Mbugua Njihia

Mbugua Njihia

07 December 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

The financial services world has been glued to dashboards over the past few weeks with everyone on edge as the world most valuable and visible cryptocurrency Bitcoin continued in its classic hockey stick trajectory punctuated by a number of dips from which it recovered. How long it will sustain this bull run is not known, but the value is most definitely fueled by a feeding frenzy of laggard consumers and investors driven by an acute fear of missing out. In regulated markets, there is an...

30 November 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Demo Africa, a launchpad conference for emerging technologies and trends concluded a successful sixth edition last week hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni in the Gauteng Province of South Africa, the second time it has been held in the southerly african state. This year’s edition marked over 210 startups from across Africa launching to the world in front of an audience of peers, media, technology buyers, venture capital and private equity representatives and angel investors. Being a launchpad, it...

22 November 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Reading up on the history of Africa, you can never miss the scramble for acreage and the resources that were held therein, leading to the illogical politically instigated birth of countries as defined by the borders we now know. Communities and commerce were disrupted as traditional trade routes and personal movement were choked. The rise of additional barriers to trade can be traced to this. Fast forward to present times and technology is getting deployed to address some of our most pressing...

08 November 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

We live our lives increasingly reliant on technology, it’s hooks drilling deeper and deeper daily. Our social interactions, knowledge acquisition and commerce all critical to our baseline existence are now powered by bits and bytes much of whose control we leave to an unknown and constantly changing entity we fondly refer to as the internet. While we yearn for privacy in certain parts of our lives, we leave digital footprints that can be traced back to us, exacerbated by our fear of missing out...

26 October 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

As the election madness starts to die down (hopefully), the trip back to our common shared reality will be short one. While the politics of the day may be termed as divisive, we are viewed from the same lens when it comes to our daily afflictions. In the top five of any urban residents list of pain points, matters mobility have a permanent spot. This cuts across the divide whether you commute on public transport, leverage on-demand options or have the arguable benefit of owning a car. As urban...

17 October 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati (middle), CEO Ezra Chiloba (Right) and Commissioner Roselyn Kwamboka (Left) The growing pains we are experiencing as a young democracy are not to be viewed as isolated events that threaten to throw everything into disarray, but rather as part of bigger picture towards building a more cohesive nation with a greater appreciation for the rule of law. In other words, at this point, we have to consider that the whole, which is our national vision for a strong...

16 October 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

The woes of Kenya’s equally loved and vilified retail giant Nakumatt have been fodder for conversations across various sectors from agriculture, finance, logistics, marketing, human resource and even technology. The recent announcement that they are in advanced talks with Tusky’s Supermarket with whom they have a shared start-up connection set the interwebs ablaze again. Many are struggling to see the fit or benefit of the perceived bailout in a series of events, pegged on a strategy misstep...

05 October 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Kenya’s leading mobile money platform Mpesa has had quite a number of maintenance and upgrade runs since the service was moved “back home” after years of offshore collocation. Given its entrenched place in the Kenyan economy despite cash still holding strong and offering a formidable alternative, any scheduled or random outage sends many users and businesses that have come to rely on this digital channel into a panic. What is obvious is that the product team is hard at working looking for ways...

20 September 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

As election winners settle into office, focus shifts to promises made while on the campaign trail. The swearing in ceremonies are soon after followed by presser’s articulating bold rapid results initiatives often carried out in the proverbial first one hundred days.With investments having been made towards fact checking platforms, and the clear place of media, connectivity and the self-christened pundit, we are starting to see a clear agitation by the governed for a more inclusive process of...

07 September 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Kenyan software developer Eugene Mutai’s custom rig, currently mining ZCash and Library Credits. Investment ranges between $4,000 to $7,000, ROI – 4 to 10 months Cryptocurrencies have received quite abit of media this year from jaw dropping heists at a various exchanges to the bipolar behavior of markets that saw the value of publicly traded cryptocurrencies hit $ 180 billion 35 weeks into 2017, even as one of the better known currencies – Bitcoin touched $ 5,000; many a fortune made and lost. ...

