Below is an excerpt from the feature by BBC’s Tech reporter, Fiona Graham :
Co-founder and chief executive Bernard Owuor says originally they were trying to build a way to send feedback to restaurants and shop owners via text message.
“We thought, why not put in a check-in system, so you can also tell your friends,” he says.
“Then we said, why not add an incentive. If you do it 10 times you get a discount. That’s how this developed.”
The feedback plus customer check-ins can provide useful analytics.
“It’s very hard to quantify the monetary value but loyalty programmes work.”
Bernard Owuor speaks about how NikoHapa got started:
“Jeremy and I first met at the iHub when he was trying to find a Python developer to help with his mswali.org. MSwali didn’t pick up immediately (it’s doing great now), but we discovered we were birds of a feather. NikoHapa popped up 4 months later just before Pivot25 in March 2011. We leveraged the competition to accelerate its development such that we were able to launch a fully flawless service by June 15th (day of the competition). After the competition, precious advisors at ihub helped me with the tough choice of leaving the best job in the world to run Nikohapa,
Given that our angel investor also came via the iHub networks, NikoHapa would have been impossible without the iHub.
After taking it to the market, we have received a lot of real user feedback, and have continued developing it. The encouragement and live user feedback have been very critical in our growth. Need I also mention the exposure and media coverage we have received so far?
We now have a product that the market loves and will be ‘graduating’ soon, but it’s a fortunate place I’ll never forget. The quality and scale the ihub dimension has introduced to Nikohapa is completely incomparable with my previous start-ups.”
NikoHapa is also an Android phone app, and to encourage check-ins the start-up has just launched an NFC (near field communication) option, as either a card, or key ring fob.
Check-ins are through a special point of sale – or cash register – app that runs on an Android tablet or smartphone.
Mr Owuor says he’s already had enquiries from the Ivory Coast and Ghana about launching NikoHapa there.
Read More about Niko Hapa and its founding journey on iHub’s Start-Up Profiles, here.
Excerpted from BBC Business Segment.