convenient way.

With Chura a user benefits from the speed and convenience in doing the following;

  • You can share your airtime to a person on another network.
  • You can convert your airtime to cash instantly.
  • You can buy airtime from any network using your preferred mobile money service.
  • You can send airtime to multiple phone numbers regardless of network at the click of a button.
  • In short a user has access to the services of every network operator regardless of their home network and we do this with our 4 services

Successes
The product has been launched to enthusiastic reception by the market.In a span of 6 months, Chura has managed to acquire over 700 users with over 50% being repeat customers. We have also enhanced access to the product by releasing an SMS system hence making Chura available to all mobile users.

We plan on rolling out our USSD platform to facilitate easy and free access to our services and also introduce a mobile app for the smart phone market for a better experience for our users.

Team
Chura was started by a group of friends. There are 5 co-founders behind Chura.
Here are the roles of each co-founder.

  • Samuel Njuguna – Business Strategist (bg. Computer Science)
  • Byron Sitawa – Technical Engineer (bg. Industrial Chemistry)
  • Stephanie Gaku – Fund Development and Management (bg. Computer Science)
  • Njogu Kinyanjui – Graphics and Design (bg. Architecture)
  • Jack Kinga – Developer (bg. Computer Science)

All co-founders are alumni of the University of Nairobi.

Development Stack
Currently we have employed several platforms to ensure maximum utility and access to our services. They include SMS and the web platform that use GSM modules to automate the processes involved in serving user requests. We are also planning to roll out our USSD platform to facilitate easy and free access to our services. We will also introduce a mobile app for the smart phone market for a better experience for our users.

Contact/Social Media/Job Openings
Website: www.chura.co.ke
Email: info@chura.co.ke
Mobile Phone: +254-0704-981-897
Twitter: @chura_co_ke
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chura.co.ke

Find similar stories about DEMO Africa Top 40 Series on DevCongress News.

Introducing the DEMO Africa Top 40 Series

The rise in the number of tech startups in Africa is encouraging as it provides gainful employment for many young people across Africa while contributing to economic growth. One of the contributors to the development of the startup community in Africa is DEMO Africa. “DEMO Africa is one of the flagship initiatives of LIONS@frica and aims to connect African startups to the global ecosystem. DEMO Africa is the place where the most innovative companies from African countries get a platform to launch their products and announce to Africa and the world what they have developed.”

In just two years of running, DEMO Africa Alumni have raised over US$ 8 million in funding. This is exciting and promising as it continues to gain more popularity and trust. This year’s DEMO Africa which will be held in Nigeria features 40 of Africa’s best startups some to launch, meet investors, etc.

In this regard, DevCongress News is introducing the DEMO Top 40 Series which will profile each of the 40 startups scheduled for DEMO Africa 2014 In Nigeria from September 22-26. We expect that this series helps the startups gain more exposure, as they find new customers across the continent, and worldwide. Previous stories about DEMO Africa on the blog can be found under the “demo africa” tag. Subscribe to keep abreast with news about these startups. You can also check the “demo africa top 40” series, also on Twitter and Facebook.

Join us as we find out more about Africa’s best startups right here!