How Lynk raised $1.3m and evolved from “TaskRabbit for Kenya” to micro-franchising and construction


In this episode, I catch up with Johannes, co-founder of Lynk.

We initially spoke back in late 2016 along with his co-founder Adam. You can listen to the interview by searching for the episode on ‘How Lynk is building a “TaskRabbit for Kenya”‘.

The company has continued to grow over the years, and this time we meet in the new Lynk house/ office. With a new round of funding secured their employee numbers are up to 45 and, well, they need a new place to house people.

Johannes and I dig into how the business has grown and evolved over the past few years.

The company began by offering services to individuals, and whilst this is still part of their platform, a much bigger side of the business that has grown is B2B.

One of the things Lynk now it is effectively a construction company.

They use their roster of workers to effectively and efficiently build factories, as well as do the interior design and facilities management.

Regarding the individual services that are offered, such as beauticians, the model has also evolved into more of a micro-franchise. Practically this means that Lynk defines the services and how they should be delivered, and then give new workers on the platform a start-up loan to purchase the necessary materials and build their business on Lynk.


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Social Media Links



Twitter: @Lynk_Kenya



Sam:                                      00:07                     Intro.

Sam:                                      02:51                     Cool. So we’re here with Johannes from Lynk.

Johannes:                           02:54                     Hey guys,

Sam:                                      02:54                     Again. So we were last here with your colleague Adam, in the old Lynk house and Adam is away sealing big deals today.

Johannes:                           03:03                     He is, yeah, he’s signing contracts.

Sam:                                      03:05                     Signing contracts, so…

Johannes:                           03:06                     Doing other things.

Sam:                                      03:07                     Doing other things. So we’re having a catch up on what you’re up to. We initially had this chat around the corner in your old house, Lynk’s offices.

Johannes:                           03:18                     Yep. We are still, we were a smaller place then.

Sam:                                      03:20                     Yeah. So you know what I’m saying. So, so today we’re going to sort of, basically get a catch up of where Lynk is, but just sort of to get started, can you give us a brief overview of like what Lynk is what you’re doing at the moment?

Johannes:                           03:30                     Cool. Awesome. So we focus on two things at Lynk. We work with informal sector workers, so these are workers that often work without labor contracts, they form about 80% or so of Kenya’s population, right? People that don’t have access to the protection that comes with the work contract, right, like health insurance and whatever else. So that’s one side of what Lynk does. And then the second side of what Lynk does is technology. So we try to find ways that these informal sector workers can find more reliable work can build a career and can get access to the labor market that normally they’re locked away from.

Sam:                                      04:10                     ‘Fundi,’ That’s the word.

Johannes:                           04:13                     Yeah. So in Kenya I think an important word is ‘fundi’ that’s the general handyman, I guess. So that’s one part, I guess maybe like about 25% or so of our worker population could be described as ‘fundis.’ We, I mean, the word is nice, but what we don’t quite like about the word fundi is that often it implies that people don’t specialize, and we would, we want our worker population to try and specialize, right? So to get really, really good at one thing and then focus on that one thing. So we have fund in our platform, general handyman, but then we also have things, you know, like in segments such as, you know, like beauty. So you can get a, I don’t know, manicurist to come to your house. You could get a hairstylist to come to your house. We have things around you know, like cleaning and cookings, so you can get somebody to house your pins for you, or cooks for you or whatever it is. So any kind of service that’s designed at your house, but then also you know, like even physical things that somebody makes for you. So furniture making, carpentry, tailoring all kinds of diverse services. But then in addition to your informal sector workers who are as independent service providers on our platform, we also bundle products for business customers, so we work with our workers together to do things around facilities management and maintenance, right? So we have a team of key account managers that work with large-scale property management companies to do repairs and maintenance for their property space. And then we also do construction and fit out we call it the boutique construction firm where we have product managers, interior decorators, architects, who are working with our workers to deliver construction projects to our clients. So a diverse set of products.

Sam:                                      05:56                     Yeah, I mean, that’s definitely new because I seem to remember when we first chatting, it was sort of the, the analogy was a task rabbit.

Johannes:                           06:02                     Yeah.

Sam:                                      06:02                     If you need somebody. And we’re saying, you know, most requests are reactive, so, you know, I need some plumbing done…

Johannes:                           06:10                     Something’s broken. I need to fix

Sam:                                      06:11                     Are you saying, is the company taking more of a direction of this sort of bespoke work or yeah, how would you sort of describe it?

Johannes:                           06:20                     So we’re still kind of spread out in different segments. One thing that we did realize is that there is a lot of opportunity on the B to B side, right? So initially we did indeed focus quite heavily on the household side. Now we do a lot of work on the B to B side. So we have two different products for business customers, right? One of them is the maintenance and facilities management product we call that Lynk for business. And then the other one is the construction product. We have realized that there’s a lot of potential in that space construction is a thing in Kenya that is booming, right? So like developing countries usually grow with construction quite heavily. And on the customer side it was always kind of clear that it would take us time, and I guess also money to develop the household customer side, specifically because a lot of behavior, like our product relies on a lot of behavior trends, right? So we need to work in, we’re working in a space where there’s a lot of mistrust, right? So customers don’t trust workers. They think workers are out to, I don’t know, steal from them, lie to them and whatever else. And in many cases that may even be true, right? So they have kind of learned that behavior and we need toit would take us time and it is taking us time to build a brand where people are then trusting us and saying, yes, generally in the informal space, reliability’s an issue quality’s an issue or whatever else. But if I do it with Lynk, I do get a quality guarantee. I get a hundred percent money back guarantee if something goes wrong, right? They will help me when there’s any kind of issue and afterwards I will not be left with a bad taste in my mouth. I will actually be satisfied, happy with the job. And whatever else and I’d come back. So we think on the household, on the customer side and the personal customer side there’s a lot of behavior change that still has to happen for us to be able to access the whole market. I mean, we’re seeing Jumia needing a little bit of time to explain e-commerce and make it work and similarly fast, right? Essentially an eCommerce experience for services. So that’s something that before us didn’t really exist.

Sam:                                      08:10                     So how did the whole B to B side, how did that, that side of the business, how did that emerge? Was that, was it that a cold inquiry came in?

Johannes:                           08:20                     Yeah. It’s kind of like that, so initially I mean it actually emerged kind of at the time when we first spoke. What happened is that businesses came to us and said, you guys have plumbers, right? So like, maybe you can help me with my renovation project where I need a couple of plumbers, I also need some masons or whatever else. And we said, yeah, I guess we can, I mean, it’s not quite how we operate, right? We’re like an automated platform where, that sort of thing doesn’t really fit in. But like, let’s see. Right? So, and then we started hiring project managers to deliver those projects to have all work as coordinated, right? Because if we would just send, I don’t know, three, four different kinds of workers to project site and hope that they will organize it, that obviously wouldn’t work, right? So you need to manage a construction site. So we started hiring a key account managers and project managers would then go to our customers and work with them to deploy our work as effectively. And this product just grew. So we started adding things like design around it so somebody can come to us and can say, I want a design for my new office. And then afterwards I want somebody to build it. So now we have a team that delivers designs and then afterwards a team that delivers the bid out. And since this market isin some ways very difficult and specifically the construction space is maybe not very efficient. We are able to deliver higher quality at a lower price, then whatever the market is able to deliver. So that product has grown tremendously.

Sam:                                      09:42                     We see the design as in, someone will say, right, I’ve got a empty office.

Johannes:                           09:47                     Yeah.

Sam:                                      09:48                     And I kind of want you to do not just construction, but also the creative. How do you source interior designers?

Johannes:                           09:54                     We hired them on like full time on staff. So it’s a normal hiring process. And like many hiring process, it just takes time, right? You need to identify the right talent and whatever. So we have a team sitting right behind us, essentially in the room right behind us that fulltime works on designing and building different…

Sam:                                      10:12                     Okay. So the design, interior designers are in house. They don’t ask. They’re not, it’s not another…

Johannes:                           10:19                     This is not the platform approach. This is designers we have on staff architects we have on staff and project managers, we have on staff. Deploying our workers on construction sites. So from the worker site, this means for them that they get access to project sites that they normally wouldn’t have access to. Right. Because unless, I don’t know, maybe they somehow got lucky or something like that. But it gives them the ability to work on project sites, on days that they’re not busy on our platform.

Sam:                                      10:45                     Yeah, and I imagine as well, if you’ve got like, I actually got no idea how the interior design world works, but I imagine a big part of the thing is, yes, here’s my vision, but actually I need someone to deliver it.

Johannes:                           10:56                     Yup.

Sam:                                      10:56                     So I imagine…

Johannes:                           10:57                     Yeah that happens quite a lot. So I mean, frequent projects that we have is restaurant build outs. So we’ve built quite a lot of restaurants that you may know or may have been at, for example, Bao Box, J’s in Westlands, The Alchemist, we put down some work there. There’s a lot of different places. And in those cases, there’s often quite a strong vision that the customer already has where they say, I want my place to look like this. I want my furniture to be rustic. I want my, I don’t know what and then other types of customers that we have is actually start-up offices. So quite a few startup offices we’ve built out and in those cases, usually customers come to us and they say, I have this space. I want to maximize it for people to be able to work effectively, or I want it to be you know, like cozy and a nice work environment and quiet. So I need, I don’t know, phone booths to be quieted and so on and so on. And then we make a proposal and they say, yeah, I like it. Or they say change these three things. So quite traditional, I would say.

Sam:                                      11:49                     Okay, do you make foosball tables?

Johannes:                           11:53                     I don’t think we’ve made a foosball table yet, but what are you looking for one? We can ask our head of carpentry if he can make a foosball table.

Sam:                                      12:01                     You’re going out and kicking out all these startup offices. That might be something which you have on your list of your things. Okay. So that’s quite cool. Oh, so that’s like part of the business switch which came by, and one of the things which I remember speaking about was that the approach you were taking was to go broad and shallow rather than just try and do one vertical because there just wasn’t the demand for it.

Johannes:                           12:22                     Yup.

Sam:                                      12:23                     Are you seeing that? I mean from the sounds bit, you’ve kind of, you had your whole households and your actually this whole other vertical in the B To B side. Is that kind of how it’s panned out?

Johannes:                           12:32                     Yeah, so I think one thing that has happened is that we discovered the B to B side. I mean we knew it was there before, right? We started experimenting with some customers in the B to B side before when we spoke last. But now we know that there is a lot of potential. Now we’re actively going out and pitching to businesses to take over all of their maintenance.

Sam:                                      12:49                     So what’s the main, so the maintenance side is just that, some sort of recurring business that you’ve got.

Johannes:                           12:54                     Essentially recurring revenues.

Sam:                                      12:55                     And, so that would otherwise have been done by some sort of facilities management company.

Johannes:                           13:01                     There is a lack of supply in the market in this space, right? So this, this market is very inefficient there is a lot of corruption in this market there’s a lack of formal established companies that can deliver at a decent price point, high quality work. So when we go and pitch to property management companies, all of them say, wow, that is awesome. I want it. Can we please sign a contract with you guys? But the operational modality of it is difficult, right? So like we are realizing, and not only in the, in the B to B space, but in other, like in other products as well. The operational logic that we need to apply in many cases is actually it’s quite complicated. Right? So like, just to give you an example I talked about corruption, right? So like in the property management space, a lot of these companies are maintaining their own operations team, right? Their own maintenance teams to do maintenance for all of their commercial properties, right? So if you’re talking about the malls or whatever else and the people who they have on the ground often receive kickbacks from their suppliers, right? So they get paid by their suppliers to give them a contract.

Sam:                                      14:05                     This suppliers being?

Johannes:                           14:07                     The suppliers being the repairmen or companies that deliver work for them, contractors or whatever. So there’s a lot of, you know, like corruption in that space and we obviously don’t have any of that on our platform, which makes us very attractive to the owners of those companies, but maybe makes us not so attractive for the people on the ground. So we have to kind of navigate that in a way, which is interesting, right? Like, that’s not something we had thought about before but clearly the value add is tremendous, right? If we can cut out corruption in that space, deliver higher quality work and for a lower price, it’s obviously a tremendous opportunity.

