Here are 4 South African AI Startups to Keep an Eye On

By Gugu Lourie (Tech Financials)

To tap into this vast opportunity several AI startups are sprouting faster than flowers in springtime.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly coming of age, as business leaders increasingly grasp the immense potential of “smart” machines and other innovations as catalysts for greater efficiency and competitiveness, according to global consulting firm Accenture.

By 2019, the global market for content analytics, discovery and cognitive systems software is projected to reach $9.2 billion, according to IDC, more than double that of 2014.

Accenture defines AI as a collection of multiple technologies that enable machines to sense, comprehend and act—and learn, either on their own or to augment human activities.

AI is already starting to change how humans and computers do work.

To tap into this vast opportunity several AI startups are sprouting faster than flowers in springtime.

Here are 4 South African AI startups that are pioneering AI in the country.

Xineoh – Simplifying AI, Machine Learning

A pioneer in the AI and machine learning space, Xineoh’s distinctive algorithm bears similarities to those used by the likes of and Netflix, tapping into user behaviour to predict potential purchasing behaviour and serve users bespoke information likely to incite conversion.

Xineoh specialize in the application of mathematical modeling and machine learning to ad technology.

Founded in 2014, Bloemfontein-based performance marketing company Xineoh is making waves internationally thanks to its unique vectorization algorithm, which has already generated more than $30 million in revenue for clients across the globe, attracting the interest of investors, with $2million received in backing to date in 2017.

Xineoh’s algorithm relies on available rather than inputted information, creating associations based on the way other users have interacted with the same product or service, thus enabling it to be used across a wide variety of industries and generate uncannily accurate recommendations.

CLEVVA – Augmenting Human Intelligence

CLEVVA is a technology business that has specialised in the art and science of AI for people.

It was founded in 2011, by Dayne and Ryan Falkenberg and Mark Pederson.

The Stellenbosch firm is based on a shared vision to develop a technology platform that could enable any company to effectively capture and scale their sales, support, system, process and technical expertise.

So rather than focus its efforts building technology that seeks to replace people, CLEVVA has chosen to focus our efforts on technology that can make people more powerful.

The company uses virtual advisors on artificial intelligence platforms to advise sales and technical consultants.

The platform has been adopted by firms such as Telecom Mauritius, Wesbank, Engen, Accenture, Sage, etc.

DataProphet – One of the First Machine Learning Specialists in Africa

Established in 2013, DataProphet is an innovative South African startup which has made delivering actionable artificial intelligence solutions – for businesses of all sizes – a reality.

The Cape Town-based machine learning startup is looking to bolster its innovative offering across borders and industries alike.

DataProphet custom-builds solutions for clients, and to date has developed ground-breaking solutions to help organisations improve on their processes, including but not limited to an Agent Lead Matching Algorithm (US Patent Pending), Priority Lead Identification Algorithm, Time Allocation Algorithm and Fraud Detection.

Machine learning is a subset of Artificial Intelligence that explores the development of algorithms that learn from available data.

“Global interest and uptake of this technology is significant with industry giants Facebook, Google and Uber all recognising and utilising machine learning solutions,” according to DataProphet’s Commercial Director and Co-Founder, Daniel Schwartzkopff.

“We are also working closely with a number of small businesses in Silicon Valley, San Francisco Bay Area. South African businesses haven’t been as quick to jump on board as those in the US, mainly due to a shortage of Artificial Intelligence skills in the country. Recently, however, a number of large local and international corporates in South Africa have begun to allow for these solutions in their budgets.”

Aerobotics – Providing On-demand Satellite Analytics

Aerobotics, a young South African startup that develops drone technology used in the agricultural, logistical, and mining industries, uses drones to acquire better data analysis using artificial intelligence algorithms.

The business was started almost two years ago by Benji Meltzer and James Paterson.

They have developed an automated drone with software that allows farmers to scan their farms and provide analytics to manage their farms more efficiently, by both reducing costs and increasing yields.

The Cape Town-based firm develops AI systems for drones.

Its AI systems assist farmers in the country, Australia, and the UK to get satellite data to help them get the most out of their farms and to reduce monthly water, fertilizer, and diesel costs.

The AI system for drones highlight problem areas on their farms with crop health maps, also provides moisture index maps to reduce water usage and irrigate more precisely


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