Spotlight on AI startups in Kenya

Discover Kenya's Thriving AI Startup Ecosystem: Apollo Agriculture, Twiga Foods, and Lori Systems lead the way in AI-driven solutions for agriculture, food distribution, and logistics.

Kelly-Anne Kantor
June 8, 2023
Blog cover image

Kenya has a growing startup ecosystem, and there are several AI startups that have emerged in the country. A thriving ecosystem has emerged in significant cities like Nairobi and Mombasa as a result of the recent significant growth in the Kenyan AI startup scene. Kenya's advanced technological infrastructure and highly trained workforce are being used by local entrepreneurs and innovators to create AI-driven solutions for a range of industries, including healthcare, agriculture, finance, and transportation. Government initiatives, such as the creation of innovation hubs and funding schemes, have been instrumental in promoting the expansion of AI startups and luring both domestic and foreign investors. Kenyan AI startups are developing solutions that are scalable, effective, and have the potential for regional and global applications while also concentrating on local issues and wider African issues. Collaborations among Kenyan AI startups, academic institutions, and international organizations have facilitated knowledge exchange, advanced research, and fostered the development of a welcoming community, all of which have fueled the growth and innovation of Kenya's AI startup scene.

Here is a list of Kenyan AI based startups:

1. Apollo agriculture 

Since 2016, Apollo has been equipping farmers in Kenya with appropriate technology, tools and financing to help them transform small-scale farming operations into profitable enterprises, setting smallholder farmers on a path to economic empowerment. Apollo agriculture is an online marketplace for farm loans. It offers a platform for farmers to access credit and farm inputs through crop health assessment. The platform uses satellite data, agronomic machine learning, remote sensing, and mobile technology for credit assessment. Farmers can also get customized advice regarding the operation through the platform.

Apollo has grown quickly because it early on discarded a conventional assumption that farmers in rural areas are hard to reach, Njenga says. The startup has invested in automated operations, creating a seamless system for customer acquisition, lending decision-making, last-mile distribution, and payments and collections. Farmers interact with Apollo via simple SMS and USSD technology, but the network’s backend us built on machine learning, remote sensing, satellite imagery and sensors. The use of machine learning, for instance enables, Apollo to build a credit profile of its customers and process large amounts of customer data. Satellite imagery enables the company to monitor farms and crops remotely.

2. Twiga Foods

Twiga Foods is one of the most innovative AI startups in Kenya. The company is an AI-powered food distribution platform that connects small-scale farmers and vendors to retail outlets. The platform uses AI to optimize the supply chain, reduce wastage, and improve the efficiency of the food distribution network. Twiga Foods has been able to reduce post-harvest losses by up to 40% and increase the income of farmers by up to 30%. The company has also created employment opportunities for over 10,000 people. Twiga Foods decided to establish its core IT infrastructure on Google Cloud when its customer base began growing exponentially in 2015, and the need to scale operations digitally became more critical. Twiga first began to store all of its business and operational data securely on Google Cloud using the Big Query data warehousing product. This, in turn, led to the transformation from a manually driven company to a technology-enabled business that relies on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools applied on top of the data warehouse to make smart business decisions in real-time.

3. Lori Systems

Lori Systems is another AI-backed logistics company that is making waves in Kenya. The company specializes in cargo transportation and uses AI to optimize routes, reduce costs, and improve delivery times. Lori Systems has already expanded its operations to other African countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan. The company has been able to reduce the cost of transportation by up to 30% and improve delivery times by up to 50%. This has had a significant impact on the economy of the region by increasing trade and creating employment opportunities. Companies like Lori solve such problems and reduce costs with their on-demand logistics and trucking marketplaces, which connect shippers to transportation, help them move cargo, extend working capital facilities and provide them with software to manage their operations. Lori, in a statement, said it has helped thousands of shippers and carriers move over $10 billion worth of cargo across the continent since launching in 2016.

In conclusion, Kenya's startup ecosystem for artificial intelligence is thriving thanks to a positive environment and government initiatives. To create AI-driven solutions for a range of industries, these startups take advantage of the nation's cutting-edge infrastructure and skilled workforce. Agribusiness, food distribution, and logistics are just a few of the fields where Kenyan AI startups like Apollo Agriculture, Twiga Foods, and Lori Systems have achieved impressive results. Their creative application of AI technologies, such as machine learning and satellite imagery, has increased productivity, decreased expenses, and produced better results. Kenya's AI startup community is prepared for regional and global impact while addressing local and larger African challenges through collaborations and knowledge exchange.

As seen on FOX, Digital journal, NCN, Market Watch, Bezinga and more

Scale your development team
faster with

Get in touch and let's get started
Book a Demo