Sam:                                      14:41                     I see. And what’s like your deliverable? I’m trying to think. So, do you basically say, right, you’ve got a fit, you’ve got a call out charge or you’ve got X. And then basically, let’s say that one of the malls, and they’re like we’ve got a broken pipe. Do you, is it like request comes into Lynk and you’re like, cool, who’s the nearest plumber or…

Johannes:                           15:03                     So we now have fixed prices so we have prices for our customers, right? So that they wouldn’t have to kind of guess what the price would be for that repair or whatever else, right? We can then tell them beforehand with quite high degree of certainty what the price would be. Right? So there’s certain rates for labour there are certain rates for specific types of materials and so on. And obviously there has to be variations depending on the complexity and so on. But we can usually tell, give them an indication beforehand. The way that we usually work is that or the value addition of us is that we send key account managers to these properties and we give them a regular report, right? So you get an inventory at the beginning when you sign up with us where we say we recommend these five things to be done. Here’s a respect of quote, write it across such and such. And then all they have to do is click and it will get confirmed and we will do it and then we will send them at the end of the week a report of what has been done, what has not been done, what else has been discovered that should be done? Right? So like maybe in the, while we were doing repairs, we discovered that you know, like one of the wash rooms has been leaking and it needs to be fixed as well, or something like that. Right? So good communication, consistent updates, notifications about what is happening and transparency also about like, what are you paying for What? Right? So like pictures being taken on site and embedded into the report. And then the transparency of what kind of money flows where I think is something that people find quite attractive.

Sam:                                      16:20                     That’s really cool. Okay. And did you have any, I suppose yeah, you mentioned you sort of were thinking this might happen one day. This is just something which I, when I first thought Lynk I was thinking yeah, like someone have a, if you’re going to have like a beautician come around or something. So it’s quite cool how it’s nowadays like a full on facilities managing company.

Johannes:                           16:43                     But let’s say a facilities management company with a technology component.

Sam:                                      16:47                     Okay, okay, so that’s that one of the things that you were quite, you personally were quite excited about, I remember, was all the data that you were collecting. So I can only imagine it’s gone. There’s more data. What are some of the cool stuff you do now?

Johannes:                           17:04                     Just to quickly explain this, my background is in data science and actually Adam and I met I think when I was running a data science meetup ages ago and that has since gone to sleep cause I didn’t have the time to keep it up anymore. But so that’s my background and that’s why I’m super excited about what we’re doing. Right. We’re learning pieces of information, data points about a space where there just isn’t a lot of data, right? Like there’s a lot of economic activity but there just is not a lot of data about what these workers are doing, what they’re earning, how they’re spending their day, and what else they can be doing. So super exciting. So we are collecting very, very interesting data. And we actually had I would say the first serious use of our data has been a loan. So we wrote out a loan product together with and supported by a company called BFA, bankable frontiers association, who’s been helping us to develop this. So they approached us actually and said, you guys are sitting on this worker data, why don’t you do something with it? And we said, yeah, great, we’d love to we’re going to focus on other things first, but I mean, you guys have got the expertise, so please work with us and we work together. And what we’ve come up with is one, a, I guess regular loan product where, because we understand what our workers are making, right? They’re making their money through our platform, we can more easily credit score them and it’s more reliable information than just transaction information that people have on their phone, right? Because, and also it’s kind of collateralized, right? It goes through us. So at the moment where it is generated, we can withhold a certain percentage and send the rest of the workers. It’s quite attractive to the workers because we are sending them jobs, which is additional income, right? So they don’t have to actually send us cash, right? It gets withheld at the moment when they’re generating cash where they’re making income. And it’s not fed so strongly as if you have to actively send money back to, to one of those something else. So we have a traditional product where we said, okay, who is eligible for a loan? Okay, you have to have certain levels of activity, do we have enough data about you also that so that you understand the value of the platform enough and you know, like we don’t accidentally incentivize you to leave the platform because we have given you a loan or something like that. And that worked quite decently, I would say. Like it wasn’t, it wasn’t glorious. But then what was glorious is that at the same time we’ve changed operational modality a little bit. So what we said is we want to be more heavily involved in what our workers are doing. Back when we spoke Sam, we actually had a quoting platform, right? Where all work were Auctioning essentially, right? They were, they were bidding for jobs. They were giving quotes and customers choose, chose who they worked with. We changed this, right? We said we want more, we want to be more directly involved in the value that our workers are delivering. Right? We want to define better what it is that is expected, right? If you’re a beautician like what kind of materials do you have to have? What kind of prices do you charge and what kind of cut quality expectation does the customer then get in return? Well, to better define this so that the customer experience would go up, but then also we made it a lot easier for our workers, right? If we define more or less what the work is that they’re doing, it is less hard. There’s less ambiguity for workers to have to figure things out, right? It used to be that people had to have quite a lot of experience with pricing and other things to be able to participate on the platform and that’s not the case anymore. Now it’s, we have an onboarding day essentially where a lot of things are explained and the products that people can deliver through our platform. I explained, and if you do have the right vocational background, you can already join the platform, right? You don’t have to have, I don’t know, five years of work experience to be able to join. And now together with the loan program, we’re actually able to give people start-up packs into jobs, right? We can say as a beautician you have to have these five colors of nail Polish, its more like 20, actually of nail Polish. And then, and those are the ones that we know lead to high customer satisfaction, right? Whereas, you know, in the status quo, before it used to be the case that people kind of had to guess, right? Workers had to gues., I’m a beautician, what kind of nail Polish do I bring to a job so that the customer gets what they want? And if they guess wrong, the customer is unhappy, right? You lost a customer right there.

Sam:                                      20:56                     And they’ve bought, and they’ve spent cash on…

Johannes:                           20:59                     Exactly, and they’re carrying it around through the city, right? Like, it’s not easy and so on. So but we know, right? So we have this understanding from our platform. So we give our workers a start pack. We start them off with a loan, which might sound a little bit crazy, but we start them off with a loan but because we are able to consistently give work to them, we actually don’t see other, right. We don’t see workers taking this and running away and instead of just giving them money, we’re giving them something to work with and then we’re giving them a means of generating income using that starter pack which is super attractive and the repayment rates are through the roof. Like, we have not lost almost any money on this. Right. We have not had any cases of workers not repaying. We had a couple of cases where we actually like two cases, where we, deactivated workers and that’s the reason why they weren’t able to repay, right. Because something went wrong or they weren’t able to follow the, our quality guidelines or things like that. So that is an awesome non-profit because it’s repaid just at the moment where workers are generating income. And it is not disincentivizing them from generating that income. Right. So like that is, that’s been working super well.

Sam:                                      22:02                     Wow. Is that money coming from your balance sheet?

Johannes:                           22:04                     We had had support so we have been given up to $100,000 from, I think ultimately it was MasterCard foundation but it came via DDD, digital divide data, and was managed by BFA.

Sam:                                      22:18                     We always get the acronym.

Johannes:                           22:20                     Exactly but again, like it wasn’t only about the money, it was also about these guys having a lot of experience, being interested in platform businesses and marketplace businesses, who were able to offer additional value add services and financial services and they approached us and said, you guys have to do this, like this, is the work.

Sam:                                      22:38                     You have to do this, you have to take this money.

Johannes:                           22:39                     I said, okay, fine. I was super excited and it was very successful and we’re using it everyday. So we, we built tech into our platform that we otherwise maybe wouldn’t have built yet and would’ve spent more time making do without, and now we have this product and it’s working awesomely and obviously our customers feel it right, because they get services delivered to them by workers who have the right tools and materials to deliver them well.

Sam:                                      23:03                     Yeah, because it’s really sort of I mean one of the things we spoke, I think I remember us talking about, was like the analogy to maybe Etsy or like or something and this idea of like, it’s quite interesting how you basically said yes, you know, there is free markets and Everyone, anyone’s free to do anything. But really we know that if you make a bench with these dimensions, it’s going to sell.

Johannes:                           23:26                     Yep. It’s quite similar. So what we’re talking about now is, I guess, or what I just said. Where I said that the operation with LGS changed a little bit. We sometimes explain this as micro franchising of services, right? So where maybe Coca-Cola used to give unemployed people some merchandise and a small cart to be able to sell Coca-Cola, we can give a prepackaged service to be delivered to customers for anybody who has the right kind of vocational training, which in Kenya is quite a lot of people actually and they can then deliver it and the likelihood of it going well is decently high. Right? So it’s, we call it, we like to call this micro-franchisees of circumstance.

Sam:                                      24:01                     Okay. And so does that mean they’re kind of going under the Lynk brand?

Johannes:                           24:04                     Yep, exactly.

Sam:                                      24:05                     Yeah. So that’s…

Johannes:                           24:07                     Often part of the startup pack in many cases actually a uniform. Right. So, because it makes such a big difference. If you are a beautician and you are, you know, like dressed in a uniform, you look so much more professional than if you’re just coming in your regular everyday clothes, maybe you’re smelling a little bit and so on.

Sam:                                      24:22                     So you’ve got Lynk deodorant as well?

Johannes:                           24:23                     Lynk deodorant, we don’t have. We need to work on that, that’s actually a great idea.

Sam:                                      24:29                     Okay. So what have been some of the, some of the projects in the last few years that you found really exciting? So maybe ones that we’ve not spoken about yet?

Johannes:                           24:39                     Yeah, I mean we had a, a lot of them, A big one was definitely the loan program, which is very interesting. I think a big game changer is also the realization that it is better for us to provide more clarity to our workers, more guidance to all workers. Right? So on one hand, on the one hand somebody might say you know, like we are restricting a little bit the choice that workers have on our platform. But the flip side of that is we’re making it a lot easier for people, right? They don’t need to think about the choices and they don’t need to successfully choose which choice would give them work and which choice maybe doesn’t. Right. But instead. We’re making it look easy for people. So that was a big, big change.

Sam:                                      25:19                     Yeah.

Johannes:                           25:19                     Then I think something that we discovered that is very interesting is and we don’t yet have a project to like change things at Lynk, but what we discovered was very interesting is that there is a lot of synergies between our projects business and the B to B side of our business, right? So when we’re talking to business customers, we’re saying let us take over your maintenance. The project team often comes in first and says, and builds out somebody’s office or somebody is, I don’t know, build somebody a factory or warehouse or something like that. And then afterwards they able to say, look, we built this out for you. What did you know that our company also has a maintenance service that you can subscribe to. Here’s a contract you can just sign here, done. And that is super interesting, right? These synergies that we now discover within. You mentioned earlier, right? We set ourselves up horizontally, but shallowly. I think the horizontal aspect of the platform is now showing its strength. They were able to find these synergies between the different products and serve as household customers, business customers, and then people who want projects, construction projects, built. And often there’s a lot of overlap between those services that we initially were a little bit worried about. Like we thought there might be but we weren’t quite sure turned out there is, so we have a couple of projects around, well, I mean we’ll start, a couple of projects are on, bringing those together.

Sam:                                      26:38                     How many, how many workers do you have now?

Johannes:                           26:39                     1,300 active, I don’t know the exact number. 1,350-Ish active. And then through the lifetime of the platform, maybe some 5,000 that we signed up but then maybe left the platform or, or we removed.

Sam:                                      26:54                     Sure. Active is has done a project in the last 30 days?

Johannes:                           26:59                     Has done work and can do, can continue to do work. Work will be sent their way is what this means. Okay. So active means the platform will send them, when a customer makes a request, the platform will send them that request.

Sam:                                      27:10                     Okay. What might cause a worker to be deactivated?

Johannes:                           27:14                     So, I mean, first of all, we don’t charge our workers anything, right? So joining the platform is completely free. What we do in return is we tell our workers, okay, you’re joining for free, right? We’re sending you work. So you must follow our quality standards. And our quality standards are one, two, three, and it depends on categories. Right? Every category has slightly different ones, but one big one for example is around timeliness, right? So we don’t, we don’t want our workers to be late. If you have to be late as a worker, as long as you communicate that fact there will not be any kind of consequence. However, if you don’t, there will be consequences, right? So then when you say, okay, you got warning, number one, strike number one if you get the second strike at some point you get temporarily deactivated and should you get the third strike, you get deactivated. And we communicate those. So like initially when we set up these quality standards we maybe weren’t transparent enough to all workers, right? So like we assumed if we send a message out to our workers who really understood. But now we actually handing them out, right? We’re telling everyone activity when we onboard them actually even several times what those are and why they’re important and why they make a difference and then we write them down and hand them to them. And it is quite well understood but those would be the reasons why we would deactivate a worker. Whereas it’s like if you do something bad, if you steal, obviously. Right.

Sam:                                      28:22                     Yeah. Okay. And was, was there always this onboarding process?