07 September 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

If there’s one thing these elections have demonstrated clearly is that civic awareness and active engagement in our country is fast progressing. Our collective psyche with regard to Kenya’s political culture is changing and adopting a more visionary perspective that centers the future of this country at the heart of our civic processes as enshrined in the constitution. A clear indication of this shift is demonstrated by the fact that many MCAs and other representatives that could not show...

07 September 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

The Africa Payments Innovation Jury released its inaugural report this week, revealing that businesses trying to reach the currently under-banked population are driving payments innovation across the continent. However, to be successful these businesses need to overcome access to funding and regulatory challenges. The Global Payments Innovation Jury is the most global body to look into payments innovation. This year, for the first time, a dedicated Africa Payments Innovation Jury, consisting of...

05 September 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

About 7 years ago, I explored the social networking craze that had hit hard and broadly suggested that we should try to derive value from what were obvious time sinks. It could have been argued then, that all these emerging digital fireplaces were passing fads, but the latest statistics point to them being deeply entrenched in our day to day. In the second quarter of 2017, Facebook Messenger hit 1.2 billion and WhatsApp 1.3 billion monthly active users while Android clocked 2 billion active...

01 September 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba addresses the press at the national tally centre at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, on August 9, 2017. PHOTO | AFPKenyan’s have been doubly intrigued by the activities of lawyers and information technology sleuths at the Supreme Court, pitting the election front runners H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta and Hon. Raila Odinga, with a host of other enjoined, looking to prove electoral malpractice. Aside from the verbosity exhibited by the learned friends, one of the core arguments for the...

30 August 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Tales From PitchDrive curates the adventures of selected 14 African Startups as they journey across 5 European cities with a goal to raise €20 million in funding on the Pitch Drive Tour in partnership with Google For Entrepreneurs. Google for Entrepreneurs partners with startup communities and builds Campuses where entrepreneurs can learn, connect, and create companies that will change the world. CcHub is a technology innovation center dedicated to accelerating the application of social capital...

17 August 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Last week the tension was palpable in Kenya in the run-up to the 8th August general elections. Gladly the voting process took place without too much hassle and the mood across the country was very positive with the interwebs populated with the purple shade “pinkie” that confirmed that the holder had indeed exercised a key democratic right. There was also Githeri Man who helped punctuate the mood with humor, having spawned hundreds of memes. Things then seemingly took a turn south as the process...

07 August 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

We have no shortage of startup teams across Africa applying themselves fervently towards finding solutions to the real challenges we face, hoping to scratch a local itch that will inadvertently scale due to the shared nature of the problems we have as a continent. That we do not celebrate failure or at the very least celebrate failing forward has seen us often times tend to ideas and concepts for much longer than we should, leading to stunted operations, subpar products and the ultimate waste...

27 July 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

THE NEW SGR PASSENGER TRAIN. FILE PHOTO | NMG Without a doubt, the Madaraka Express has changed the frequency and the experience of travel on one of the more populous routes that is Nairobi to Mombasa and is projected to do the same on the western route as it snakes it way on the various phases. The one oversight that has come to negatively affect the Kenya Railways Net Promoter Score is the issue of ticketing optimization which seems not to have registered on the project management dashboards...

13 July 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Service Level Agreement (SLA) Levels should be independently monitored and compensation automated Like many Kenyan’s who do not live near key installations served by dedicated power lines, having reliable power for both home and office use can be a game of chance. We have become accustomed to outages and brown outs from the lightest of rains and the odd monkey tinkering with and tripping some wires. Unfortunately, I have never once heard of restitution to a customer, resulting from downtime –...

