Kenyan agritech innovator shines in global 2024 Underdog Tech Award Shortlist

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Royford Mutegi, Kenyan agritech innovator has been shortlisted in the global Underdog Tech Award, a new global prize for tech startup founders outside major tech hubs.

He was featured alongside Amos Muthoni Kimani, another Kenyan also with a remarkable innovation in the beauty service industry.

These founders have made significant strides in the tech startup scene, demonstrating exceptional ingenuity and resilience by overcoming obstacles such as limited resources and restricted access to funding. Their ventures not only thrive locally but also set a precedent for global tech innovation from regions outside traditional tech hubs.

In this, inDrive, a global mobility and urban services platform operating in more than 700 cities across 46 countries, 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.

Innovation and diversity

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.”

Winners’ cash prize

The Underdog Tech Award recognizes winners with cash prizes of $30,000, $20,000, and $10,000 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places respectively, as well as other assistance, including training from industry experts and PR support. The winners of the 2024 Underdog Tech Award will be announced on April 1st, 2024 at https://underdogtechaward.com/.

The panel of judges will include 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.