Kenya’s MPost turns your mobile number into a postal address

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Kenyan startup MPost, which has developed patented technology that enables users to transform their phone into a unique mobile postal address and mobile postal box, is quickly expanding after securing 40,000 customers in its home market.

Across Africa, there are 440 million unaddressed people, while the global figure is four billion. Founded in 2015 by Abdulaziz Omar and Twahir Ahmed, MPost is bidding to address this problem.

The startup’s platform enables the conversion of mobile numbers into official virtual addresses, which allows notifications to be sent to clients whenever they get mail through their postal addresses.

All potential clients have to do is register by dialling a USSD code or through the MPost mobile and web app, after which the system guides them through an identification process. A US$3 registration fee is paid, with the user obtaining their own virtual postal address. Now, when they receive mail at their chosen post office, the post office generates a unique QR-coded stamp and sends an SMS notification to the user, who can pick up their mail or have it couriered to their location at an additional cost.

Simple, but incredibly effective. MPost, which has been primarily self-funded but obtained some angel investment last year, has already obtained 40,000 users thanks to a partnership with the Postal Corporation of Kenya. Over 22,000 mails and parcels have already been received through the platform, and the startup has already expanded to Uganda ahead of further launches in Rwanda, Botswana, Tanzania, South Africa.

“Uptake to date has been phenomenal, taking into consideration the fact all registrations to date have been with zero marketing budget,” Omar told Disrupt Africa. “MPost has a retention rate of over 85 per cent to date.”

The startup recently took part in the Startupbootcamp AfriTech accelerator programme in Cape Town, during which Omar said they learnt a lot on strategic planning and execution.

“We were introduced to numerous VCs to whom we pitched MPost, and talks are at an advanced stage with some of the VCs we met,” he said. “We also got to sign partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for in-kind service provision.”

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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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