A PEEP THROUGH THE PEEPHOLE ”Unbiased Perspective on Ghana’s startup market”

More than a decade ago, Kofi Dadzie and Ehizogie Binitie came together to establish one of Ghana’s most widely known tech firm ever. Whilst others like Rancard had settled earlier, we thought our ecosystem is ever ripe to contest for the ‘silicon valley’ title. Today’s result is entirely different. Slow progress, lack of diversity. What’s wrong – Have we peeped through the peephole? Let’s do that yet again! 

Behind my creative desk, cluttered with magazines related to digital designs and startups achieving greatness within their own corridors, I wondered why Ghana’s startup market has somehow failed to reach its peak.

Suddenly, echoes of startups imprisoned at the same place for a period of three or four years pierced through my eardrums. Apparently, we have reached a particular point where we need to carefully analyze some wrinkly parts of our startup ecosystem which in my opinion requires some smoothening.


The Genesis of Startups Invasion In Ghana.

……Have we yet achieved that mark of success?

I’m well aware that Rancard and other tech firms established before, within, or after the Dotcom era could be attributed as Ghana’s pioneers in the tech enterprise.

Few years down the lane, Dreamoval, Soronko Solutions, Voto Mobile, Encodev labs, Dropifi, and few others took specific position within her tech ecosystem. Present ones like Saya, Ahonya, Buzzbox, Nandimobile, Retailtower, fastcashier, Adbrooks and upcoming ones are working tirelessly to put their brand on the continental map. And almost all the aforesaid have somehow achieved a bit of good output.

Presently, the growth of startups in Ghana has increased. Seemingly, Accra is currently housing more startups in Ghana.Yet it does not complement with Ghana’s success – with the exception of established startups – at the forefront of Africa’s tech ecosystem. Although the likes of Saya, Dropifi and Dreamoval have put our ecosystem on the global map, we are yet to make another great stride.

Ironically, most of us prefer mammoth startups crammed in one area making unnecessary noise with the help of some tech bloggers seeking for quick fame. This is obviously wrong. Having a sizeable startup ecosystem producing needed products for the global market is far much better.

If we still prefer mammoth growth of startup in our local communities, have we ever analyzed the progress of less known startups in various communities, what sort of product they envision to launch come next five or six years and how would it benefit our communities interested in business development? And beyond the scope of local communities, could their products stand firm in the global market?

Few days ago, I researched on Ghanaian products doing well in the global market scene. Bisa App just came into been few weeks ago, so I consider it as a ‘seedling’ product patiently waiting to launch itself to the global market.

A careful look at Ghana’s startup ecosystem reveals few startups are developing products far different from the rest . mPedigree, Encodev labs, Adbrooks, Farmerline, Retail Tower, Dropifi are some of Ghana’s marketable products selling well on the international market.

For instance, Chinery Hesse of SOFTtribe , who is well known for designing and developing smart products has not yet derailed from its engineering productive software. Not less than five years or fours ago, Dropifi’s systematic contact form –a smart widget- attracted top technology firms all over the world. As a smart contact form, it helps businesses and companies to analyze, visualize, and respond to messages. Definitely, Dropifi is an intelligent replacement for mail-tos and dumb contact forms.

Remember m-pesa? Quite a great product, right? I trust Encodevs’ MPower Payment Service could be compared to that of the former but a little distinct. I don’t have enough space to differentiate; so let’s move on.

Presently, mobile money payment and other form of online payment are trying saints of extreme patience. But it seems Encodev Labs have issued MPower to resolve horrible payment service.

MPower is a payment service that works with digital wallets or bank account to offer a convenient payment experience. The mPower Digital Wallet offers the safety and convenience of online and mobile payments with only a mobile number and password. Another great product!

Definitely you would expect me to drop similarities between m-pesa and MPOWER, but this piece is beyond analysis between two products. You can check out how MPOWER works.

If these developers in addition to those at Adbrooks, Farmerline, and others have been developing great products and tools for the local and global market, why can’t other local startups follow the same path to greatness.


The main subtle reason why some local startups are still struggling to bring out the best of software products or whatever they intend to do is because they are following blindly this time not in the fashion industry, but in the internet of things.

Here in Ghana, how many software developers have developed web browsers similar to Mozilla firefox and Chrome? None. I mean almost 0%. As at now, I have only heard of Anansi browser –Africa’s first browser owned by Raindolf of Soft Oasis. Probably, there will be another release of web browser, perhaps from Ghana?

Such browser here in Ghana will have no rivals until some local developers out there come up with one good idea to create an efficient web browser far better than Anansi in terms of features and functions.

Talk of mobile apps, it is abundant in Ghana. Although it evokes signs of app development rife in our local communities, most of these apps functions are not marketable enough for the regional market, not to talk of the global market.

Way Forward

What’s The Way Forward; Is There Even A Way?

Even before we rush to the end of the tunnel to find out if there is really a way for emerging startups to claim some global attention and even make huge profits, what do we really mean by the word: ‘Startup’?

Startup goes with entrepreneurship. Either two, three or more determined optimist usually come together to establish a small business venture. The idea of every successful small business venture is to produce products that are not widely available in the regional or global market. Although some products are selling well in there, how can the incoming ones surpass their selling rate?

The way forward is to improve and add one or two features of that specific product in the market.

Remember the m-pesa /Mpower payment analogy? These online payment modes evoke quality. From different perspectives, one might prefer the former or latter. But Encodevs Lab decided to launch its payment service mode with better features as compared to m-pesa.

Thus, it would do us more good than harm if we use the ‘F.O.R.M OPERATING SYSTEM’ in all our works.

Watch this space to know how the ‘F.O.R.M OPERATING SYSTEM’ aided top notch companies to make not just creativity, but profitable creativity.

Michael Aboagye

Content Strategist, Content Creator, Ux Designer,Ui Designer, Information Designer,Copywriter, Landing page Designer, Product Analyst,*Aspiring Product Designer.

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