The Underdog Tech Award has announced the shortlist for the 2024 awards and two innovators, Amos Muthoni Kimani and Royford Mutegi have made the cut.

The Underdog Tech Award is a new global prize for tech startup founders outside major tech hubs.

inDrive launched The Underdog Tech Award to support successful technology startups that are thriving despite facing challenges such as limited resources, a lack of access to funding, and an inability to attend important industry events, due to their location. inDrive is a global mobility and urban services platform operating in more than 700 cities across 46 countries.

This year’s Underdog Tech Award highlights the innovation and diversity within its shortlist, featuring significant contributions from Kenyans Royford Mutegi and Amos Muthoni Kimani. Mutegi, co-founder of Vermi-Farm Initiative, is recognized for his efforts in revolutionizing agriculture with sustainable tech solutions aimed at increasing crop yields and reducing water usage, also ensuring farmers gain more market access for their produce. On the other hand, Kimani’s TausiApp innovates in the beauty industry by offering on-demand beauty services, facilitating easier access for clients and providing beauty professionals with greater reach and flexibility. Both initiatives, from agricultural advancements to beauty service modernization, showcase the transformative potential of technology across different sectors, embodying the spirit of the Underdog Tech Award.

Ekaterina Smirnova, Head of The Underdog Tech Award commented: “The Underdog Tech Award is a business award for the ‘underdogs’ of the tech startup world, which is what inDrive once was. All too often we hear about companies from the same global capital hubs and their founders, who have graduated from the same Ivy League universities. With this award we want to support companies from other regions and empower founders, who might not have graduated from Harvard, to believe in themselves and to know that they too can change the world. Together we are building a more diverse and inclusive world, which takes into account the interests of many different communities and people, including those living in some of the world’s most remote places.”

The Underdog Tech Award recognizes winners with cash prizes of $30,000, $20,000, and $10,000 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places respectively. They will also receive training from industry experts and PR support. The winners of the 2024 Underdog Tech Award will be announced on April 1st, 2024 here

The panel of judges included prominent tech entrepreneurs, members of academia and industry experts. Members of the jury include Fatma Nasujo, Global Head of Corporate Operations at Wasoko; Sean Kim, President and Chief Product Officer at Kajabi; Charles Eesley, Associate Professor and W.M. Keck Foundation Faculty Scholar in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University; Daniel Gándara, Vice President at MercadoLibre; Damla Buyuktaskin, Senior Regional Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion Officer for Asia Pacific Countries in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and Arsen Tomsky, Founder and CEO of inDrive.

The Underdog Tech Award 2024 shortlist

1. Amos Muthoni Kimani, from Kenya: Co-founder and CEO of TausiApp, a convenient on-demand beauty service app that delivers treatments to customers at their preferred location, like home or work.

2. Victor Juarez from Guatemala: Founder of TuConsejeria, a startup focused on providing comprehensive psychological and mental health support to the Hispanic community, specifically women and young people, tackling issues such as socialization, family, citizenship training, sexual education, prevention of violence (bullying), gender equality, and education, and helping users to open up about their mental health issues.

3. Basima Abdulrahman from Iraq: Founder and CEO of KESK, a startup building the first green energy platform in Iraq. KESK synergizes solar power and cloud computing technologies to build alternative energy projects and generate new revenues.

4. Elmira Safarova from Chile: Founder and CEO of Rarus Health, a digital ecosystem that helps to improve diagnostics, assist the families of children with rare genetic diseases and generate data to accelerate the development of drug and gene therapies.

5. Omar Ahmed Abdelwahed and Ibrahim Karim Eid from Egypt: Co-founders, and CEO and COO respectively, of Valify Solutions, an Egypt-based RegTech company specializing in digital identity infrastructure technology. Currently the market leader in Egypt, Valify offers its services to financial institutions, telecos, e-commerce platforms, as well as companies in many other industry sectors.

6. Carlos Andrés García Iguarán from Colombia: Co-founder of Numera, a platform enabling companies to automate their accounting processes, simplifying everyday tasks such as sending and receiving invoices, settling taxes and payroll, and generating timely and reliable managerial reports from centralized data.

7. Mostafa Dawoud from Egypt: Co-founder and CEO of Dentolize, a fully-customisable dental practice management solution that scales with clients’ needs and enables dentists to streamline their financial, clinical, and operational processes. Dentolize can also be used for managing patients, employees, other associates including insurance companies and suppliers, inventory and much more, without the need for additional software.

8. Roikhanatun Nafi’ah from Indonesia: Founder and CEO of Crustea, a startup leveraging eco-friendly aeration technology with smart IoT to support advanced aquaculture ecosystems, helping increase pond farmers’ productivity and reduce operational costs.

9. Chandramouli Samatham from India: Founder of Caare, a company on a mission to make basic healthcare accessible to rural and senior communities by offering a full spectrum of healthcare services via its online platform.

10. Ashraf Bacheet from Egypt: Co-founder and CEO of O7 Therapy, a startup revolutionizing access to mental health services through its digital platform and mobile app. O7 Therapy offers online therapy, corporate wellness programs, and psycho-educational resources, empowering Arabic-speaking people by building the Middle East’s largest mental health institution.

11. Royford Mutegi from Kenya: Co-founder and Head of Programs at Vermi-Farm Initiative, which provides smallholder farmers with sustainable and innovative agri-tech solutions to help increase crop yields and reduce water usage, while creating routes to market for surplus produce.

12. Sadman Sadek from Bangladesh: Founder of Digital Innovation for Impact, a startup empowering smallholder farmers by providing them with valuable meteorological, agricultural, and technological insights to help them mitigate their exposure to climate risks.

13. Akhlad Mohamed Alabhar from Egypt: Founder and CEO of Egrobots, an agritech platform that enables farmers to produce more with fewer resources. Through data and analytics, their solution improves farm sustainability, reduces costs, and addresses food security challenges. Egrobots minimizes resource wastage, optimizes water and pesticide usage, and reduces chemical runoff.

14. Julian Garcia from Argentina: Co-founder of Wiolit, a startup on a mission to reduce food waste from institutional canteens by providing companies with a platform through which they can monitor their food consumption and adjust production accordingly to help meet CSR objectives.

15. Biplab Karki from USA: Founder and CEO of Hyperce, a startup providing innovative and personalized e-commerce solutions to businesses of all sizes, with a goal to address the challenges of traditional e-commerce technology by offering scalable, cost-effective, and highly customizable modern suite solutions that are easy to manage.

16. Mohamed Tarek Mohamed Abdelzaher from Egypt: Co-founder of P-vita, an innovative startup recycling agricultural waste to produce raw material for the cosmetics and food industry.

17. Felipe Castañeda from Chile: CEO and Founder of GLIBER, a fintech providing financial services to gig economy workers, helping them to better reach their financial goals while enabling employers to reduce employee turnover.

18. Constantine Fedosev, based in the USA: Co-founder and CEO of Visionary, an energy storage plus cloud service for power grid companies that operate low-voltage distribution power grids. Visionary’s solution helps companies to reduce their capital and operational expenses by as much as 2-7 times, increasing the effectiveness of local renewables by up to 8 times and helping to manage distributed energy assets.

19. Abdelrahman Rashwan from Egypt: Founder and Head of Product at Credify, a startup empowering digital lenders with alternative data insights, optimizing creditworthiness assessments at the point of application and driving hyper-personalized marketing post-onboarding.

20. Saúl Paniagua-Lapenta from Bolivia: Co-founder and CCO of VAKA, a platform connecting farmers with investors, helping investors more easily finance agricultural projects and farmers to boost production capacity through access to increased funding and technical advice.