07 July 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Beyond the “covfefe” moment that went viral across the globe and spawned a healthy serving of meme’s on local online social spaces, a matter that holds much more gravity seems to be passing silently, pointing to probable cluelessness of Kenyan’s to important matters that have a direct bearing on the quality of day to day living. President Trump withdrew the United States of America from the Paris Agreement that seeks to “keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees celsius...

29 June 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Fresh from party manifestos this week, I am struggling to reconcile just how all the promises made will be funded, in light of the already heavy public debt burden that we are servicing by way of build – operate – transfer and other public private partnerships in our quest for Vision 2030. As we get excited by the possibilities, the expectation must be punctuated by the calls from the Kenya Revenue Authority to individual and corporate citizens to meet their obligations. The unfortunate truth...

16 June 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

At the heart of building an investor-attractive county, is the need to demonstrate a clean and pleasant environment which allows business to run smoothly. What makes it even more attractive is a county’s ability to instill a sense of community, belonging, well-being and security for its own citizens who become its primary ambassadors. To achieve this, any county must show leadership in instituting sustainability measures in its operations, infrastructure and culture. Infrastructure is not only...

14 June 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (R) addresses the public from his car during his home coming celebrations road tour after he landed from the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague for his pretrial, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya 09 October 2014.  EPA/DANIEL IRUNGU With just over one month to the general elections, I am shocked but not surprised at the flavor of content that is surfacing on the interwebs, sponsored boldly on ad networks, shared...

06 June 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Individual differences can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies When global business and technology leaders sneeze, all ecosystems that look up to them inadvertently catch a cold. The current flu doing rounds is one called diversity and it has caused those of us in the Silicon Savannah to take a hard look inward at the manifest symptoms of deficiency. The...

31 May 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Nairobi Terminus as captured by Mwangi Kirubi in his narrative; SGR Nairobi – Mombasa Test Ride | http://mwarv.click.co.ke/2017/05/03/sgr-nairobi-mombasa-test-ride/ People, commodities and money are the three things that are in constant motion in any economy. Our biggest natural resource as a nation is the people who are the main cog in the wheels of productive industry, working to either add or create value through agriculture, manufacturing or services, outputs of which are exchanged for...

24 May 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Building on the popular primer on artificial intelligence [a16z.com/2016/06/10/ai-deep-learning-machines/] — and a companion micro-site [aiplaybook.a16z.com/] to help newcomers get started with AI — this presentation shares more about the promise of artificial intelligence, beyond the hype. It’s a ~45-minute narrated walk through of what companies are doing with AI today and what’s bubbling up from the research community that’s just a few years out. Because AI is going to have as big (if not...

18 May 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

When and how shall we become net producers of value for export? I am pained by the memory of an adhoc conversation that happened at one of our famed annual technology themed summits some years back, where a mid-level government executive, in the middle of a chat on government opportunities boldly opined that, “we” in reference to the larger technology community need to stop agitating for procurement changes skewed towards citizen contractors and instead appreciate that “kazi ni kazi”  loosely...

05 May 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Technological innovations, inventions, trends and fads built or enabled by the internet have changed society in innumerable ways, propelling us forward into both good and bad. Many times we are caught up in the immediate story and soon after we are on to the next, not keen to stitch together or connect the dots of the journey we are taking. It is prudent at times to press pause and take stock of where we have come from and where we are headed in our pursuit of better. Filmmaker Werner Herzog in...

27 April 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Samuel Majani, Founder and CEO at Ghafla! speaking during the sites relaunch after a deal with Ringier Africa Digital Publishing (RADP) in the last Quarter of 2016 I first met Samuel Majani at the Nailab when he and his co-founder Lyosi Mwedekeli were building out KenyanLyrics.com. They struck me as smart, coming from a background of selling digital music and seeing the scarcity of metadata and fuller value propositions while dealing with global brands like Shazam. In 2010, the lyrics...