Johannes:                           28:26                     Yeah, so we have extended it. We started kind of without it. We never had workers who can register just without seeing us. So you had to kind of come and we create a profile with you we explain to you what, what you can and cannot do on the platform and so on. But it used to be that it was maybe like, let’s say one hour or two hour process in the very early days, right. Where we just kind of create a profile, that’s it. And then we hope that the marketplace nature of the business, will sort out, will weed out the bad actors and we promote the good actors and so on. Nd that is maybe where we are a little bit naive. I think in the early days, I came from Europe and I was like, let’s build a technology platform. But it turns out one has to be quite heavily operationally involved in order to make sure that some things work well, but you also have to immerse yourself to really understand what kind of issues are workers dealing with, right? Because we need, we realized, and maybe this isn’t so similar to other startup stories, that we have to immerse ourselves quite deeply and involve ourselves quite deeply with the work that all workers are doing, right? We have to really dive into the value chain, understand exactly what the value chain is and get involved at every aspect. Fix things that are broken, promote things that are working right. So like really, really deeply get involved in it. And that, that was a big realization. And that that’s what has changed I guess since maybe about like two or three years ago.

Sam:                                      29:34                     Yeah. What’s your favorite category on Lynk?

Johannes:                           29:37                     My personal favorite category. My favorite category is not doing so well. My favorite category has always been floor sending and vanishing, wooden floor repair.

Sam:                                      29:47                     Okay.

Johannes:                           29:47                     It is a very high value category, right? So like wooden floor when you sand and vanish it, that can cost like $2,000 or something like that. Unfortunately, people aren’t investing a lot in the wooden floors in Kenya. And secondly it’s just like if something goes wrong with the wooden floor, it’s very bad.

Sam:                                      30:02                     Yeah.

Johannes:                           30:02                     So we have very, very few requests there. That is my personal favorite, I think currently it’s actually deactivated even because we didn’t have enough good wooden floor senders and Varnishers. That’s my personal one.

Sam:                                      30:16                     The Lynk house does have wooden floors.

Johannes:                           30:20                     They have not been managed by us. I mean, we would have to like throw everybody out and tell them the floors are repaired, you can’t work today and then have them come back a couple of days later.

Sam:                                      30:29                     You could work in the garden actually.

Johannes:                           30:31                     Yeah, that’s true. It’s not big enough, everyone, I don’t think. Anyway. So like the, the most successful category. So one, one very successful category is a furniture making. Right. So, a lot of both like personal customers, households come to us for the furniture that they, that they want, right? Like let’s say somebody moves to Kenya and they need to furnish the house and it’s often quite nice to have something made for you as opposed to, I don’t know, buying imported furniture. So that category is growing quite nicely and is quite big. It also has a lot of synergies with the projects business and with the…

Sam:                                      31:01                     Would you call it like Lynk, soft landing or something like…

Johannes:                           31:04                     Exactly. You’re right, you get a massage, then you get like your furniture delivered the next day and you have a caterer come in the evening. Yeah, we should definitely do that. Packaging is something I haven’t done enough yet. We should do more.

Sam:                                      31:15                     Yeah. All right. So just a little bit about the company. So how many employees, how many Lynk employees?

Johannes:                           31:21                     Do you know what? I don’t know. I’ve lost track. I think it is 45.

Sam:                                      31:25                     Wow.

Johannes:                           31:25                     We’ve gone enough in the last few days.

Sam:                                      31:27                     Last few days?

Johannes:                           31:30                     So many people have been joining. Wait, we raised a lump sum, So…

Sam:                                      31:32                     Okay.

Johannes:                           31:32                     We had some money to spend. Not like I think a big difference is we’re now hiring more senior people, which, which is a lot of relief to us. There’s now people in the company who are a lot smarter than us, a lot better than us at the things that they’re doing and the things that they’re focusing on which is a big relief, right? We had to, for a while, be the smartest in the room and that’s a lot of burden. And now people are better than us, which is just great.

Johannes:                           31:56                     Yeah.

Johannes:                           31:56                     So I think about 45 people and we would like to grow to somewhere in the range of 70. However, we cannot do this in this house. We have to move office.

Sam:                                      32:07                     Okay, so, and so, yeah, I mean, I guess related, how has this whole funding been for the last like few years?

Johannes:                           32:17                     Very difficult. So I mean, we’ve been quite good at it to be honest, but still it took us quite a while to close our current round. We, I mean we all know the stories where people speak to hundreds of investors and before they can close their rounds or sell their companies, so I don’t know what it was seven of us. We had, we had lots and lots of conversations with lots and lots of different people. I think it was like, while it costs a lot of time and a lot of energy and a lot of head-space and I think it helped us a lot to really refine exactly what it is that we’re working on, right? Like to really understand given the criticism that we sometimes receive and given the feedback that we sometimes receive, really refine, like this is the right thing to focus on because we’ve gotten all of this feedback and we can distill it and make ourselves be smarter as a result of it. So it was quite a nice process.

Sam:                                      33:05                     Okay. Well what do you think was the clincher?

Johannes:                           33:09                     I think the clincher is has been that we have interesting traction to show in almost all of them. I think they serve different purposes for different business units, and I think it has been quite attractive for a lot of the investors that we are so active in the business side.

Sam:                                      33:27                     So, basically you raised a bunch of money a few years ago, and that’s kind of just been seeing you through all that. How is it, how’s that be doing in terms of operational profitability, things like that.

Johannes:                           33:37                     Operational profitability. The tough questions. No, I mean we’re very much a marketplace business and, and it is a well understood by us and our investors that those need time to grow. Right? Like you, you can usually not expect to just live off your margins. We do have an opportunity for this, right? Like in theory we could say, let’s scale up our margins a little bit and let’s scale down our team and we’d be profitable but we are not interested in running a small economy, right, like Adam and I both want to build a big business that has the opportunity to scale across Africa and operate in a similar model in different countries. So what we’re doing now is really figuring out how growing in a market looks like for us. Right? So like figuring out the commercial side a little bit better, refining, for example, our business product, which isn’t fully defined, right? Like we’re still in the process of really understanding what exactly is the best value proposition that we can offer. There’s a couple of things that we think might be it, but we need to validate them with our customers, right? We can’t just go out there and say, this is what we think is the best value proposition and afterwards it was wrong. And then in the next round would be around expansion, right? So we will maybe towards the end of this round we will maybe have boots on the ground in a second market, but probably not.

Sam:                                      34:49                     So just Kenya.

Johannes:                           34:51                     At the moment just Kenya.

Sam:                                      34:51                     Just Nairobi?

Johannes:                           34:53                     Yeah.

Sam:                                      34:54                     Just Nairobi.

Johannes:                           34:54                     I mean our project team is active across Kenya. So we, we’ve built houses, we’ve built, we have done projects in Kisumu and in other places.

Sam:                                      35:03                     Yeah.

Johannes:                           35:03                     So we are active across Kenya a little bit. We do have even a, what we’d like to call a special project that is spanning multiple Kenyan counties, but the marketplace, the platform is only active in Nairobi.

Sam:                                      35:15                     Okay.

Johannes:                           35:16                     And most of OUR workers are here.

Sam:                                      35:17                     Yeah. Okay. So how much do you actually want to scale. Like it might be, I don’t know, not about straightforward, I’m thinking it might not be that straightforward in order to scale, let’s say you just go to Rwanda.

Johannes:                           35:31                     Yeah, we’d have to set up operations in the new places. Right. So I mean, in terms of the platform and the market place, it’s not crazy, right? Because what, a lot of the work that we have been doing in the last few years, it’s actually understanding exactly what are the services that we’re offering them. How are they exactly defined? And what I told you earlier about the micro franchising, right? We really understand what is a good definition for a product that a beautician might offer. And taking that and packaging and repackaging it for Rwanda isn’t very difficult to do. So what you have to do in Rwanda then is find enough workers, which is honestly at this point we don’t need crazy amounts of workers so like given the beautician example, a beautician can do four, five, six jobs in a day, right? And that, if you translate that into monthly numbers, you can do something like 80 to a hundred jobs and that’s just one person. So when you start setting up in a specific location, you don’t need crazy numbers. It’s not, it’s we really need an operations team. We need brand presence and we need our tech to be translated for different occasions. That’s kind of it.

Sam:                                      36:35                     Is it a safe assumption that the beautician service will be the same in Rwanda as it will in Kenya? Right. Are you gonna, or is it safe to say people like to have orange nail Polish and stuff?

Johannes:                           36:47                     Yeah, I mean obviously there’s cultural differences and those kinds of things to take care of. But I think the principle is the same. Right? And if its not polishing your nails then it’s cutting your hair and if it’s not cutting your hair then it’s, I don’t know, cooking something. I don’t know what but like the services aren’t so different. They are not even so different if you compare them to Europe, if you compare them to India, if you compare them to other places. So it’s not crazy. But obviously there’s cultural nuances to take care of. And that’s specifically true when we’re talking about, you know like completely different places. Like where exactly, for example, one market that we find quite attractive is Egypt, right? And then language is different. There’s other cultural nuances to take care of, right. To like, especially delivering, I don’t know, beauty services and things like that. Right. So that is a little more complicated but it’s not crazy. I think the translation of service to other places, is probably the smaller problem to deal with.

Sam:                                      37:33                     Cool. Okay. So there’s the, most of the heavy lifting has been done. In fact you’ve done it for this one market so once there will be some refinement, yeah.

Johannes:                           37:42                     Obviously there’s refinement and I think it is always complicated to have a multinational company that you’re running right with operation teams in different locations and stuff like that. But it’s probably not that we have to redefine whatever Lynk is doing in a different market completely. And they’re probably be quite similar.

Sam:                                      37:56                     Cool. All right. Have you started feeling competition from other companies?

Johannes:                           38:01                     Not at all. I mean this is both a blessing and a curse, right? So this market is difficult. Working with informal sector workers is hard. Asking them to be on time, it’s hard, right? And we think we have quite a good handle on it where like we think we understand the quality that we are actually delivering quite well. We think for somebody to catch up to that level, it’s going to be hard. Right? Like we’re even not very worried of international players coming in, right? If somebody said they want to set up the service market place in Kenya, we’d say ‘karibu,’ good luck and then maybe afterwards they’d buy us because they realize what we’ve built.

Sam:                                      38:35                     Is that still a plausible exit strategy for an international company to come in and buy you Lynk?

Johannes:                           38:42                     Yeah. So in terms of exit strategies, there’s a couple of things that we think could be interesting. I mean, primarily we want to be a scale game, right? Like primarily, we want to build something massive and then hopefully realize opportunities because we’re big but I think services actually synergize quite nicely with a couple of companies that are expanding quite heavily in the markets around us. Right? So like if you’re talking about, I don’t know, motorbike delivery businesses, so stuff like that, or motorbike taxi businesses or stuff like that. And in Southeast Asia you have Go-Jek and others who have both services and deliveries and taxi businesses. And the reason they synergize so well is because for us, a big part of our costs, of our workers costs is transport. Right? If you, if you keep them very busy, then labor doesn’t have to be crazy. And materials is obviously substantial but maybe not, not crazy either. And transport then starts being substantial. Whereas I think margins is one of the big problems that most delivery or taxi companies have, right? Like margins are low in that space. There’s a lot of competition. So there’s probably an interesting opportunity there. We think eCommerce companies often find it attractive to look into services. Amazon has Amazon home services and in Asia, I think in Asia, I’m not sure where they have it. So there’s a couple of opportunities like that that would be interesting.

Sam:                                      39:58                     The reason being is that they’ve got the customer.

Johannes:                           40:01                     Exactly.

Sam:                                      40:01                     What, you know, there’s only so many electrical items that a customer’s gonna want to buy.

Johannes:                           40:06                     Yeah. So then how do you expand the value of that customer? Maybe send them some services. Yeah. We think that could be interesting. Then what I think is very interesting is that we are one of the few companies that are offering products made in Kenya made by the informal sector specifically. And that maybe goes nicely with e-commerce as well, right? If you’re saying, okay, we have furniture made in Kenya and most eCommerce businesses in Kenya are actually just importing stuff from China and selling it here. Maybe there’s a story there as well, right. Where we say we have local guys make local furniture at high quality and decent prices. I think there’s something to be explored there as well.

Sam:                                      40:40                     Yeah. Very cool. Alright. We’ll just do a few more questions. So we last spoke just under three years ago. If we were to speak in another three years, what would you recon, I imagine headquarters would still be in Nairobi, I guess.

Johannes:                           40:58                     Yeah, very likely. I haven’t actually thought about headquarters so much then about expansion markets.

Sam:                                      41:02                     Yeah.

Johannes:                           41:03                     So in three years I would say hopefully we have expanded to let’s say two other markets, we will start thinking about really scaling this business out. We will have saturated the, not saturated, hopefully. I mean, hopefully the market is bigger than that, but we will have started properly owning market share in Nairobi. And we will have gone to two other countries.

Sam:                                      41:28                     Okay. So that’s not like you speak some companies and they’re like boom, we’re going to be in 50 countries in the next year it’s still, it’s a bit of a slow burner.

