Welcome to yet another TechFriday. Last week i met with Henga Systems Chief Technology Officer Marvin Njoroge whose company is developing various IT based solutions. Henga Systems is an IT Company formed in 2013 and incorporated in January 2014 by six friends, Marvin being one of them. This is what Mr.Njoroge had to say about one of their products Pesa Manager, a utility app used to store, sort, backup and manage mobile money transactions messages.
Marvin Njoroge : PesaManager
MR: What’s the problem you are solving with the app?
Marvin: We are providing an all in one backup and analytic solution to managing your mobile money.
MR: What solutions are you offering to the affected party?
Marvin: A Mobile App for handling backups and simple reporting; and a Web dashboard for basic analytic.
MR: What influenced your product/service creation?
Marvin: The need for people to have a platform where they can account for their transactions. This was of course before Safaricom introduced selfcare.
MR: Who are your team members/partners/founders & their experiences?
Marvin: We are a team of 7. A Managing Director(Joe Muthoka), Chief Technology Officer(Marvin Njoroge), Project Manager(Mbithe Nzomo), Chief Financial Officer(Kenneth Mbuthia), Software Developer(Samuel Ngoda) & Operations Manager(Gift Mukhoe).
MR: For how long have you been in existence?
Marvin: 2 Years, since 2012, in 2013 we renamed to Henga Systems.
MR: How much financial backing do you have & by whom? If got financial backing, how long have they given you to be successful?
Marvin: The amount is confidential however we do have financial backing since May 2014. They let us set for ourselves a target of 1 year, so by next year May, we’ll know if we hit the Mother Load. The name of the financing institution is the The Idea Foundation.
Marvin: None so far, but discussions are in the works.
MR: Who is your target market?
Marvin: Our target market is basically anyone who frequently uses Mobile Money and would like to track how and what they spend.
MR: What’s the market like for your app?
Marvin: When Pesa Manager started we were solo but a bit slow to the launch stage. This was in Dec 2012. We were good. At the moment, it’s a crowded market, but now we are implementing other ideas that will make us unique from the rest.
MR: Who are your competitors and how well are you doing by comparison?
Marvin: The Biggest is Mobile Service Provider Self Care, our advantage over them is that we are a mobile based platform. Otherwise they are our major competitors. Others are MLedger and PesaBox. Major differences are that basic reporting is not featured in the app and you can’t restore the messages once they’ve been backed up.
MR: How many clients/downloads to do you have on board?
Marvin: Approximately 900 users over our tenure.
MR: Do you have paying customers? If so, how many? If not, when do you plan to launch a beta test/start shipping product?
Marvin: No. It’s a free product. We plan to launch a premium version but that’s in the future. We don’t want to close off potential users through paying for a product which they can get free elsewhere. We must first introduce the unique features then we might monetize on that.
MR: What’s your revenue model, now that it’s a free application on Google playstore?
Marvin: Freemium. Offer free services to the masses, then go a step further to introduce unique features, at a cost though.
MR: What’s your monthly net revenue?
Marvin: At the moment, the app is free.
MR: What challenges have you encountered?
Marvin: Their already exists a crowded app base, therfore making competition high. On Marketing, we are nerds, what do we know?
MR: What’s the biggest business risk to your venture?
Marvin: One is time, as you can see, we were overtaken by events last time we introduced a product. Also effort, we juggle many projects at once, and we being a small team, that is a slight challenge to us. But we have been experimenting with a couple of project models and are now managing to work on all the projects in their own unique ways.
MR: How are you monitoring customers feedback? If yes, have you made changes based on their feedback?
Marvin: We do it through Google PlayStore statistics and google analytics and from time to time, we host focus groups where we get important feedback. You’ll see them in the next cycle of updates, but if you have been following us from the start, the current app is a major change from the first based on feedback we got from a couple of competitions we participated in.
Marvin: We ain’t planning to sell. We’re in it for the long haul and plan to grow the product to where it’ll be a household name and can sustain us as a form of livelihood.
MR: What can you advice upcoming start-ups?
Marvin: 30% of the work is development, the rest, MARKETING.
To download Pesa Manager for free & use it to store, manage, sort and backup your mobile money transactions, click HERE.
Another App by Henga Systems; FunTask Organizer