18 April 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

In classic cyclic fashion, the discussion on ideas, execution and capital has headlined Kenya’s tech ecosystem once again. On one hand, it is said that there is more than enough capital to go round for solid ideas where founders have taken time to deliver a proof of concept or better still gained traction by having paying customers. On the other hand, you will hear the clarion call “show me the money” from hundreds of entrepreneurs looking for much needed infusion to meet bold targets they have...

13 April 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

What is the Future of Work | Picture from International Labour Organization (ILO) website, The Future of Work We Want: A Global Dialogue The ICT, Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Ministries launched the Ajira Digital Program looking to empower one million Kenyans to earn a living off online work. A bold and ambitious plan but one that might be headed for headwinds, despite the promising numbers shared on the concept note and the support of  foundations like Rockefeller Foundation Africa...

06 April 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Image positioning Little as Kenya’s Best Taxi Hailing up – Source FB Kamal Budhabhatti and his team have over the years built a formidable business providing financial service companies like banks, micro finance (MFI’s) and saccos with platforms to run their daily operations. With an international footprint across 45 countries in Africa and emerging Asia and revenues topping Ksh. 5 Billion for the year 2016, you will forgive me for questioning the deep dive into new uncharted waters that is the...

30 March 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Different players across the globe are invested in connecting millions of off-line consumers in areas that are under-served by infrastructure and lack reliable power. Microsoft’s local project dubbed Mawingu is targeting connectivity to schools, libraries and rural townships while leveraging an agent network with the last mile consumption happening via wi-fi. Google has Project Loon where they have clocked over 17 million kilometers in test flights to date with research teams deploying a...

23 March 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Loop #UnbankYourself, a product from CBA targeting millennials Digital is the “now frontier” and everyone from the startup to the established juggernaut is trying to figure out the place and play of it all in their strategy. The financial services sector has for years been second only to government in the slothful uptake of any tradition breaking innovation, having been set in its ways for centuries. The growth in mobile connectivity and access to data, coupled with changing times have resulted...

15 March 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Penny-wise | Courtesy Bloomberg When I say…bank, what comes to mind? A random WhatsApp survey, not scientific in anyway revealed that most people would default to the definition of financial institution as an organisation that accepts deposits from the public and creates avenues for consumption of credit based products or services. When challenged as to why they defaulted to this, the aggregate summarized response is best packaged by, money makes the world go round and banks are at the center...

14 March 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Time Magazine Cover | Your Data For Sale | Mar. 21, 2011 Personal identifying data is the Holy Grail for business, government and also the black-market. Business models of the world’s largest companies are powered by access to the personal data of millions of users both willingly given and covertly acquired. Locally everyone collects your data and claims it for themselves, a prized resource that yields competitive advantage. Governments by nature and mandate seed the identity of the global...

07 March 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

The US elections always brings into sharp focus the strategies deployed by the political class to win votes and secure positions in government. The last two US elections that saw former President Obama’s and President Trump accent to the highest office in America and arguably the world had many pundits dissect communications and fundraising strategies looking for their secret sauce. With our elections on in under a year, it is about time we looked at the possible channels of engagement and what...

16 February 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Insurance is sold, never bought and you will agree with me that unlike other things necessary for life and living, one does not wake up in the morning and go “I need to get home insurance before lunchtime”. If anything, you have probably been accosted, borderline assaulted by a sharply dressed gentleman or lady in the parking lot of your favorite mall as you loaded your shopping. A cursory glance at your shopping payload triggering a sales pitch on the latest education policy informed by the...

09 February 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

It is not easy running any business let alone that of retail which in the eyes of many looks like a walk in the park. News from the Nakumatt stable caught many casual observers by surprise and following the state of its peer Uchumi, which is still struggling to recover from the debilitating effects of poor management makes one rethink the fundamentals. The background The ways of work in mass market retail have changed over time globally. In the past and probably still holding true for the...