Johannes:                           41:37                     I mean in three years that’s not a crazy amount of time. Right. So like in three years. So we really do want to spend the next two years in a row. Right. So like as I said, maybe we’ll have boots on the ground in the second market, but only some boots. Right. Not many boots. And then you do need some time to figure out how exactly you’re going to do this. I think it might actually be prudent to take it one at a time in the beginning as opposed to just expanding like all over the place. We do think that most of the conclusions that we’re drawing here in Kenya will apply for other markets as well and we will most likely choose larger markets than Nairobi as our expansion markets. So probably in terms of like market opportunity and potential, those will be quite attractive.

Sam:                                      42:15                     Okay.

Johannes:                           42:15                     So we should also be fast to go to those markets to make sure that we have some kind of first move advantage.

Sam:                                      42:23                     Nice. And when you run out of money you’re gonna have to like raise some more money.

Johannes:                           42:27                     We have to raise more money.

Sam:                                      42:28                     Okay. I’m sure by then you’ll have lots of lovely examples of like how it’s all…

Johannes:                           42:34                     Of course.

Sam:                                      42:35                     And what’s been like, what projects or thing are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months?

Johannes:                           42:43                     You mean like special project? Like things that we want to do in addition, like the loan product, other things? Yeah, I think something that I’m quite excited about and that could offer opportunities as well. I think it would be the inclusion of a wallet in Lynk. I think that’s what we see some of the other marketplaces do, especially in Southeast Asia, right? Like Go-Jek is maybe an example, right? Where they expand the value that their platform has by going into financial services.

Sam:                                      43:10                     These are the value for the worker?

Johannes:                           43:12                     So this will be better for the worker but potentially also for the customer. So we already have a semblance of that. Right? So like customers can hold a balance with Lynk just because they, you pay us money and then use that money to buy services. Right. So yeah, it’s obviously not fully your wallet. There’s also legal question to be answered when you really want to have a woman and stuff like that. On the workers side, I think this is special especially interesting because I think savings is something that the workers really need and usually don’t have in this market. Right. Informal sector workers struggle with savings specifically, right? Like no one says something they find very interesting, but what they actually do need a savings. So you’re going to say, cause I mentioned the payment’s coming quite they coming lumped regularly. Yeah. And l umps. Exactly. And then you don’t have anything for a week and then you have something again and then and with Lynk, yes, we provide you more consistent opportunities. Right. In the more heavily utilized categories. It’s like three, four jobs a day. Right. So that’s, that’s nice but imagine if you can say, okay, I want to keep 5% of all of the money that comes to me through Lynk in a savings account. Right? Like what does that mean for, I don’t know, like a single mother or something like that to be able to save put it, lock it away. Right. So that it doesn’t get touched. I think that has the potential for huge impact. And I think it would make the platform a lot more valuable. So that’s something I’m excited about. I mean, the biggest thing to be excited about right now is scaling out, like starting actually marketing activities, right? Like commercial deep, being commercially more active and present than we have been to date, we were cash constraint until now and now we can actually do interesting stuff. It’ll take us about three, four months to get ready for these kinds of activities. But we’re super excited about it.

Sam:                                      44:40                     Very cool. And as before people can go to

Johannes:                           44:45                     Yes.

Sam:                                      44:46                     Do you ever get called up, like is there an, do you ever get called out by LynkedIn’s back in the funny name? What does he wanna know?

Johannes:                           44:53                     I mean people do get confused quite a lot. That’s true. We don’t get called out. I think there is a product by Microsoft called Link L. I. N. K. so people often confuse it with that…

Sam:                                      45:02                     There are worst associations for people’s house.

Johannes:                           45:03                     But just to be very clear guys, you should go to

Sam:                                      45:07                     Is there an app?

Johannes:                           45:09                     There’s also an app. We, so resource constraints, we have to take it off the play store because it fell behind and features. So like we adjusted, we expanded on the feature set that we had and we just at some point said, okay, we can’t offer net that has less, has fewer features than the website. That’s kind of embarrassing. We’re, sometime this year.

Sam:                                      45:29                     Sometimes this year.

Johannes:                           45:29                     Sometime this year, you haven’t even started working on it. There’s so many things to do.

Sam:                                      45:34                     But yeah, as a first protocol, Okay.

Johannes:                           45:37                     That’s it.

Sam:                                      45:37                     Fantastic. Awesome. Well Johannes, thanks so much.

Johannes:                           45:39                     Awesome. Was a pleasure.


A tech success story. How Africa’s Talking equips African software developers with APIs


In this episode I speak with Bilha Ndirangu who is the CEO of one of Africa’s most successful tech start ups.

Started in Kenya nearly 10 years ago, Africa’s Talking now serves over 5000 customers and has operations in 18 African countries.

Most of this growth has been self-generated, though last year they took on investment of around $10m to fuel the company’s expansion.

For those who have not worked in the tech space, an API (or Application Program Interface) is a way that software developers connect up different bits of technology.

Without APIs things get tricky because if, for example, you want to build an app that sends an SMS to users you need to negotiate directly with the telco to allow them to send messages on your behalf.

This comes with heaps of technical complexity (and sometimes regulation to conform to) which mean it’s incredibly painful to do.

Africa’s Talking takes away all of that complexity by doing the hard work on behalf on developers.

They go across Africa and complete of the headache stuff of integrating with telcos and banks, and then allow developers to seamlessly plug in so their apps/ businesses can easily begin accepting payments and sending SMSes.

It’s a great business model which gets better with the network effects of them expanding to more countries.

In this episode Bilha and I talk about the company’s formation, how it’s changed upon its recent growth spurt, and how the bigger the company gets, the more it becomes defensible against outside competition.

I really hope you enjoy this episode with Bilha.


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Sam:                                      00:00                     Intro

Sam:                                      02:19                     We’re here today with Bilha from Africa’s Talking. Bilha welcome to the show.

Bilha:                                     02:23                     Thank you.

Sam:                                      02:25                     To get us started, can you tell us just a bit about you and a bit about Africa’s Talking?

Bilha:                                     02:28                     Okay. So my name is Bilha, obviously I’m the CEO at Africa’s Talking and been at the role for the last six months. So I’m just taking over from my co founder and former CEO Sam Gikandi. So, a little bit more about Africa’s Talking. So we are a tech company founded in Kenya and headquarters, founded and headquartered in Kenya, so been around for the last seven years. We were founded sorry, nine years cause we were founded in 2010. But the reason I say seven years is because the first couple of years we were sort of doing different things until we finally pivoted into what we’re currently doing in our business in 2012. And so we’re currently doing is we build APIs. Those are application programming interfaces and what, the purpose is to help software developers connect to infrastructure on the continent. What I mean by that is we want to help software developers be able to build the applications, whatever applications they’re building, whether it’s farmer solutions or eCommerce solutions, etc. And be able to, what once they’ve done that be able to connect to tel-cos and payment providers because at the end of the day, they do need to get paid. They need to communicate to their clients. And so we recognize that there’s actually, it’s quite difficult for an individual software developer or a startup or a small company wanting to build something and then have to go to the tel-cos or the big banks and get the integrations done. And so what what the business does or at least the solution we are bringing to the table is how do we democratize access to tel-cos and banking institutions and also make it easier even for the tel-cos themselves to reach software developers because they don’t have to deal with individual developers. They sort of just deal with us and then we would sort of bring all these developers.

Sam:                                      04:25                     Very cool. Okay. So it’s like technically it’s complicated to, I imagine have these relationships with tel-cos and if you’re a small little startup, it’s almost impossible.

Bilha:                                     04:37                     It’s virtually impossible.

Sam:                                      04:38                     Because you’ve basically done the hard work for them and then you set your, the service you sell to these small startups is because we can do this at scale, we can offer a much more affordable.

Bilha:                                     04:49                     So because you can do this at scale one, we can even offer it to you in the first place because as you said, it’s virtually impossible to get it. So, I mean, before we had all these startups or developers would build solutions but couldn’t figure out a way to get paid or couldn’t figure out how to communicate to their clients on SMS, etc. Or you, you know. So firstly really just remove that huddle, but then our second year, as you said, And then there’s also, the other thing that I forgot to mention is it’s also regulated because you’re talking about communications and payments. So in many ways,you still need to get some approval from a government regulator, which again, can be quite a hassle. So because we’ve actually gone ahead and gotten those regulations in place,that’s one thing that the developer doesn’t have to worry about. And the third thing, as you said. Yeah, now it’s this thing around reduced pricing because we’re able to communicate,negotiate better pricing with the aggregate, with the tel-cos,and then they would sell, you know, in smaller quantities to the developers.

Sam:                                      05:47                     Yes. Interesting. The price isn’t actually the top in, one of the top two. It’s simply just the ability to give you the service like, that’s quite interesting, like you’ve really just opened up this market.

Bilha:                                     05:59                     Exactly. Yeah. I mean cause at the end of the day, we think about it anyone building an application and when I say anyone, it could be a business. It could be a software developer that’s trying out something, an enterprise or a small SME. Your biggest thing is you do need to figure out a way to communicate with your clients and then once you finish communicating with them, whether it’s a payment reminder or it’s, say let me tell you about my new product. Once you’ve engaged the client you also need to get paid at the end of the day. So it’s a kind of thing where once that’s available and it’s a lot easier to integrate into different applications and services it was not, it was naturally easy for it to become a top product in the market just because it’s something that people needed and I think ATK, Africa’s Talking came in and was solving a real need and so it’s not difficult to, for people to understand why I need it because they’re actually, they’re constantly figuring out how do we get clients who engage with us or how do we get our, how do we engage with our clients?

Sam:                                      06:57                     Yeah. What sort of scale is Africa’s Talking at now?

Bilha:                                     07:01                     In terms of scale, so there are different ways you measure scale, so we have about 30,000 software developers that have been signed onto our platform and we keep growing that number. I mean, our goal is to hopefully have about a million African developers signed onto the platform. We’re currently in about in 18 markets and growing. So in 10 markets,

Sam:                                      07:24                     Does 10 markets mean 18 countries.

Bilha:                                     07:24                     18 countries, yes. So, in 10 of those countries, we actually have people on the ground and operational, and then the other eight markets initial, we are looking to ‘operationalize’ for the next few months. But the goal is to go across the 54 markets a team of about 130 people and growing. And yeah.

Sam:                                      07:47                     So 30,000 developers, are developed your customers?

Bilha:                                     07:50                     Yes. So we, the way we think about it is that we think about our customers as developers. I mean, of course. Which is yeah, behind the developer will probably be a business. What I mean by that is there might be an individual developer who is just kind of, you know building their own stuff, etc. But in many cases, you tend to be a business that’s looking to integrate our services into their workflows. So some of our biggest clients, for example, tend to be mobile phone lenders or, you know, clients that are, or companies that are doing micro-financing or doing you know, the pay as you go, sort of energy solutions, etc. But even big supermarkets, etc. So all these tend to be our clients because at the end of the day, as I said, businesses need to communicate with their end customers. But we like to think about the accounts from a developer perspective so that even if it’s a business that’s represented, we still like to think about it as a, as a developer. Because for us, we are selling a technical product and we are only as good as what developers think of our product. So a business could like our product, but then if their developers don’t or don’t want to use it. Yeah. Don’t want to integrate, just becomes a real pain, you know, they kind of be like, okay, I don’t want to do this. Yes.

Sam:                                      09:07                     So do you have, How many like paying entities? I’m trying to think of like…

Bilha:                                     09:13                     So I’ll probably put it at 5,000.

Sam:                                      09:14                     So 5,000 and,

Bilha:                                     09:16                     Yeah.

Sam:                                      09:16                     Okay. And so then average of six developers per…

Bilha:                                     09:20                     Exactly. So it could be that or the other way it could be so it’s 5,000, but then there’s a lot of developers that we haven’t found ways to monetize and we’re still figuring out how to monetize them so it could be…

Sam:                                      09:29                     Could they still derive value from so many.

Bilha:                                     09:32                     Exactly. It’s kind of thing where they’ve probably, you know, cause creating an account on the platform is free. So any developer who hears about us can create an account and then tends to, what tends to happen sometimes is that they will build something but they don’t really take it to production or they’re just learning how to use the APIs but they haven’t found a way to monetize it. So, yeah. So yeah, so I’ve kind of put it at, what, 30,000 that we’ve registered and we want to keep signing that on. We have about 5,000 that we’ve actually monetized. So at least we’ll be able to move them from creating an account, learning how to use a product to actually building something that they can actually pay for.

