Kenyan coupons app Mobu set for launch

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Kenyan startup Mobu is set to release its coupons app, offering users access to goods and services at up to 80 per cent off and merchants the chance of increased footfall in their stores.

Mobu, which will be one of 25 startups pitching at PIVOT East in Nairobi next week, has been testing its Android app since January with 1,400 users. Director Kennedy Nyaga told Disrupt Africa 600 of those users open the app every day.

“In the beginning, we wanted to do something like Groupon, because we had discovered when you are mobile you are loyal. We wanted to increase Groupon’s conversion rates,” he said.

However, Mobu changed tack, with Nyaga saying the startup is now focused on small merchants unable to afford the cost of billboard or newspaper advertising.

“We are helping merchants convert excess goods into a marketing tool,” he said.

“The merchants are very excited because we are relaying to them who is looking at their coupon.”

This data is central to Mobu’s business plan, as its integration with Facebook means it is able to collect information on users that would be impossible through billboard and newspaper advertising.

“We are deeply integrated into Facebook, one of the core ways you can use Mobu is via Facebook, because it gives us your bio data,” Nyaga said, adding the company was rolling out with a pay-per-view business model.

“Because the merchant is able to get this information, every time a person clicks we charge KES1.”

Mobu has been bootstrapped thus far, but the startup is now looking for US$67,000 in funding, mainly for marketing purposes. Nyaga said the team hopes to increase its user base ten-fold by October, driven by the quality of offers on its platform.

“We are quite selective. We have another app for merchants that allows them to create coupons easily. When they create it, we advise them on quality, and then we publish it when it is OK,” he said.

There have been a number of equivalents in Kenya in the past, but many have not survived, while Nyaga said Mobu differentiated itself from other options in the market due to its focus on the offline aspect of businesses.

“We just think the time is right now. What we have are copies of Groupon, but we think those will only affect our market when one does not want to go offline. We focus on driving in-store traffic,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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