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KUTechTour Series: Day 2 — Africa’s Talking, iHub

Karibu! It’s another day on the KUTechTour and today was lit! Mainly because we got to meet the team at Africa’s Talking, and visit a hub with lots of businesses churning out value by the minute!

Africa’s Talking

The tour started off with a visit to Africa’s Talking on Galana plaza, Galana road, Nairobi, Kenya. Founded in 2010 and pushing API’s from 2012, Africa’s Talking is a mobile technology company aimed at providing efficient mobile communication systems across Africa. Communication systems developed include USSD interaction, SMS, voice, payments, and a whole lot more coming. I usually say “if you need client-server communication without a web interface, think Africa’s Talking”.

Africa’s Talking is currently in Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi and still expanding. Now that shows this talk is about Africa, pun intended.

Previously, while testing new stuff I used their service on several product prototypes and all I can think of is my ‘grand-aunt’ that could order a pizza or hail a cab by dialing a USSD code on a mobile WITHOUT INTERNET and it goes way beyond that. Adewale Abati ♠ if you are reading this, I know you have built a product before the end of this article.

The AT office is really cool and I got to meet the people doing all the great stuff. From Calvin, Graham to Sally and Sam, it was exceptional.

Looking at the company’s profile, AT started pushing out APIs in 2012, started making profits only by 2013 and as at November 2017, holds over 14,000 accounts and processes over 15million API calls daily. How they do it? You can reach out to them here to find out more and start amazing building stuff even for users with no internet connection!

Community Involvement

Developers are at the heart of the Africa’s Talking business model, I mean that’s probably why their service is seamless to use. Therefore, massive strides have been made to build sustainable developer capabilities through the community.

This involvement can be seen through their continuous interest in communities such as forLoop and various university groups with more amazing systems in the pipeline. In Sally Mugure’s words “we want developers in Africa to be able to create, grow and sustain great products and businesses using not only our solutions but other world-class tools and solutions available”.

Following our extended discussion, Africa’s Talking is ready to continue to facilitate the growth of developer communities across Africa in general and also, community events can be held at their amazing office space. AT is ready to support the community with mentors and temporary working space for developers as available. Simply join their slack team ummm here to get talking!

Collaboration

The recent partnership between Africa’s Talking and Flutterwave in Nigeria already gives us insight and some juice as to what to expect when it comes to collaboration. All it takes is to have a working idea, be anywhere in the world, reach out to Graham Ingokho and you could just have a partner! I mean, don’t you think it’s amazing too?! Also, thanks to Graham and Sally for the collaboration to decide the cool spot we had lunch lol.

Next stop on the tour was iHub!

iHub

iHub, the host of the first forLoop event held in Nairobi was our destination with Njoki Gichinga @NjokiGichinga on hand to receive us.

iHub on Senteu plaza Galana road is one of the foremost hubs in Nairobi offering awesome and affordable services to budding startups and product builders. I couldn’t help but marvel at the aesthetics of the hub. iHub offers personalized office spaces, community desks, amazing boardrooms (i could live in one), an art studio, call booths for private calls, an ideation room for designs and a nice cafeteria area.

We were taken on a tour of the hub and the various offices and startups in it, plus the nice bar for some coffee. Let’s talk about some of the amazing stuff there.

Pace Africa

Awesome headphones I must say again! Pace Africa is a Kenyan company that manufactures gadgets with the major focus on Headphones for now. On testing these headphones I must say they are off really good quality, stylish and quite affordable too. These headphones ship to anywhere and you can reach out to me for one or just check out @PACE_Africa on twitter.

Enda Itens

Everyone knows Kenyans are runners and Nigerians are fighters, lol. A company came in to address the challenge of having running shoes made specifically for the Kenyan runner. These shoes branded Enda (which means ‘go’ in Swahili) are made in Mombasa Kenya, durable, light and stylish. You can reach out to @enda_sportswear on twitter to find out more.

Sky Garden

They choose to be what Jumia is not. An e-commerce platform, more like mobile commerce platform which leverages on providing e-commerce for even the “have-not” in the society more like the lower class. We have lots of stores open every day on Instagram and Facebook, what if there was a platform to simply create a store, upload products from anywhere and start selling immediately. That is what Sky Garden does whilst touting features such as SMS checkouts and shipping within 24hrs anywhere in Kenya for less than $4. You can check them out here.

Coffee Bar

Professional bartenders, smooth coffee, had one of the best coffee in Nairobi with the team thanks to iHUB.

The above startups are just to name few, you can always reach out to iHUB or on Twitter with @iHub to find out more and probably join in value creation from their space.

iHub offers to collaborate with Africa’s Talking in hosting community events in Kenya with their awesome large spaces available to the community.

Wrap

The tour didn’t end until the team stopped by at the ever-welcoming The Dojo to grab a drink or two with the guys and reply emails.

Where next on the tour? Maybe ask Christian Nwamba or lorna maria could be a Matatu management firm? find out in the next article on this series!

Leave claps, feedback or suggestions, they are well welcomed.

Kwaheri, for now.

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Chuloo

Chuloo

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Human, Developer, Developer Advocate… I like scotch.io and a couple of other cool stuff. William Imoh!