Sam:                                      10:06                     Cool. Okay. And you said that most of the ways in which people, so Africa’s Talking, you’ve kind of, you’ve gone in, you’ve, you’ve done these integrations with banks, with how it goes and stuff and you basically said, okay, out of this there were various services. Is that right? So you, Africa’s Talking has various services, you’ve got like SMS.

Bilha:                                     10:26                     Yeah. So there’s several services. So I mean the way I like to think about it is anything like tel-co or a bank, or any other infrastructure providers sell, we can find a way to expose it to software developers in an easy way. In an easy to consume sort of manner, as have some of the products that have sort of fallen out of that sphere are SMS. So these are the typical, your bulk SMS or two way SMS. When I say two way, it’s when, you’ve heard of short codes. So you’re able to do SMS, there’s USSD, which is a three digit number. So the *435#, that’s quite, I mean it’s quite, it’s still quite useful, especially in this side of the world because it has feature, feature Phones are still a big part of the way…

Sam:                                      11:08                     So it’s a USC, it’s basically like a really light version of an app, but it works on a feature phone. And so you kind of just go through a bit of a menu.

Bilha:                                     11:18                     Exactly.

Sam:                                      11:18                     Is that right?

Bilha:                                     11:19                     So *4543# and then say like, my bank actually gives me a USSD option in addition to the app they give me. And I can query my balance. I can, you know, do some basic transfers, I can. So I can pretty much do a lot of things that you could do with an app, but of course not as feature rich, but very useful in this side of the world because most people either use feature phones or even those that have smart phones, Data is still really expensive. So most people I know…

Sam:                                      11:46                     Really, so even if you had a smartphone.

Bilha:                                     11:48                     Yes.

Sam:                                      11:48                     You wouldn’t download, say the KCB banking app?

Bilha:                                     11:52                     No. I mean they probably would, but very few. Most people wouldn’t.

Sam:                                      11:54                     Yeah.

Bilha:                                     11:55                     Or even if they had it, they wouldn’t use it because they don’t pay for, I mean data is one of those things that still are very, people use it, but I mean when we talk to people on the ground, it’s a very, it’s still very…

Sam:                                      12:07                     Yeah. People like aware of how many megabytes they’ve got left?

Bilha:                                     12:10                     Exactly. They are very conscious or actually most of what I want, what’s interesting is that people actually buy it on a daily basis. So it’s one of those things.

Sam:                                      12:18                     Really.

Bilha:                                     12:18                     Yeah. So the tel-cos actually offer this, so they have I think offers as low as 20 megabytes a day or something like that. And so in that case, someone would probably budget their megabytes on, I want to use this amount on social media, I want to use this on, you know, very, you know, very specific things. So they don’t necessarily have the luxury of I want to do a transaction on my whatever. Let me go to KCB, let me go to my mobile phone app and build that, leave alone any other sort of application. So USSD remains like a really big we have at least getting people to sort of interact with applications on this side of the world.

Sam:                                      12:54                     Okay. So you basically built technology where relatively.

Bilha:                                     12:59                     It’s almost plug and play. I mean it still requires a bit of integration, but in as, something that would have taken you months on end to do, would literally take you 30 minutes if you’re a good developer. Yes, exactly. And then we sort of, we also shield you from all the work from the tel-cos because you do have to raise the code and map it to the tel-co, etc. So that’s a lot of the work that we take away from the software developers.

Sam:                                      13:22                     Okay. So you, you’re currently doing that, so you started in Kenya?

Bilha:                                     13:25                     Yes.

Sam:                                      13:27                     You’re now in 18 markets. Does that mean that each country you go to, you need to do these difficult integration, these difficult things?

Bilha:                                     13:34                     Yes. So each country we go to, firstly, as I said, it’s a regulated environment because it’s dealing with communications and payments. So in each market you actually have to go to the regulator and get some kind of license. And then once you’re done, go talk to the different tel-cos and start over.

Sam:                                      13:48                     You’ve got an exasperated grin your face.

Bilha:                                     13:53                     But on the other hand, I think about it and I’m kind of like, that’s actually why we’re in business because if this was easy then anyone could sort of go and do it because we actually have really big clients who have the clout and could take, could actually go to a tel-co and get integrations themselves because they’re big enough and the tel-co, you know, but they still want to work with us because when, once they think about the pain of, you know, having to talk to each tel-co, go through the integration process and then maintain the integrations because there’s a constant maintenance and support that’s required. We find a lot of clients are just kind of like, you know what, let’s just deal with one person that’s Africa’s Talking. If anything breaks, I know the person I call, I don’t have to call like multiple engineers in different tel-cos to sort of work on this. So in as much as it’s an exasperating process, I recognize that’s actually part of the biggest value add we bring to the table. And for me the other thing that’s useful about it is that it allows companies, software developers to think a little bit more Pan-African because we exist. And what I mean by that is I’ve seen clients come in, maybe start out with us in Kenya, but because we do have a presence in say Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, they are sort of able to think, Oh I could actually extend my product to all these other markets and because Africa’s Talking is actually there, I don’t need to do any other integrations. My one integration with Africa’s Talking will allow me to reach customers in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, without having to do any extra work. So that’s, I think for me one of the biggest, I think one of the most important reasons why expansion is important.

Sam:                                      15:23                     Have you seen many examples of that happening?

Bilha:                                     15:25                     Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I mean I have clients for example, who’ve told me they’ll only expand to the markets we are in.

Sam:                                      15:31                     Okay.

Bilha:                                     15:31                     Because it kind of like, I don’t want to have to think about integrations and so they follow us where we go. The other thing is we’ve seen, actually part of, what sort of drove us to start expanding is because we talked to some clients who’d come in, start out in Kenya and then very quickly, because Kenya is a very, it’s a very interesting market but still fairly small. I mean think about the population, there’s about 40 to 50 million people. So very quickly companies start to think, wait, I could go to Uganda, I could go to Tanzania, I could go to Rwanda, just sort of have an East African sort of presence. And so very quickly they start asking us, can you help us reach customers in those markets? But now interestingly, because now we’ve also gone to West Africa and starting to look into Southern Africa. There’s a presence in Nigeria and as soon as we landed there clients immediately started, asking us are you in Ghana? So that also drives some of our expansion. But also at the same time, I’ve seen Kenyan clients now who have actually had the, you know who actually said, you know what, we’ll actually go try out Nigeria because Africa’s Talking is there. So it’s the same product so we don’t have to worry about the technical side of things. Now it’s more let’s go and try and sell it.

Sam:                                      16:40                     Are there any countries where you’ve said, right, we want to go there. And you tried and you’re like, you know, this is even too hard for us?

Bilha:                                     16:46                     So far, no. I think probably because we do have, I mean when you think about our vision, it’s very Pan-African and it’s very, we’re very entrenched in making sure that, excuse me, we’re very entrenched in making sure that this, this, this technologies are available across Africa. I mean, given the name Africa’s Talking.

Sam:                                      17:05                     Yeah.

Bilha:                                     17:05                     So I think we have a little bit more of a different DNA where we’re willing to go into difficult markets. I mean, that said, of course there are markets where you kind of look at it and you say, okay, this is going to be a little bit more difficult. Let’s sort of give it a more longer term.

Sam:                                      17:21                     Which are some that have been particularly difficult?

Bilha:                                     17:24                     I would say so for example, we are currently registered in Sierra Leone and DRC and so we are, we actually want to go in and do business, but then it’s kind of like, okay, let’s take this a bit more slowly than we would you know, from some of the other markets. For on the flip side, I also come to appreciate that every market is actually quite difficult in its own way, just given the intricacies of doing business in Africa. So I could actually tell you, even in the markets that we’re in, there’s been definitely some obvious challenges. So, I mean, I think rather than saying this market is much easier than this other market I feel like it’s a lot easier to just, it’s, it’s, I think what makes more sense. Is fantasy. Okay. Doing business in Africa has its challenges and I think someone coming to do business in Africa should be willing to embrace that. But then once we embrace that and I was going to a market, you can sort of say, okay, this are the issues, let’s fix them. Because in as much as, for example, we are a Kenyan company any other new market I go into, it almost feels like we’re having to start a fresh. Yes, the policies might look the same, but you have to deal with different policies. Your having dealt with tel-cos I think quite differently. And especially what’s interesting is to watch how tel-cos, banks, etc Are still very localized in as much as you might have like a global brand or like a Pan-African brand. Once you go and talk to the tel-cos in each market, they think very differently. They view the market very differently. So it’s almost a completely, completely different conversation from the last conversation you had with them. Yeah.

Sam:                                      19:03                     So you’ve got 130. How, what’s the rough split between what everyone does? What’s the split between what everybody does?

Bilha:                                     19:14                     So I think, I’ll probably put it at 50% engineering, so we’re still a very hardcore engineering company cause we build all our technology in house.

Sam:                                      19:22                     And those engineers, they are doing the difficult integrations?

Bilha:                                     19:25                     Yes.

Sam:                                      19:26                     Okay. So that’s what, okay.

Bilha:                                     19:27                     Yeah. So that’s, yeah. So they build, they do the integrations and they build the layer that developers can connect to and all the dashboards and everything that yeah, pertains to that. And then probably not the remaining people probably put out about 20% doing operations. And then we have fairly decent client relations and sales sort of organization.

Sam:                                      19:53                     Okay.

Bilha:                                     19:53                     Yeah

Sam:                                      19:54                     Okay, cool. So it’s, yeah, heavier on the engineering side of things. And then how many people sit in Kenya?

Bilha:                                     20:03                     Kenya is still one of our largest markets, I’ll probably put it at about in 90 people. Yeah. And then the rest of the people are now scattered in the other markets.

Sam:                                      20:11                     And when you do, for example, let’s say you go to Rwanda, yes. And you have to integrate with the tel-cos. Is that done from the engineers here or do you have to have engineers in Rwanda doing that?

Bilha:                                     20:23                     So I, there’s two levels. So there swamp. So yeah, so these two levels integration. So I think the hardcore engineering because it’s, it’s more or less similar set of APIs and we found that it’s a lot easier to sort of localize engineering and have the engineers sit in Kenya. So say we go to Rwanda our person on the ground who leases the tel-cos and makes sure that we get the different information that we need and then convey that to the engineers here. Sometimes engineers might need to go to Rwanda, or to the country and spend a few days or weeks finalizing integrations. So once that’s done, we then find that there’s support, the constant support that’s required. But that’s not as involving as the original integrations. So in that case, you might have like a tech support person or an engineer sort of sitting in a different markets. We have already funded a lot of that core engineering work gets done out of Nairobi.

Sam:                                      21:19                     Okay. And how has the company been funded to date?

Bilha:                                     21:23                     So for the longest time we bootstrapped the company, so it was the founders kind of just putting in their own money and it did help that we got profitable quite quickly, which is not your typical sort of cycle for a tech company.

Sam:                                      21:37                     What, why, why could Africa’s Talking get profitable quickly, whereas others couldn’t?

Bilha:                                     21:43                     I think it was, as I said, I think we came in and we hit something. We found a need very quickly. Like, I mean, I think there’s a, the product what we call it, the pro, the, the problem we’re solving was a real problem. And I think the one, the minute to able to release the APIs into the market there’s a real hunger around it. But I think it also helped that we maintained a very lean team in those days. So it was, you know the founder, one of the founders is an engineer, so it brings a lot of the engineering work that our founder kind of helped. Just make sure that we got our Tel-co connections done and that lessons and everything. So I think what helped is that we definitely have a lean team. And so as soon as one, we didn’t have the, you know, we didn’t have massive expenses and we raised the production, you know, almost day one, it kind of go the product market fit as we had a lot of people signing on. So that kind of helped to get as profitable quite quickly. So it was sort of, you know, keep the business sort of funding the business out of, you know, out of its own pocket. But last year we took our first series a investment from the IFC and orange digital ventures.

Sam:                                      22:56                     IFC?

Bilha:                                     22:56                     Yes. So the info, I see it’s the investment arm of the world bank. Oh, yes, yes. So they do have a venture capital group that are…

Sam:                                      23:04                     Is that like a commercially focused, really?

Bilha:                                     23:09                     Yes, yes, yes. Exactly. Yes. I know that the, yes, it is well behind they have the arm that’s called the IFC. Yeah. And so they do commercially, you know, targeted or commercially geared investments. And so, yeah, so last year we took funding from them and part of the reason we, the business was still profitable then, but then we thought it might be worthwhile to like bring in some partners on board for extra funding. And then it actually helped us expand a lot faster, especially given that our mission is actually go across the continent, would kind of been able to kind of keep doing the slow burn sort of expansion, but then you realize, no, we actually do want to go to, you know, we want to go across the continent a lot faster. And that of course requires a lot more people and requires a lot more…

Sam:                                      24:00                     Higher ahead of the curve.

