Fem Boss: Njeri Rionge, Founder of Wananchi Online, Launches Insite LTD
Njeri Rionge was among the first tech-preneurs to provide internet access services to the Kenyan market through the company that she founded Wananchi Online. She was the CEO for Wananchi Online up to until 2006. She is now making another remarkable fem boss move by setting up Insite Ltd which will provide Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) cloud based applications at a charge of Sh1,000 (US$11.5).
Rionge says her startup business targets to provide the mass market computerized services like e-commerce, payroll, accounting and customer relationship management. She confidently states that her company’s services pricing and designing of the various business management software she has to offer will take the Kenyan tech space by a storm, considering that she and her team build Wananchi Online starting off at literally nothing, to the broadband, cable and internet-based telephone service provider it is.
Currently the Kenyan market for business management software is dominated by SAP, Pastel, Oracle and Sage. It seems Rionge has her work cut out for her: trying to win over the customers and possibly dominate the market share the way her initial startup company did. She seems determined to fight it out with the industry’s top players, as she says “We are creating solutions for businesses to automate their operations and help create value rather than work in chaos. There is need to develop content to get SMEs to use cloud-based apps. If we get businesses to use online solutions, the price of internet will go down as there will be higher uptake of bandwidth”.
Her company Wananchi Online later on went on a merger with ISP Kenya. Shortly afterwards she left Wananchi Online and formed an SME-focused tech company called Ignite Consulting. Through this consultancy company she advised companies on organizational effectiveness, strategy execution and skills training. “I realized most businesses had not integrated their operations hence it was a challenge to execute strategies across departments”. This is what led to her starting Insite Ltd on the January, 2010.
Rionge pays keen attention to the fact that Kenyan SMEs still have a very low uptake of cloud services, largely attributed to lack of information. She however appreciates that cloud-based apps will benefits these SMEs in terms of being more affordable especially on a pay-as-you-go payment system, it will enable SMEs access their data and apps anywhere provided they internet access and to use these apps, you don’t require a lot of “geek” expertise as they are easy to set-up and use.
Currently Insite Ltd has a staff of 15 developers tasked with making various apps locally. Innov8tiv Magazine will be featuring some of their apps which have already been launched in the market already. Njeri Rionge has offices both in Nairobi, Kenya and Toronto, Canada where she spends about 6 to 8 weeks on any of these hubs.