What do you think of Kenya’s technology ecosystem?
I believe Kenya will deliver more large technology companies than any other emerging sub-Saharan Africa country. There is immense opportunity here, and good products have come out of it. There is a lot of talk about technology and very little on businesses. Mentorship is a missing piece. There is little capacity and experience in the industry. I think in five years we will see a number of very good strong consumer brands solving problems using new platforms. It is good to focus on solving real problems.
The government policies here are focused on the country’s diversification into this sector. Some policies however are counter-productive, mainly in taxation. For example, if a successful Kenyan company licenses its software to a company in Tanzania there is a 30% tax on that. It means we can only serve the Kenyan market because other countries have a 30% advantage on Kenyan companies.
What is your advice to other budding entrepreneurs?
Focus on the business. Know who your customers are and what they want. If you focus on technology platforms, you are focusing on something that by definition will be out of date in five years. That is not a sustainable thing.
We have recently started in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda. In the next 12 months we will bring these countries to the level of Kenya and Nigeria. We are also keen on further geographical expansion.