Get firsthand information from one of South and East Africa’s up and coming mobile solutions, Kuza Mobile founder Pieter Nel. this guy helped create Africa’s largest social network, and now he’s on to a mobile e-commerce solution that will help entrepreneurs do all the most basic and important functions for launching a business using his or her mobile phone.
Kuza is a mobile, location-based business platform for feature phones that helps buyers and sellers in emerging markets to trade goods and services in their area. Using any one of 6000 supported types of feature phones, a user can create a website, mobi site and business cards right from his phone in about 5 minutes. Our micro-ads, also created right from the phone, are broadcast to an audience in the entrepreneurs’ area, allowing him to reach a wider market. We monetize our product through airtime and micro-payments on a pay-as-you-go basis.
DEMO Africa is coming up in three weeks, and this gathering of the most innovative and ambitious startups from the African continent is your chance to see how Africa is leading in several industry sectors, especially in e-commerce and mobile. to help familiarize our global audience with BizSpark startups and leading entrepreneurs in the African economies, we are running a series of interviews with the participants in DEMO Africa. The interviews are very short, and they are populated with links, including links to the startup’s Twitter handle, so that you can follow the startup and put it in your lists.
Here’s Pieter talking about his growth as an entrepreneur.
BizSpark: Has starting your own company provided any answers about your life? Have you discovered something about yourself that you didn’t know before?
Pieter: Starting a business is never easy. Starting a technology business in an emerging market is even more challenging. Only the most pioneering investors believe in backing you, and there are many structural challenges to overcome to get it going. As it is with us, so it is for our customers. Kuza Mobile aims to empower emerging market entrepreneurs with our mobile trading platform. We spend a lot of time with these business people – from the tradesmen and fishermen in Cape Town, to the jua kali in Nairobi, and we take tremendous inspiration from them in how they overcome challenges and how their inherent skill and business savvy shines through any barriers. Starting this business gave us the chance to meet some incredible people and we find the journey itself very enriching.
BizSpark: What came first for you company – the product idea or your existence on the Internet?
Pieter: Our backgrounds as co-founders are with Africa’s largest social network. We decided that we wanted to apply our unique knowledge of mobile technology to address what is in our view a much more fundamental problem. Whereas services such as Wikipedia is now putting knowledge directly in the hand of anyone with a mobile phone, we didn’t see enough solutions designed to encourage and assist entrepreneurs and trade in emerging markets. We wanted to design something with Kuza Mobile that will allow anyone with a mobile phone to have an Internet presence and to make himself and his products known as the first step in building his business and getting more customers.