What startups can learn from the acquisition of Weza Tele by Afb

Weza Tele Founders
Weza Tele Founders Sam Kitonyi, Hilda Moraa and Newton Kitonga with Ihub’s Jessica Colaco.

The startup community woke up to the news that a tech startup Weza Tele had been acquired by Afb, a financial services company that specialises in providing credit products to consumers in Africa, to the tune of $ 1.7 Million (Ksh. 154 Million). This was big as whichever way you look at it $ 1.7 Million is not small change, it also acted as a beacon of hope to other tech startups that if you have a good product, perseverance and hard work will eventually pay off.

Weza Tele started their operation at the Nailab incubation space back in 2012. The startup came to be after Hilda Moraa met Sam Kitonyi and Newton Kitonga at iHub and together they formed Weza Tele Limited. Weza Tele started by building mobility solutions for commerce, supply chain, distribution, and mobile payment integration. Their first product Myorder Enterprise solution was a mobile customized solution that facilitated supply chain, circulation and distribution visibility.

The fact that Hilda and team were able to build their company’s’ value from zero to $ 1.7 M is not a small feat. In this article we will try to analyze what they must have done right in order to get to where they are;

1. Identify a need and come up with a solution

While working at a large global beverage and distribution, Hilda saw the challenges the company faced within their distribution systems and decided to develop an ordering solution prototype for her undergraduate project. This prototype scored an ‘A’. This is the idea which was built on to come up with ‘Myorder Enterprise Solution’.

The Weza Tele team were basically able to scan their environment for opportunities (challenges in a distribution system) and used their strengths to exploit the opportunity to their benefit.

2. Target Market

When Wezatele sat down to design their products they already had a target market in mind and designed a product to suit this market. This worked to their benefit in that the uptake was good as they were addressing an already existing need. Always have a target market in mind when coming up with a product otherwise you might spend time and resources on a product that no one wants.

3. Sell Yourself / Marketing

When time came for them to leave the incubation space at Nailab, they moved to their own offices just across the road. They started knocking on doors, till they started to get noticed leading to partnerships with big firms like IBM, Johnson & Johnson among others. The moral of this point is that you might have a killer product but if you don’t make noise about it no one least of all potential customers will know about. Basically you need/have to put in the leg work in order to get noticed by the right people.

4. Superior Products

As a business you can only engage in price differentiation (pricing your product lower than the competition) or product differentiation (providing a better product than what the competition if offering). In this case Weza Tele decided to offer a superior product than what the market was offering which enabled them to get noticed and finally get acquired by Afb. A superior product (product differentiation) will always attract clients as some people equate cheap products to low quality which might not always be the case.

5. Hard work & Perseverance

In order to get somewhere you need to put in the work, Weza Tele put in a lot of hard work for four years leading up to their acquisition. This involved coming up with innovations and pushing them in the market.Any entrepreneurship venture takes a lot of work and one needs to persevere in order to make it through the ups and downs. Most people have a get rich quick notion thus give up too quickly when they see that things are not going as expected. Had the Weza Tele team given up along the way they would not be where they are today.

This acquisition shows that the Kenyan tech scene is not just fluff as some have put it, however there is need to put in hard work, have a superior product among other things if you want to make it big.

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