Towards the end of last year, after major terror attacks in the various parts of the country, and by people who dwelt among the Kenyan people, His Excellency the president of the republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, suggested of a way of cabbing the menace. His idea was the introduction of an initiative dubbed Nyumba Kumi– a way to do community policing by knowing 10 of your neighbors around you and what they do. This was to assist in monitoring suspicious neighbors and reporting their quire behavior to security agencies.
Upon hearing this initiative, a group of techies calling themselves Kejaroo, decided to take the Presidents initiative even further! They have developed an android mobile application called Ujirani that connects you with your neighbors as well as to emergency services on the tap of your phone. They are currently being incubated at iBizAfrica and taking part in the AppWiz Challenge hosted by Safaricom. This week I met their team leader Cynthia Anyango and this is what she had to say about their application.
Magazine Reel(MR): What’s your product name?
Cynthia Anyango(CA): Ujirani
MR: What’s the problem you are solving?
CA: We are digitizing the Nyumba kumi initiative that was rolled out by the government in 2013 after the Westgate attack and the increased insecurity issues. We are also bridging the gap between citizens and emergency service providers by enhancing faster communication in emergency situations.
MR: What solutions are you offering to the affected party?
CA: We have a mobile application in which people from ten different households get to create a group in . In the group they are able to communicate issues pertaining neighborliness and they are also able to communicate in emergency situations (I.e Security, Ambulance, Fire) to both the neighbors and the service providers.
MR: What influenced your product/service creation?
CA: We believe that the initiative is beneficial and we felt that it should be implemented far and wide.
MR: Who are your team members/partners/founders & their experiences?
CA: Cynthia Anyango-Team leader & Web development(Rails), Catherine Muya-Marketer, Njiiri John-Business Developer.
MR: For how long have you been in existence?
CA: Two months
MR: How much financial backing do you have & by whom? If got financial backing, how long have they given you to be successful?
CA: We have not yet received any money. We are hoping to win the AppWiz Challenge and get the seed fund.
MR: Whom have you partnered with to deliver your service offering thorough the app?
CA: We are in talks with various service providers, hopefully we will have partnerships soon
MR: What’s your target market?
CA: We are targeting Kenyans in the urban areas
MR: What’s the market like for your products/services?
CA: Our market is big considering that security is an issue that needs to be addressed in Kenya.
MR: Who are your competitors and how well are you doing by comparison?
CA: On the Nyumba kumi brand we don’t have a competitor!
MR: How many users do you have onboard?
CA: We have about 100 users .
MR: Do you have paying customers? If so, how many? If not, when do you plan to launch a beta test/start shipping product?
CA: We don’t have any paying customers ,we are running pilot programs first to test the relevance of our product.
MR: What’s your revenue model?
CA: We have a subscription model whereby we will charge the service providers i.e security firms, ambulance services and firefighting service providers, a monthly fee for them to be listed in our app.
MR: What’s your monthly net revenue so far?
CA: We have not started earning revenue yet.
MR: What’s your 6 months/ 2years strategy?
CA: We plan to dive deep into product development refine our business model and get into customer acquisition .
MR: What challenges have you encountered?
CA: One of the challenges is that the people are not fully aware of the Nyumba kumi initiative. Getting service providers on board has also been a major challenge.
MR: What’s your exit strategy?
CA: Eventually we will sell the product.
MR: What can you advice upcoming start-ups?
CA: Be passionate about your product ,never give up on it. It’s not a must that you have a plan B you can hold on to your plan A and make it work.
To download the application for free and use it, click HERE.