It Takes Two (Or Three!): Founders Who Created Amazing Businesses

You never know when or where you will meet a potential co-founder or partner. However, when opportunity meets chemistry (with a dash of genius!), business founders have the potential to impact not only their lives, but the lives of others around them. Be inspired!

Partners

Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec, Co-Founders of Jumia Africa
Hodara and Poignonnec eagerly set out to launch an Africa wide e-retailer; not only did they accomplish this, but they disrupted a space that has influenced the launch of several other e-retail startups across the continent. The duo started Jumia in 2012 in Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria, and has since expanded to Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon and Uganda. “When we looked at the African market a few years back, we realized that there are no big online players. We saw a big opportunity: the reason Africa is not more developed is not due to a lack of demand, but to a lack of supply”, Hodara told Forbes. The Jumia brand is incredibly popular, particularly in Nigeria where it is reported to be one of the top 25 visited sites in the country.

Opeyemi Awoyemi, Ayodeji Adewunmi and Olalekan Olude, Co-Founders of Jobberman
In 2009, university classmates and friends, Awoyemi, Adewunmi and Olude came up with a platform that would help bridge the gap between job seekers and employers, in order to improve mutual access at a faster and cost-effective rate. Today Jobberman remains Nigeria’s number one jobs and careers site, with offices in Lagos, Abuja and Ghana. It is said that the site was started during a campus strike – now that’s what we call making lemonade out of lemons.

David Osei, Kamil Nabong and Philips Effah, Co-Founders of Dropifi
From a classroom in Accra, Ghana to Silicon Valley. This is the story of how three friends and classmates, whose online platform which helps businesses translate data and information from customers and prospects to actionable responses, became the first African company to join the 500 Startups program; and it was only the beginning. Dropifi started out as an idea that is now an award winning global brand. “David approached me and said, ‘this is the idea,'” remembers Effah, Dropifi’s chief technical officer. “He realized that businesses lose a lot of information online because of this long and scary contact form (on their websites). I realized that there is a huge potential for it.” The company currently serves over six thousand clients globally.

Christo Davel and Kenny Inggs, Co-Founders of 22seven
Davel and Inggs were passionate about finding a way to help individuals manage their personal finances in such a way that they remained accountable and were able to get out of debt. The idea became 22seven, an independent startup that allows you to merge all your bank accounts so that you are able to better understand and track spending habits in real time. While the company was purchased in 2013 by financial services giant, Old Mutual, the founders are still very much engaged and set to bring users their financial data privately and securely.

Johann Jenson, Mikul Shah and Paul Schwarz, Co-Founders of SleepOut
From Lake Naivasha, Kenya to Muscat, Oman, SleepOut provides short term lodging opportunities primarily with local and international hosts in Africa, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean Islands. In 2013, the then year old company raised US$200,000 in seed funding, which helped finance expansion across markets in Africa and the Middle East. “SleepOut provides choice, efficiency and piece of mid for travelers wishing to discover a rapidly modernizing Africa. The concept is simple: SleepOut connects travelers looking for unique and affordable accommodation with hosts who have a place to offer” said Mikul Shah, COO and co-founder.