Bilha:                                     24:02                     Exactly. Exactly. So that’s when,

Sam:                                      24:03                     Wow, okay. That must be quite exciting.

Bilha:                                     24:06                     Was actually yeah, definitely quite exciting. Changes the tone and all of a sudden, that’s where the massive growth came in. I mean, I think up till last before last year, we’re about 40 people in the company. And so we’ve literally tripled.

Sam:                                      24:20                     What’s been like some ways that other than I guess you need me needing to get a bigger office. Like what are some things we should change in the company, but also what some things would just stay the same.

Bilha:                                     24:34                     I think what’s changed a lot, quite a lot has changed. I mean I always joke with the team where, I remember the days where it would all sit in the board room. The entire company would sit in the boardroom and would all fit in one room. Now all of a sudden you’re like, no, we cannot fit in one room And so would that makes sense. I mean it makes for different. It’s a, just a different way of communicating. So where else before it could have been easy sort of make all decisions around the table and everyone knew everyone was in a way where things happening this way, etc. Now you don’t have the same luxury and you have to be a little more than, at least from my perspective, it to be a lot more deliberate about how you communicate, who you communicate to with. How do you, cause I am still very passionate about making sure that everyone feels like they’re part of the company and they’re contributing and their ideas are hard and that can become a lot more difficult. The bigger you grow and you start sort of forming sort of hierarchies where this person has to report to, this person has reported to this person. And so part of the conversations right now for me has been how do we definitely bring a lot more management. So kind of making sure that everyone knows what they’re doing and they’re properly managed. But at the same time you’re not killing their culture, which was everyone could bring the ideas to the table and could feel hard and and contributed to, you know, feel like they’re contributing to how that organization was moving forward. So I think learning how to communicate to a bigger team and making sure that all those ideas are still bubbling to the top, the best ideas are still bubbling to the top regardless of someone’s role or how long they’ve been in the company. I think that’s been one of the biggest challenge.

Sam:                                      26:08                     Yeah. How have you done it? Do you have like a Slack channel?

Bilha:                                     26:14                     We use Slack a lot.

Sam:                                      26:15                     Okay.

Bilha:                                     26:15                     So lots of different channels. But also I think we’ve kind of re optimized the team. So kind of have sort of broken down the teams into like having really small teams focused on very specific things because I think that’s a lot easier for, in as much as it’s a big company, people don’t feel like they’re part of, you know, they’re not part of this huge thing that credit. Yeah. So they, they, they, they don’t quite know where everything is going. So the premise is that if we can have people focused on one product for example, and you just have a team of maximum of 10 people in the team that sort of helps people kind of feel like, okay, yes, I’m part of a bigger company. But…

Sam:                                      26:56                     Day to day, my team,

Bilha:                                     26:57                     I know one of my team, I know what we are, we are all about, we have, you know. So I think that’s a lot easier for, from a management perspective, but also from getting everyone on the team kind of feel like I can contributing my ideas don’t have to get swallowed up with this big company.

Sam:                                      27:12                     Okay. Let’s say you’ve got 10 people team, is that made up or some engineers? Some…

Bilha:                                     27:18                     Exactly. So we kind of created that, which the whole goal is trying to create self autonomous you know, what’s the word? Autonomous teams. And so if you’re a product team, you kind of have like some engineers, some sales people, client relations, people support people. So within the team they can sort of do almost anything that needs to get done for that product. We are having to rely on people from the outside. So helps them hopefully move a lot. I mean the thesis that hopefully they’ll move a lot faster so you don’t have to wait for an external resource to, you know, fix up, fix an issue. That’s what you need, fix, etc. But everyone sort of understands the product a lot better and they all hopefully all have the same goal to grow the product. And so the engineer’s hopefully are working in sync with the sales people, with the client relations people. And you sort of, you minimize what I think I see in some organizations where suddenly you have organizations where the sales people, the technical people don’t talk to each other or they’re quite siloed. And so sales or promotions is pushing in one direction. Engineering is pushing a different direction and somehow there’s always, you know, things don’t quite always work. But I think if you sort of what we’ve seen is you can create this thing which in commercials and engineer engineering you’ve got my sales person and I’m going out there to sell. I’m confident that whatever I tell my clients or sell to the clients my engineers will actually, that’s does, that’s exactly what they’re building. And the same thing, the engineers know that if they build things. That’s actually what’s gonna get sold. So you don’t have this sort of thing where engineers will staff and no one is selling it or I go there and sell. But when 10 years on a river to fulfill. Yeah.

Sam:                                      28:55                     What are some things that have stayed the same since you’ve gone from 40 to 130?

Bilha:                                     29:00                     I think we’re also a novelist. Try to create a, we want to try to create a culture where people hopefully feel like this is, it goes beyond the job. I mean you I keep telling people you spend more than you, you know, most of your life is actually spent in the office. So the people you work with you know, are probably even much more closer to you as it were than any other person just because of the amount of time you spend with them. And so to the extent that we can sort of still maintain a familial culture and people feel like, you know what, I’m excited to come work here. People are nice. People actually want generally help each other. So it’s not a cutthroat sort of environment. I mean to a large extent I think, I feel like we’ve been able to sort of still maintain that and hopefully people still feel like, you know what I’m being pushed to, I’m being challenged to work, you know, to do, to do something more and more, and people, the people I find in the office are actually my friends, it’s not just coworkers that I, you know, come do some work and then leave. Yeah, so very much we’re very serious about what we’re trying to do and what you’re trying to achieve, but still very laid back in at the same time. Yeah,

Sam:                                      30:12                     I noticed outside a lot of people having lunch is lunch free?

Bilha:                                     30:16                     On Fridays only. Yeah. I’ve been thinking about trying to make it free every single day, but hey, actually the numbers actually

Sam:                                      30:22                     Series B, maybe, series B from it yet, but, but did people generally sort of eat food together and…

Bilha:                                     30:29                     Yeah. So most. Yeah, most people kind of just hung out and even hung out after work, which is a great thing I think.

Sam:                                      30:33                     Yeah.

Bilha:                                     30:34                     Yeah. So lunchtime, people either sit on the lounge or go out to together?

Sam:                                      30:39                     Very cool. So in terms of the opportunities, I mean from my understanding is Africa’s Talking is in this pretty cool position where you’re going and you’re doing this hard work that no one else is doing and then you need to turn around and sell your services to developers or clients.

Bilha:                                     30:58                     Yeah.

Sam:                                      30:58                     What are some of the challenges in the making money aspects of it? I guess there are sort of technical challenges with doing integrations, but in terms of actually for example, like going to Sierra Leone, what are some of the challenges in actually sort of making sure that you’ve got the generate enough revenue from that, from that market to make it up?

Bilha:                                     31:17                     I mean, I think two things, one I think once you’ve kind of gone through the hurdle of getting integrations, which is really hard on its own. I think that the second thing is because we’re selling a technical product and we are, it’s, it’s a product that still needs a software developer to integrate our system to whatever application he’s building or he’s building for his clients. Part of the challenge has been finding developers in the different markets we are in and getting them to know what to build and how to use it and being able to say, okay, you know what, I understand cause they see the value, but I guess they, they will sort of be able to do the integrations and

Sam:                                      31:55                     Is it ultimately dependent on people being able to make money from tech products?

Bilha:                                     32:03                     Yeah, exactly.

Sam:                                      32:04                     Yeah.

Bilha:                                     32:05                     Cause I think the more you have either that or businesses that actually understand or see the value of digitizing their processes. Because if I’m an enterprise and I think it’s important to communicate with my clients where SMS or, you know, or smart you know, voice system, then I’ll actually put the money into kind of, you know, Hey, let’s develop a system that can do that and I’m willing to pay for the SMSs, I’m willing to pay for the voice minutes. So to a large extent, I think it’s, and it’s a different, different ecosystems are different levels. So the more we can find businesses that are willing to put in money to digitize their process, then that becomes easier for us to sell the products we have.

Sam:                                      32:45                     You’ve currently, one is the the startup, which is looking to build a tech platform, but the other is just going to be organizations saying you’ve got loads of inefficient services that you’re doing versus you going, yeah, you use Africa’s Talking and we’ll make it so much easier.

Bilha:                                     33:02                     Exactly.

Sam:                                      33:02                     What’s the rough split? Are there any other types of customer or is it just those two and what’s the sort of split?

Bilha:                                     33:10                     I managed to get the actual numbers. I mean when I think about it like I think I’ll probably say 70% would probably be in the start-up area or sort of setups. Yeah. So very much heavy in the start up ecosystem especially in Kenya,

Sam:                                      33:27                     Is that 70% in terms of number in terms of revenue generated?

Bilha:                                     33:31                     I’ll probably say number.

Sam:                                      33:33                     Okay.

Bilha:                                     33:33                     Yeah. So revenue is still revenue is still very much on the enterprise side of things because at the end of the day, the businesses just have a lot more money to spend. So in as much as we may have a lot more startups. But even startups, I mean I think it’s it’s dependent because I mean you have startups that have raised quite a bit of money, so they are operating very much in a very different league compared to a startup that’s just kind of, you know, getting started and hasn’t raised quite a bit, hasn’t raised much money. So yes, they definitely wanna use a platform and we see their spend. But, you know, it’s until they actually have the resources, they can actually spend a lot more. But what you see is that businesses grow with us. So that, someone actually, you know, we’ve seen startups start with us and maybe the first couple of months they’re not able to do a lot more on the platform. But as their businesses grow or as they raise funding, we actually see their spend on the platform growing or increasing. So for us it’s really important to sell the value to anyone that’s building technology because technology scales. So we believe that if someone comes in and likes the platform from day one, maybe the money, they won’t spend a lot day one but then as whatever it is they’re building creates more value or gains, becomes more valuable. It then translates into more usage on the platform.

Sam:                                      34:47                     Is there much resistance? I’m trying to maybe on the enterprise side, resistance to using Africa’s Talking. Are there, maybe not competitors, but what are some of the other alternatives that exist for,

Bilha:                                     35:00                     Well of course I wouldn’t say necessarily resistance. I think it’s more, maybe it’s the, the couple of things. One could be that they’re probably locked up in a long term contract with a different provider. So the question could be how do you come in and make sure that, you know, the next time they’re doing a contract or something you, you’re part of that. Of course there’s some enterprises that might say it’s easy for us to go directly to Safaricom or to one of the tel-cos. Again, that works fine if the tel-cos is just, if the the business is trying to do a short term thing and they can go to and tel-co, but very quickly breaks up, breaks apart when they try and go to multiple tel-cos. And then just, I think just learning how to, I think for us it’s also learning how to sell to big customers. We started off as an engineering startup and so we’re very good. We really understand the developer mindset. Exactly. Software engineering. And so it’s been easier for us to sort of penetrate the, startup developers. Exactly. So now we’re having to learn how to work with enterprises and just realize that they have a different sales cycle and ways of doing business.

Sam:                                      36:09                     What are some interesting things you’ve learned?

Bilha:                                     36:12                     It’s basic things like they create budgets like years in advance or like a whole year in advance. And so if you miss the budget cycle, you know you’re out of that business kind of thing sometimes it might just be simple things around could you talk in an organization because it, maybe, the engineering is quite different from, you know, the person making the decision.

Sam:                                      36:34                     And you could be very excited.

Bilha:                                     36:36                     Precisely. But the person who’s making the decision, finance or whoever it is.

Sam:                                      36:42                     What’s the rough, like not specific, but rough figure that some, if, let’s say you’re a thousand person corporate in East Africa or other parts of Africa are we talking like 10,000 us dollars, a hundred thousand US dollars in terms of like how much are we’re actually going to have to pay you pay Africa’s Talking?

Bilha:                                     37:03                     Maybe, which, yeah probably around 10,000 plus whatever. But the thing is they don’t, because of the way our model works we don’t have because for you integrate into the platform it’s free. But then what happens is that it’s not quite sure of how much spend you want to use on the platform. And so the business can decide, you know, what, I want to talk to all my customers and maybe if I have a million customers probably be a lot more or maybe I want to send very, you know, so it’s up to the business and it’s kind of very much dependent on what their communication strategy is and how many of the customers they want to reach and how often, etc. So for us, because the platform is free and you only pay per transaction, we’ve seen businesses kind of, you know, scale up and down depending on either how well the business is doing or their communication needs. And so I don’t think the biggest thing is not so much how much they have to spend. I think for us, at least with enterprise, it’s always more how much, the willingness to get them on board and if they see the need to digitize their processes. Once they’re on board, then know we sort of sit there, their spend can, you know, sort of goes up and down depending on, you know, what they’re thinking about or much they want to spend.

