Leading Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom has launched Zindua Café, an interactive portal that allows developers to share their ideas for applications with the company.
Users of the Zindua portal are required to register online, after which they are able to submit their ideas and have them reviewed by Safaricom. This process will take a maximum of three weeks, after which Safaricom will let the developer know whether or not they are interested in the idea.
If Safaricom likes the suggestion, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and commercial contract can be agreed upon and the idea implemented.
“Over the years we have received numerous proposals from customers on new ideas products and services. This portal will serve as a central place where those ideas are captured while ensuring that intellectual property and other laws are given due regard,” said Joe Ogutu, director of strategy and innovation at Safaricom.
Safaricom has been making greater efforts of late to liase with Kenya’s developer community. Its major step has been the launch of the Spark Venture Fund in November, through which the operator has made available US$1 million to support mobile ICT startups in Kenya and enable the development of innovative mobile solutions.
The fund will offer equity investments and other debt instruments for values between US$75,000 and US$250,000, and has been launched for an initial two-year period.
“We see this as a much needed catalyst that will help actualise our aspiration to nurture a vibrant ICT economy in Kenya. It will directly address the key startup and developers’ pain points such as the cost and speed of accessing a platform where they can test their solutions,” said Ogutu.