27 January 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

The Devaluing of so-called Blue Collar work is a mentality borne out of a contorted notion of education’s function in the society. One which prioritizes examinations and assessment scores over comprehensive learning of diverse disciplines. Further to this, the perceptions of boring old machines, dirty greasy overalls and smoke-filled factories have been sustained over time by more than just a rigid education system. The politics of national investments, value placed by corporates on college...

12 January 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

Today, I feel like waxing philosophical, coming out of an intense two week period where a number of fledgling enterprises that I am involved in, were forced to rethink their strategy and market potential at a time where everything and everyone is getting disrupted and commoditized on the back of cheaper storage, faster processing power, turnkey infrastructure and new ways of work. Old and primarily offline business systems now have a new lease on life, conversing easily with the latest builds...

03 January 2017 » Mbugua Njihia

We are digital exhibitionists, a society crazed with placing bits and pieces of our personal lives online for all and sundry to indulge in, chasing the fickle like, thumbs up or re-tweet. The global platforms on which we share our intimate selves are loving it, more fodder for their advertising cash cows and investor decks that allow them to close on more capital to build more hooks into our lives, the hockey stick graphs oversubscribing the funding rounds. And I get it, as a technology...

29 December 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

As the year comes to a close, I choose not to be retrospective but rather take a peek into the immediate future at trends that will shape the next twelve months locally, of course underpinned by smart use of technology. Not exhaustive by any means since many verticals are experiencing reinvention but these have population scale dynamics. Payments Safaricom by all indicators may be declared a dominant player in telecoms and payments and there has been no love lost between them and other players...

22 December 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Nothing is promised or remains as a given in the competitive business environments that we all exist in. I did highlight that everyone and everything is game, where even the disruptors get disrupted within fairly short life-cycles. The truth is also that the lines have blurred as to whose customer is it anyway, and conversations are now about how to collaborate to create a combined value pool that benefits all the collaborators. In early Q4 2016 week I attended the Africa Developer Day hosted...

14 December 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Technology is the place to play across all sectors and industries. Trends that have been observed in some of the startup capitals of the world have now taken route across continents and everyone is seemingly invested in finding the next greenfield opportunity or discovering a tweak of monumental value in the many verticals that exist to deliver exponential returns as measured mostly by a healthy and growing bottom-line. There are two truths that have become apparent over the past month or so...

08 December 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

The Wheel of Disruption The C-Suite, is heavily discussing defenses around traditional cash cows and market share attrition from an increasing assault by newcomers riding on the back of new technology or different ways of work. The term disruption is on the lips of these executives many of whom have been blindsided or remained cocky in the face of changing times. The narrative that then gets pushed, tends to paint a negative picture of the effects of adoption of new tech even when the benefits...

28 November 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

We are standing at the precipice of profound change. And to experience this change as a country we must reaffirm our commitment to building, creating, adding value and taking pride in the products that we make. In bolstering manufacturing, we will realize that we cannot continue to speak of innovation and development without basing it heavily on industrialization for our own sustainability. Our change will come from perceiving manufacturing not as individual companies and factories in urban and...

23 November 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

The drums of the political dance have been sounded and the selling of manifestos and publicizing of dream teams has begun in earnest. At the heart of any political campaign is messaging and communication. Traditional media has become fragmented following the drive towards digital and the numbers outside those given by research pundits are hard to verify independently. Notwithstanding media houses usually have an unspoken leaning to one side and as such it is near impossible to rely on a...

16 November 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

The internet has enabled many things. Beyond the communication, information access and knowledge transfer benefits, it has also reduced the total cost of operations when it comes to the software and services domain. In an offline world consumption of legitimate software that supported a business process was by way of a compact disk that was run to install the software in a server or pc environment. This often put the cost of access out of reach for thousands of business owners who more often...

09 November 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Sebi Salim of Eclectics shares the amazing work they have done in retail banking across Africa. Followed these guys from my high school days at Starehe and their lot was the one that opened my eyes to the value and place of tech, a track I adopted and have kept on. The post African FinTech Awards 2016: Eclectics International [Video] appeared first on The mind of Mbugua Njihia. You will find these of interest: African FinTech Awards: Cellulant CEO Ken Njoroge [video] Voice Biometrics in...

