Only an estimated one percent of web and tech startups of Black CEOs and foundersand it come as a shock that a much bigger part of the population is not included. However, with the growing popularity of smart phones and tablet computers, a new niche is opening for talented Africans and provides them a platform to show the world what they can do.
Mark Shuttleworth is a South African and founder of Ubuntu. Shuttleworth founded Thawte in 1995 when he was just 22 years old. Thawte is a digital certificate and internet security firm which Shuttleworth later sold to VeriSign for more than five hundred million dollars and he used the proceeds to finance a venture capital firm for tech incubators. However, Mark Shuttleworth is famous for his Ubuntu operating system which his company distributed as an open source program for free.
Ubuntu is a well known Linux based OS available for desktop computers and servers worldwide. The aim of this precision engineered operating system is to provide a clean and user friendly operating system for customers including large scale enterprise operation.
Recently, Chike Maduegbuna, the CEO of a new web startup Fans Connect Online and the brains behind the now popular Afrinolly App was named winner in G-Kenya conference sponsored by Google in the first Android Developers Challenge for Sub-Saharan Africa. Afrinolly is a Nigerian developed application who took the cash prize of $25,000 in category for Entertainment/Games/Media. The success of Afrinolly catapulted Chike Maduegbuna to fame and power especially in the IT industry. Today, Fans Connect Online, under the supervision of Maduegbuna is the leading digital marketing company in Africa not to mention its hand in social media and mobile app development.
Another African who is making name in the IT industry in Africa is Ory Okolloh. She is Kenyan and a co-founder of Ushahidi. Okolloh is a Harvard trained lawyer, a blogger, and an activist who led the founding of Ushahidi. This is an open source crowd sourcing utility project that empowers citizens and eyewitnesses around the world to report violent incidents using mobile email, SMS, and other web platforms including Twitter. Ory Okolloh is now the Policy Manager for Google in Africa and is known as one of the most influential and powerful women in global IT.
Ndubuisi Ekekwe is an inventor who authored Adaptive Application-Specific Instrumentation and Control Microsystems and edited the Nanotechnology and Microelectronics: Global Diffusion, Economics and Policy which won the IGI Global 2010 Excellence in Technology Research for the Book of The Year Award.
Erik Hersman is technologist and a blogger who has been raised in Kenya and Sudan but now lives in Nairobi. He is also a co-founder of Ushahidi and the founder of AfriGadget.
Jonathan Gosier is both a designer and software developer who love data science. Gosier is also the co-founder of metaLayer.com. The website aims to enhance the way contents are managed and analyzed by atomizing and visualizing data.
Herman Chinery-Hesse is a software engineer by profession. Herman also co-founded the SOFTtribe Limited nineteen years ago which has become among the leading software firms in West Africa.
Kwabena Boahen is a bioengineer from Ghana and is the chief investigator at the Brains in Silicon lab at Stanford. His current research is focused on creating a simulation platform the will enable the inner workings of the cortex to be replicated in detail.
Mo Ibrahim is a mobile communications tycoon and a Sudanese billionaire and the founder ofCeltel. The Celtel has more than twenty four million mobile phone subscribers distributed in fourteen African countries before it was sold in 2005 for $3.4 billion.
Bright B. Simons
Simons is both a social entrepreneur and a technology innovator. He is also a development activist who is an Executive at IMANI which is an Accra based think tank. Simons is also the president of mPedigree Network and initiated a system that enables consumers to verify immediately whether a particular medicine is safe or not via free text messaging.
Mawuna R. Koutonin, is the founder of Goodbuzz, a social marketing platform with activities worldwide. He is a world peace activist who relentlessly works to empower people to express their full potential and pursue their dreams, regardless of their background.
Born in Togo (West Africa) in a small village 200km from the capital Lome, Koutonin was the first of his father 36 children to attend University and graduated with two Master degrees (Master in Philosophy and Master in Business Administration).
In 1993, when Koutonin was forced to walk ten miles a day to go to school, he discovered a formula that completely changed his life.
In 1994, he traded his basic food allowance to pay for his first class in computers while studying art and philosophy at university. With friends, he created one of the first Togo news website on the Internet in 1995.
Koutonin’s passion for the Internet coupled with his wish to make his father be proud of him gave birth to his company.
At a deepest level, the mission of his company is to preserve and advocate the belief that “We are on earth to serve each other”. And, he envisioned a future where his company’s tools make each individual on earth an active and generous sponsor of the success of others.