The Switzerland-based early stage startup competition, Seedstars, running over 65 local competitions in emerging markets across the world to identify the best seed-stage startups. Identified iNuka Pap Ltd. in its Kenyan leg of the competition, Seedstars Nairobi, which took place on Friday, October 7th at the PAWA254.
Innov8tiv made a follow up for a sit down with the brains behind iNuka Pap, and the following is our exclusive 1o1 interview with the startup founder and CEO.
Tell us about yourself
My Name is Waweru Kuria, and I am Founder and C.E.O. of iNuka Pap Ltd. I have been in this position since iNuka Pap was founded in 2014, and registered as a company in 2015.
Having spent ample time to build and prototype, iNuka Pap officially began operating in January 2016. Other than iNuka Pap, I have over 10 years of experience in entrepreneurship.
Especially in the micro-insurance insurance sector and can say that iNuka Pap brings all these skills into one great venture that I am deeply passionate about.
What is iNuka Pap, and what was the motivation for creating it?
INuka Pap, which means “Get lifted instantly”, is a mobile loan processing platform that provides Credit co-operative members in rural Africa with access to instant loans right on their mobile phones.
Part of what motivated me to start this company was the fact that I have personally seen death take place multiple times due to lack of convenience in accessing credit that has been locked up in co-operatives. Many Kenyans especially in the rural areas, which is where I come from go through such tough situations.
Due to demand from people in the public, we have built an app to help open up the service to more people who need it. We have also gone a step ahead to take care of the emergency situations by providing Free Medical Insurance, so that our members don’t have to save for rainy days, they can concentrate in saving to build their future and improve their lives, while we take care of their rainy days.
What were some of the challenges to growing iNuka Pap to where it is?
The biggest Challenge for us was mainly been tech talent. Being a Financial Technology company, our team was very strong in marketing, but did not have skills in tech. We had to outsource tech services to be able to achieve what we had set out. There are many challenges that come with outsourcing tech in a company where tech is the heart of the business especially when it comes to speed and beating competition in the market. It is not until early this year that we got a CTO and now have taken development in-house.
Where do you see iNuka Pap in the future?
I see iNuka Pap disrupting the insurance and financial market, and creating significant impact in society not just in Kenya or Africa but also in the world. These services will not only solve challenges in the rural Africa but will also create opportunities for a better economy.
You just won the Seedstars Nairobi competition. How do you feel and what were your experiences at the contest?
I am very humbled and honored to know that people can see value in what we are doing and our sweat and efforts are not in vain. I was also very inspired to see what other companies were doing and seen that there are strong collaborations we can create to better Africa. The contest was more of an avenue to see how different companies could work together in different ways and achieve something big. iNuka Pap has been given a big responsibility to represent Kenya in a world class competition, we take that very seriously and look forward to bringing the award home.
You will be representing Kenya at the global stage of the Seedstars World competition. Congratulations for that, what are some of your expectation at the contest?
My expectation at the contest is that in as much as winning is key, the relationships we create are very important in growing the Kenyan startup ecosystem. My team and I are determined to ensure that access to capital for Startups in Kenya eased. This will only be possible if we are able to represent them well and in a memorable way. The pressure is on ☺
What is the one thing you would wish for the most in the tech scene in Kenya?
I would wish to see more collaborations in the tech scene, I would wish to see developers helping other tech companies improve their product, I would wish to see techies using each other’s products and giving feedback. With this I believe that we will definitely cause a positive ripple in the economy and set ourselves as the real Silicon valley in Africa.
What is your advice to youths in Kenya and Africa at large thinking of pursuing education or career in the STEM?
STEM are the most highly demanded Careers in Africa especially in this era. There is so much we have not explored. What has been done so far is barely a fraction of what is yet to come. New ideas are being discovered every day yet so many experience “leaking bucket effect.” The demand for techies is only rising, schools as we know them today will be a thing of the past sooner than we think, children from the age of 3 years will start learning to code. My advice, if you are learning, learn fast, practice more, break new grounds and be the disruptor in whichever industry you pick.