02 November 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Cellulant CEO Ken Njoroge with a short sharp presentation on the place of a single reliable payments platform to power transformational business models in Africa. The post African FinTech Awards: Cellulant CEO Ken Njoroge [video] appeared first on The mind of Mbugua Njihia. You will find these of interest: No exact science to business models; a fintech “microloan” experiment Voice Biometrics in FinTech Meeting SME capital needs using public key infrastructure and distributed ledgers

27 October 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

I read an article earlier this week that had Bob Collymore, head of Kenya’s largest telco by customers and revenue quoted as saying that his cash cow Mpesa, of mobile money fame is a clumsy product that risks being dethroned from its currently leading and enviable position. You know what? I actually agree with his concerns / sentiments and read the same symptoms across many other enterprise players who have the opportunity to create the future but are seemingly stuck in processes and human...

19 October 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Businesses are living environments that bring together a host of systems, processes and people in a bid to produce value that can be traded, the lower the cost of creation and awareness, the better. With a multitude of options existing for customers and loyalty being an increasingly fickle commodity, large and small businesses alike need to rethink how they do business and start measuring every little cost center and input into the business to determine its real contribution to the bottom-line...

12 October 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Yellow road warning sign , Problems Ahead , 3d render The proper way to build a business is to figure out how to sustainably scratch a perpetual itch and in Africa we have no shortage of opportunities or brains that apply themselves toward that pursuit. As technology fashioned by Africa’s techpreneurs continues to be produced and taken to market, there are three issues that that I have identified as stifling their ability to take root and grow, outside of capital and talent. Access Market...

27 September 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

We are all going digital, from the mom and pop shops trying their hand at e-commerce to the blue chips trying inject some fresh blood into ways of work that may have grown stale and rigid over the years. Digital traverses both online and mobile with the two being inextricably intertwined. Web portals, platforms and mobile apps are becoming the default touch points for thousands of consumers with the brands and services that they love. Having worked with both large companies and SME’s building...

13 September 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Every single business churns out data in one form or another, structured or unstructured and in this age of low barriers to entry for different market segments, any competitive advantage that one can legally plug into must be sought. The term data science defined by Wikipedia at a high level as “an interdisciplinary field about processes and systems to extract knowledge or insights from data in various forms” and its career title of data scientist have been getting more airtime in both...

31 August 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Source: Presidential Strategic Communications Unit – Digital The 6th TICAD conference that was held in Nairobi last week was significant for many reasons one being that this was the first time the conference was held in Africa, and that Nairobi in particular was a choice destination is not a small feat. The conference was not just about the Kshs 3 Trillion promised by Japan for projects that will boost their trade with Africa; but more than that, it was about forging stronger ties with Japan (...

30 August 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Source: Interior Office systems Every year for the past three years, I have made a list of the things that I found most difficult and the lessons learnt over the previous twelve months. One of the items that has always made the difficult list and will probably continue to do so over the next few years is finding the right talent for the different stages of growth for various companies that I have been involved with that are using technology to deliver a product or service. For both startups and...

17 August 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Image from: BlueOceanStrategy It has been one of those weeks on two of my most vibrant WhatsApp groups where I get online to hundreds of unread messages but still set aside time to read through all the threads; the first made up of technology entrepreneurs mostly from Kenya and the other of my high school cohort drawn from diverse industries. In one group, the place and models of hubs, accelerators, co-working spaces and the entrepreneurs who patronize them has come under sharp scrutiny while...

10 August 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Image from Tel Aviv University website:| Faculty of Exact Sciences Post Mpesa, we have seen renewed vigor in the financial services sector with many players taking a swipe at addressing the needs of a broader set of consumers.  Since most technology entrepreneurs tout that they have a secret source that deliver service differentiation often linking value addition to their proposition, I set out on an experiment. I decide to engage five of the more visible fintech service providers – Mshwari,...

