M-Pesa’s success story in Kenya has overshadowed the entire mobile app industry, with experts predicting the industry may have to wait a little longer to witness another m-Revolution.
Speaking at the Social Good Summit in Nairobi on Monday, Nzioka Waita, Safaricom Director of Corporate Affairs, said that the company’s money transfer system is not really about the technology but about the ecosystem they have built around it.
MPesa boasts about 15 million subscribers and more companies have integrated the payment system into their billing solutions. This makes the service more relevant.
But MLab’s manager, John Kieti, is anxious to see the next mobile revolution. “There is a mobile revolution with the creation of apps everywhere,” he said. But the M-Pesa shoes are becoming too big for anyone to fit in.
Kieti believes this is because developers are becoming complacent once they win a cash reward or when their apps make an profit.
Developers want to build small enterprises around their applications, Kieti said, adding that they are not keen on looking beyond the immediate need and think big by building formidable companies.
As reported in an earlier post on HumanIPO, risk analyst Andrea Bohnstedt said: “The unfortunate thing about most startups in Africa is that they are formed by techies, who sit behind a computer screen the whole day working on brilliant ideas. However, there is a missing link to educate these people on how to turn a good idea or app into good companies.
Waita noted that small entrepreneurs and companies are afraid to partner with giants like Safaricom, for various reasons. One reason he pointed out is that there is a belief that Safaricom is an innovation killer, and techies feel intimidated by the giant mobile company.
Waita said that Safaricom is supporting local app developers through various initiatives.
“Real creativity sits in the community. We need to harness this creativity,” he added.
He also announced that the company would be launching their app store in late October.