Sam:                                      38:15                     Very cool. Okay. So just a few more questions, I know you’ve got a team meeting to go to. So what do you reckon Africa’s Talking looks like in three years? Or is this someone actually coming in now?

Bilha:                                     38:27                     In three years, a couple of things. One, as I said, we will definitely want to go across the continent. So I think we’ll definitely be a lot more, there’ll be a lot more Africa’s Talking in different markets that you see. We continue to grow the team and I think there’s a question around, you know, how big do you want to grow as a team? But I do see us becoming a you know, just a few more employees. I still don’t have a number in my head, specially just you ought to manage growth in the sense of you want to make sure that everyone coming in is well utilized and, you know, but at the same time we definitely recognize that we might need to, you know, grow the team quite significantly. When the last thing is I think just a product portfolio. So I think right now our product has been very much tel-co and banking related, so offering tel-co services and banking services. And, but the question is whether we can actually find ways to get a lot more products on the platform. And we’ve already decided to do that. So there’s interesting plays around building a platform on IOT, the internet of things a data analytics platform. So there are, but all these products are still all geared towards software developers. And I’m also trying to figure out what other ways to engage software developers, so we’re thinking about things like training, how do we train more developers? Just given that, I think there’s really smart talented developers on the continent. But I think giving them a chance to sort of learn how to, you know, work at a very high performance tech company I think is really important. So finding ways that we can engage the developer ecosystem a lot more than just going beyond the platform that we currently provide.

Sam:                                      40:07                     Very cool. And people who are listening at home. How can they learn more about Africa’s Talking?

Bilha:                                     40:11                     So you can always go to our website, so Of course we’re on Twitter @Africastalking. And so, and same thing on Facebook, but more so, I mean if anyone is actually ever in Nairobi or in any of the markets we are in we keep an open door policy so anyone can walk in any time and you’ll always find someone to talk to, talk to you. Yes. We also do quite a bit of developer outreach events. So especially for folks in campuses or developers. So you’ll probably see as in a campus near you are a tech hub near you in any of the markets that we’re currently operating in.

Sam:                                      40:46                     Fantastic. Cool. Well Bilha, thanks so much.

Bilha:                                     40:48                     Thank you so much.

Relocating top African software developers to European tech teams, with Caspar Coding


An interesting heuristic you can think about when considering companies operating in East Africa is where the demand comes from.

There are lots of businesses you can see where the product or service is developed in the region and ultimately is consumed in East Africa.

Through the lens of this podcast, just look to some recent episodes on Tissue PaperBottled Water Franchises, and Surveys.

Whilst there is certainly a strategy in serving the growing local market, there is certainly a limitation on its size.

There’s a whole different set of companies, operating from East Africa but whose end customer is outside the region.

Caspar Coding is one of them.

They work with European clients to place East African senior software developers directly in their teams.

It’s one area where there’s a huge imbalance. In Western Europe alone there are 5 million openings for senior software developer jobs and lacks the supply of local talent to fill them.

Caspar started off solving this with developers working remotely but now relocate ambitious developers directly to the European country.

Sebastiaan, the CEO, is Dutch and so the early clients have been from there.

This is a really great episode that touches on various themes in the region, such as demographics, finding product-market fit, and ultimately the power of gaining a modern skillset to grow your career.


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Dutch digital nomad

Did marketing automation for a FinTech company, then built a startup called [Tempr] until he lost interest/ challenge.

What struck me about Kenya?

1. Demographics: so many young people
2. English: everyone speaks it
3. Time difference: very similar to Europe

The company has evolved

Started off as building remote teams for tech teams, however, pivoted into relocating developers directly into relocating experienced developers directly into European tech teams.

NGOs train people in tech

Caspar doesn’t focus on generating the skills (there are enough doing that). Instead, it’s about connecting experienced developers with end roles.

Working remotely didn’t work out

Experienced developers were used to working remotely. They were often tasked with bug fixing/ testing which was further from the cutting edge of innovation that they could do. There were also instances of developers being oversold.

Focus group is mid-20s

Not people with families. Instead, those who have a couple of years experience but are at the limits of what Nairobi can offer.

Incentivize people to return

The idea is that with experience, people will then return with more knowledge to start their own work back in Kenya. The finder’s fee for the placing a developer would become the seed funding for their idea.

Who is the buyer?

Remote teams: CTO/ co-founder. Relocation: still figuring it out!

Caspar represents the developer community

There’s a huge demand for senior software developers, but Europe can’t supply it. Caspar helps with unlocking this pool of talent in East Africa.

Why is it called Caspar Coding?

The name of the brother of my co-founder. It was originally InterCode but there’s a company in Kenya called that already.

Corporates are into outsourcing already

The tech teams often work with firms in India etc. Though they’re struggling to compete with innovate startups taking a more agile approach.

Adopting the Spotify agile approach

Caspar’s client (ING Bank) is adopting a more modern approach. More information here

A Dutch candy is our secret weapon

Stroopwafels“Would you like to come to the land of this candy?”

Key lesson

Remote work? Experienced developers have more growth opportunities from relocating to the Netherlands.

Key insight

Western Europe has 5 million job openings for senior software developers. We have to think about where this is going to come from.

Links etc

LinkedIn: Sebastiaan Tan
Access their Telegram group for the developers through their Instagram:

How Busara Center’s unintuitive behavioural insights bring clarity to the complex, with Chaning Jang


A lot of the interviews on The East Africa Business Podcast have been related to individual companies telling their stories, and the lessons they’ve learned.

In this episode, you’ll no doubt come away with a lot of insight, though the dynamic is slightly different.

I’m speaking with Chaning, who is the co-founder of the Busara Center, a behavioural economics lab based in East Africa.

Their roots are in academia, though they have now branched out to applying the insights they generate to other organisations. We also have an interesting conversation around grants, and how Busara will typically work with clients to write grant applications to unlock funding.

In this episode Chaning and I discuss the multitude of problems which the lab have solved, similarities and differences in how people around the world act in certain situations, and how they have scaled to become an organisation of 150 employees operating in multiple countries.

Towards the end Chaning also references a pharmacies business that “sits downstairs”. Nairobi is a small city and he was referencing a company called Maisha Meds. You can listen to that interview that I had with Jess, the CEO by searching for the Medicine podcast in the archives.

As always would be very interested to hear any feedback you have on the podcast, but for now, here is Chaning.


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Other notes

Busara is a decision lab founded on how stress affects decision making. There’s an initial sense of a psychological poverty trap.

It started as academic, and now applies the learnings to organisations and business decision makers.

Busara now have 150 employees around the world. The “lab” is like a computer lab where people play behavioural economics games.

Behaviours move more along income levels, rather than geographical regions. i.e. low-income participants in Kenya and America behave more alike than Kenyans and Americans who are low-income and high-income.

The engagement that they have with clients is working together to solve business problems.

Partner with organisations to help writing grants i.e. solving a problem with a behavioural lens. Grant givers are looking to find innovative solutions to put their money on.

Some examples of the projects which they have funded, including a telco around funding agricultural financing.

There’s an ecosystem that exists around asking and evaluating behavioural questions, including Innovation for Poverty Action and ID Insights.

Companies come to Busara for: high quality data, insights generalisable to the wider industry, drive value in their company.

There are also different levels of project engagement: $20,000 (entry level), $50,000 (rigorous insights) or $100,000+ (longer term engagement).

Lessons and Insights

Biggest lesson: a little physical coin far outperforms SMS intervention in helping people save

Biggest insight: behaviour is more closely linked to income than nationality

Chaning’s big behavioural question: how to properly incentivise network agents to fully align with business goals

Links etc.


Big Data Lending: unlocking commercial capital for Africa with Daniel Goldfarb from Lendable


It’s widely acknowledged that one of the biggest prohibitions to the development of East Africa is lack of capital.

The global economy is premised on aggregating savings in, say, pension funds and then deploying it to areas where it will earn a return.

This investment is what generates economic activity – stimulating business growth and creating jobs.

It also generates a return for those running, say, the pension fund to disperse to their members.

Traditionally this large scale movement of money has happened only in developed markets.

Developed markets are structured in a way that allows finance professionals to calculate the riskiness of an investment, and therefore feel comfortable parting with their capital with an expectation it will be paid back.

Traditionally, the methodology for deciding whether to invest big pools of money in Africa has been done using the same framework as for developed markets.

This hasn’t bode well.

In short the techniques for deciding how much money to invest have meant that only small amounts could be safely deployed.

Lendable have taken a different approach.

They are a technology enabled debt platform created to help non banking lenders scale.

They use in-house software tools and algorithms to analyze loans and offer facilities that make sense for lenders based on their loan books.

It might sound simple, but this approach of a buying a loan book, rather than looking at the assets that a company has, is a paradigm shift towards creditworthiness and has meant the company has been
able to unlock millions of dollars of capital that, using the old frameworks, wouldn’t have been deployed.

Now, I appreciate that might all sound a bit technical and advanced but Daniel, Lendable’s CEO and I go into the details of how this works – as well as tales along the way of running their business through two Kenyan elections, and what it takes to attract US Hedge Funds to invest in Africa.

This is, for me at least, a great episode around how large scale impact can be achieved through facilitating the transfer of wealth from the developed to developing world.


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Lessons & Insights

Biggest insight: when times are tough people spend more on electricity

Biggest lesson: by rethinking risk we can unlock millions of dollars for Africa

Website etc.

WebsiteLendable Marketplace


The need to digitalise the pharmacy business in East Africa, and the benefits that come when you do


Pharmacies are found in almost every community in East Africa, however the way in which they are currently operating leaves a lot of room for improvement

The business is largely run from pen, paper and phone meaning shop owners don’t have the visibility on how everything is run.

Beyond this though, there is a huge potential to drive change in the medical space through formalising the way in which medicine is delivered across the region.

In this episode Jess Vernon, CEO of Maisha Meds and I discuss how her technology company is using data to improve how local pharmacies are run and their ambitions to transform the broader industry.


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Moved to Kenya 8 years ago

This has been my goal for nearly a decade. I went back to the US for medical school before returning to work on improving private sector health

It’s a Point of Sale system for pharmacies

We collect data on everything there is to do pharmacies. This helps them with their supply chain operations.

There are 6,000 licensed pharmacies

MM operates in Western Kenya where half the population lives. Currently there are 100 pharmacies signed up by our operational team.

Credit is biggest feature

that pharmacies request. Almost all of them do it, but MM now has this as part of the software. Pharmacies are now able to track the credit they give.

We take $100 downpayment

Most people pay between $100-200 to set up.

The owner is away

And so the main use case is being able to see, at a glance, what is happening with their pharmacy. Visibility is key.

Medication packages

This is our main focus for 2018 – helping them grow their business through the insights we collect.

Most medicine is made in India and China

MM is plugging into existing supply chains. There are usually 3/4 touch points to get to the pharmacy and so we’re looking to move up the chain.

“Maisha means life in Swahili”

It used to be a name about trees, but that had connotations with witch craft/ herbal medicine.

“We leverage the data across the supply chain”

As opposed to other POS systems that just track the movement of stock etc. This is the part which makes us relevant in the health sector.

Strategy is to get usage

And so we focus on getting in pharmacies around the region. For this, we partner with the Gates Foundation, GIZ and other grant funders.

A great product is driving growth

As a result of having a stellar software developer who can run the process.

There’s seasonality

It depends on when people receive throughout the year, as well as at the beginning/ end of the month

“During harvest time, our sales go up”

People have more money around this time which trickles through society, including a spike at Christmas once city family go home.

“We compete with a Whatsapp group of pharmacy suppliers”

Currently pharmacies make orders are made over the phone, with prices being quoted on a case by case basis.

MM can drive what pharmacies sell

We can shift towards having evidence based medicine in pharmacies as well as diagnostic tests.

Social Media



TechCrunch article on market networks (which are like Maisha Meds)

African rocketship BitPesa use blockchain to enable international payments, with Elizabeth Rossiello


This week we’ve got an excellent episode which looks at applying breakthrough technology, to frontier markets.

You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin and blockchain, and here Elizabeth Rossiello CEO and founder of Bitpesa and I discuss how this technology can help African businesses grow through improving how they make international payments.

Why? Well in mature markets there’s a lot of liquidity between different currencies, meaning if you wanted to trade between Euros to Dollars to Pounds, the fact there’s lots of people trading it means you can get a good price.

However, when you are looking to trade African currencies, there’s not so much activity meaning companies are getting caught with high high prices to move money around the world, such as paying suppliers.