04 August 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

File illustration picture showing the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach Adapt of die, we told industry incumbents when the poster child of the on demand economy, Uber came knocking on our doorstep. With a tried and tested model and deep pockets from numerous rounds that pundits struggled to justify, the death knell sounded for an industry that had remained unregulated...

31 July 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Scaling up technology entrepreneurship success. Image from: Fortune.com Increased sensitization on opportunities opened up by technology has seen more investors warming up to the seed and pre-seed stages of local businesses, visible decent exits and capital appreciation by others gone before whetting that appetite for risk. Entrepreneurs are more knowledgeable and are positioning themselves better to tap into these investor networks while government is keen to keep us on track with Vision 2030...

19 July 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

(Vasabii/iStock/Thinkstock) Over the past decade the world has become more connected. Physical infrastructure that powers actual movement of the human race has seen vast improvements as new trade, commerce and political routes open up. It is the other form of connectedness that has me worried, the digital kind. Long celebrated for making the world a village, an ideal that carries with it a desire for connectedness and collaboration bubbling with positivity, a critical look will show that far...

07 July 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

It is already hard enough running a legitimate technology hinged business in Kenya, even at a time when we know that smart and sustainable deployment of tech will deliver dividends across all industry sectors in our bid to attain Vision 2030 and beyond. Then from the blindside comes a bill – The Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill, 2016 in the Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 84 dated 7th June 2016 that is so utterly ridiculous that line by line it shakes those actively invested...

22 June 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business and there is nothing as crippling for an entrepreneur, especially so if you are lumped into the small and medium enterprise segment as being invoice rich but cash poor. For over 750,000 SME’s in Kenya the gap between service or product fulfillment and payday presents the biggest survival challenge yet, driving owners and executives to seek expensive sources to meet operating expenditure. The cost of these facilities is driven up by the lack of risk...

20 June 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

In this second episode we take a look at how the Maker movement has been appropriated in a frenetic manufacturing hub like Shenzhen, before exploring how the city’s attitudes to open source hardware are so different to those of the West, and what this might mean for both sides of the argument in the near future. Episode Three is out soon where we’ll be looking further into this challenging and divisive approach to IP. Subscribe to the WIRED UK YouTube channel to not miss an episode. Future...

16 June 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Image from: Fintech Talk Sometimes we complicate things in a bid to increase their perceived value and charge a premium. The financial services sector has effectively used the complexity smoke screen to much success for decades making us shy way from demanding better services and transparency. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have given the sector a scare having brought to the fore new possibilities that have served to demystify the bank. Other players have also come to the dance with micro and...

08 June 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

In this first episode we take a glimpse into Huaqiangbei, the city’s vast market district, and talk Moore’s Law and its impact on software vs hardware development before visiting HAX, the only hardware accelerator of its kind in the world. We also begin to explore the origins of this unique and vibrant city, and how it continues to be shaped. Episode two is out next Tuesday 14th June. Subscribe to the WIRED UK YouTube channel to not miss an episode. The post Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of...

31 May 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

I would like to add my voice to the on going debate on whether capping interest rates at 4% above the Central Bank Rate will benefit the economy. From a manufacturing point of view, this  move could curb the flow of funds to the industrial sector as Banks would resort to lending only to the government and AAA accredited institutions, leaving out SMEs and other borrowers in the cold. This experiment of capping interest rates has been carried out before in other countries on the continent, albeit...

26 May 2016 » Mbugua Njihia

Voice, the darling of mobile telecommunications service providers and one of their two cash cows alongside SMS ~ short message service, has been under siege for years now with the growth of OTT ~ over the top service providers. As a channel of communication it has not seen much by way of innovation and its use has been pigeon holed by the peer to peer use case. A key characteristic of human voice is that it carries a unique signature with every human being in the world having a differential in...

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