Bitpesa has stepped in to provide financial remittance services for anyone wanting to buy or sell African currencies, with Bitcoin and digital currencies acting behind the scenes to smoothen the process.

Just a heads up that this interview took place over an internet call which is different to the in person episodes done to date, and also that Elizabeth will be speaking at The Economist’s Innovation Summit in Nairobi, and so be sure to check that out if you’re interested in learning more.


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The business began 2013

I’d been working with MFIs across Africa. The issue I saw was businesses needing to get financing in local currency.

A way to buy African currency abroad

Is the problem Bitpesa solves. We’ve looked at how technology can solve this problem. B2B quickly became the best use case.

Bitcoin is part of our technology suite

We use Bitcoin as one our digital currencies. 70% of the business touches Bitcoin at some point. “We love using Bitcoin, but we’re not obsessed with it”.

Transferwise is a potential customer

Bitpesa is a market maker in African currencies. It’s brought about from having on the ground operations in all African countries.

Raised $10m

This has spent on physical operations, licences and IP. We use debt financing for inventory float.

Joint ventures weren’t for us

When it comes to growth, whilst it might be quicker to partner with a local company, going forward this isn’t the best way to generate value.

Typical use case

Nigerian pharmacy needing to pay suppliers in Hong Kong. They deposit Nigerian currency and Bitpesa pays out in Hong Kong Dollars.

Digital currencies allow us to extend beyond our reach

When we don’t have a physical bank account, we’ll send money to a broker who will accept, say, Bitcoin.

We’re not caught up in Bitcoin fluctuations

The transaction is executed almost instantaneously, and the risk is also mitigated just like any other broker that’s operates around the world. It’s just a different technology.

There haven’t been many African exits

Which means investors can be unsure about investing in the region. There was also a fizzle of the mobile money innovation in Kenya where regulators got in the way of innovation.

“Advice to regulators: don’t close your eyes to innovation”

You can’t stand in the way of an ocean of innovation. Regulators seem to be receptive to the idea of using Bitcoin and blockchain technology and so I’m excited for this.

I don’t believe there’ll be one mono-currency

And so I’m a firm believer that fiat currencies will remain in 50 different countries – we’ll be there for companies to exchange money in those regions.

Social Media Follows etc.





Revolutionising access to credit in Africa through Peer-to-Peer lending, with Hilda Moraa


Many international studies have pointed to the lack of SME financing as being a huge blocker to a country’s development.

In the context of Kenya, many small business owners are excluded from the formal financial sector due to the high operational costs involved with opening and running a bank account. As a result, they have no formal credit history and are not able to get a loan.

Pezesha are seeking to overcome this by giving the unbanked, their first step on the formal financial ladder.

Hilda, the founder and CEO, and I dig into the difficulties of getting a bank account (and by extension, a loan), how Kenya’s ubiquitous mobile money network facilitates their business, and how they are layering on their data analytics to the dynamics of the existing social investing culture in Kenya.

This is one of those episodes that can leave you scratching your head at times, but nevertheless shows the huge potential for technology and financing to transform a region.


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Pezesha means financial empowerment

We empower the unbanked population through affordable mobile credit. This brings hope and freedom to them.

We’re not a lender per se

We’re sitting in between and creating a platform that builds upon the sharing economy.

Our customers can’t go to a bank

To get a loan to grow their business. This is because they don’t have any financial history or any formal credit records to verify them.

The majority of Kenya lives on <$5/day

The banks see them as risky and, because it costs money to run a bank account in Kenya, simply having a bank account open costs operational fees which excludes them.

The unbanked have moved to mobile credit

Mobile money penetration is at 85%. Hilda’s grandmother has M-Pesa, living upcountry.

M-Pesa has become the bank of the unbanked

Allowing them to transact, and send and receive money. This gives them the services previously only possible with a (paid) bank.

We utilise chamas

A chama is a social network who come together to save and invest around a common goal. The money is typically rotated around the group. People meet in person, regardless of social background.

“Pezesha is automating Kenya’s social investing culture”

This comes from partnering with the chama network. This means bringing in technology to, say, credit score their members as well as increase the level of financing that they get.

Fund of funds

There’s then a dynamic of external investors funding the chama group and become part of the returns.

“We have Kenyans lending to Kenyans they’ve never met before”

On the back of Pezesha’s platform, it’s possible to build trust. The credit score combines a borrower’s willingness and ability to pay.

Alternative data

We use mobile money transactions, as well as different datasets to profile and understand the customer. This means we’re not reliant on just one form of information (i.e. M-Pesa transactions) but having things such as psychometric tests as well.

Agents on the ground

We have people who are our out doing a lot of the onboarding and collections out in the field.

We want people to walk up the financial ladder

The ideal is that they can walk in and get a bank account and a loan as a result of the credit history that they have got from Pezesha. We want to normalise the effect so others can trust the unbanked population.

We’re a data company

We sit in between existing financial players and utilise credit scoring.

You get a 7-12%/ year return at the bank

Despite this being high, investors won’t be proud with that type of return. With Pezesha, you get 13-36% annually.

Average loan size is $50

This is used to buy weekly stock and then 30 days later, they’ll pay $55.

People are paying back!

This was one of the (nice) surprises: that there are lots of the unbanked population who are still paying back on their loans. This is in part because by paying back they are helping to fund other fellow Kenyans.

Website links etc.


This gives details on how to be a borrower or a lender on Pezesha.


PartnersCGAPDFS Lab

How mSurvey’s Head of Data leverages the company’s big data for insights never before possible


Understanding your customers is an incredibly important aspect of any forward-thinking business.

In many developed markets there are reams of public data available to understand demographics, as well as established market insight companies who give a perspective on consumer tastes.

In Kenya, however, this was difficult. mSurvey was borne from a PhD student’s frustration at not being able to get such insights, and five years on the company is one of the region’s flagship start up success stories.

In this episode Sam Kamande, who is mSurvey’s Head of Data, and I discuss the many applications of their technology platform, how the fact that African consumers are very comfortable communicating via text message is good for their business, and the vision for utilising the big data they collect to give a holistic view on the African consumer.

This is a cracking episode, full of tid bits of information on the East African economy, doing business and generally the real impact of applying technology to an area that has been historically overlooked.


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I’m Chief Data Scientist

Helping clients get the most insights out of their data. After working in corporate life I returned to a role in mSurvey to help with the next phase of growth.

Supporting engagement between consumers and organisations

This is mSurvey’s core mission and what we are working towards. We’re giving a voice to customers who previously haven’t had the opportunity.

It was hard to get insights

The founder came to Kenya from the Caribbean for his PhD, and soon found that it was difficult to get insights from unconnected people. It’s been five years of solid growth.

In Kenya, sim card ownership is 120%

A lot of people have two different sim cards. One will be for voice, the other for data.

12 million interactions in Kenya

Coming straight from consumers. There’s a bit more in the Caribbean. Because some people are engaged twice, there are probably 11 million unique users.

80% of mobile usage in Africa is texting

Therefore there’s not much apprehension in responding with a mobile survey.

We’re replacing the feedback box

The typical use case is going to a bank and having customers give feedback via a text message after they’ve been there. This is part of how mSurvey has been able to engage 11 million, by partnering with large organisations and helping them get real-time feedback from their customers about their experience.

Real time feedback

The mSurvey product is called Voice of the Customer. This allows companies to get instant feedback from customers who pay via mobile money. When someone gives a bad rating the manager will be able to reach out by the time you’re back at the car. Conventionally this wouldn’t happen.

Net Promoter Score

This is one question which is asked: how likely are you to recommend us to a friend? It tracks customer loyalty and is a predictor of revenue. Tracking through mSurvey allows companies to measure this over time.

More and more companies take customer experience seriously

This leads to greater customer loyalty. Getting the NPS score is still relatively nascent in this part of the world.

Collecting data in Africa used to be expensive

We enable people to understand the market in a quick and efficient manner. mSurvey allows organisations to have a quick turnaround which can be used in conjunction with other market research.

Build a relationship

We don’t blast out messages to everyone. Our goal is to have a long lasting relationship with the 40,000 audience.

Segmenting the audience

We’re looking to grow the width and depth of our audience. We’ll do this by learning more about people through the conversations that we have.  This comes about from interpreting the answers of the surveys and bringing together data points.

Provide the best understanding of the customer in Africa

This is the vision of mSurvey. This gets closer through the product Consumer Wallet which helps to understand how much is being spent by the Kenyan consumers. They understand the 10% of mobile money, what  about the 90% in cash.

Average wallet size

Which is the average expenditure in Kenya, comes about through engaging the audience every day, and understanding how much they pay. From this we derive the measures and can segment it by gender, age and location.

Betting has become very significant

If you’re in the water business, your competitors are not other water companies. If the consumer is struggling they might decide to reduce their water consumption, and instead spend it on betting. Instead of buying one more beer for $2, instead I’ll spend it on betting. The bar has therefore lost out on that $2.

The reward is 20 cents

Consumers get paid this for responding to a question. It gets factored into the cost of the service delivery.

$5 per question

This is the rough cost for doing an audience on demand survey. The price comes down with volume. They’ll guarantee, say, 1,000 responses, and with a ~65% response rate they may send 1,400 conversations.

Customer experience

Biggest surprise? Businesses in Kenya are taking customer experience seriously. Even the government are treating their citizens as consumers. It gives consumers an avenue to keep organisations accountable, and that they’re taking this seriously.

Social Media Links etc.


Sign up to our audience: send msurvey to (+254)0700040030

Request a demo: via the website

Java House: “Starbucks of Africa

We Farm are building an SMS-based social network for farmers, with Kenny Ewan


When you consider different ways of getting information, you might think of going on Google or reading a book

But how to do this in an environment with no libraries, computers, let alone internet access?

Farmers in the field have limited means to get information and We Farm are looking to help by providing a Peer to Peer platform for farmers to send SMS questions and answers to each other.

Kenny, the CEO, and I discuss the process – of pairing these questions and answers, why he thinks people are altruistically contributing to the platform and the most common question that they get asked by farmers…

At times the audio is a little bit iffy, but we’ve done our best to edit things to what is hopefully an acceptable level, if you want some more information head to / podcast for the show notes.

For now though, hope I you enjoy this episode with Kenny from We Farm


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Here are some of the key quotes:

“We Farm is a crowdsourcing app…”

For people without the internet. Primarily people are connected via SMS.

“Farmers interact with We Farm”

They send in a question of something which they would like to know. Typically about how to deal crop pests or when the rains are coming.

“Machine learning”

The We Farm algorithms process the messages sent through and match the question to other farmers who can answer

“The 150,000th farmer”

Is soon to be onboarded onto We Farm. We’ve just had our second birthday

“There aren’t other tools for farmers”

If you’re using an old school feature phone there are limited services for you. What we do even more so is empower the community.

“A lot of farmers have never been asked their opinion”

This is how We Farm is looking to challenge the “top down” approach of assuming that poor people need to be told what to do.

“Offline marketing in a digital age”

One of the challenges we have is to sign up farmers. This is typically through radio and partnerships along the supply chain.

“We are for profit”

But have a social mission at our heart. Our model is similar to a social network, like Facebook and Twitter, which become profitable at scale.

“Data for multi-nationals”

One of the big amounts of value that We Farm generates is through tracking droughts and diseases as they develop, providing this hard-to-get information to commercial entities.

“Building algorithms”

We’re looking at taking plain text SMSes and categorising them into whether this could be, say, Foot and Mouth disease. Our tech is built out of London.

“60% of questions answered in 24 hours”

This is pretty similar to online services like Quora. In the data we can see things like when people are charging the phone.

“A core human need to contribute”

Which is often the primary reason why farmers answer questions. We’re tapping into the same motive as why people write on Wikipedia.

“Non-financial rewards”

Are overwhelmingly preferred by farmers, rather than cash incentives. People like to be recognised on the radio.

“Young to old”

Younger people seem to be asking more questions, and older people answering them. This is an interesting East Africa cultural dynamic.

“Detecting existing answers”

This is something we’re looking at doing to provide a quality service for our farmers – using our existing bank of answers to answer common questions

“There is some filtering of answers”

Though ultimately it’s based on how the community responds to the questions sent. It’s difficult to block derogatory words because, for example, the Swahili word for “coconut” is “nazi”

“Branding for both”

One of the challenges has been having We Farm make sense to both VCs in London and farmers in East Africa.

“Channel agnostic”

We want farmers to get their information from We Farm, whether it’s SMS or Twitter or whatever over the next few years.

Social Media Follows etc.

Twitter:  WeFarm
Website:  WeFarm
Facebook : WeFarm