Cameroonian startup Dikalo, which has developed a social network designed to help people communicate with ease and safety, has passed the 120,00 user mark and has ambitions to be used all over Africa.
It works much like any other social network, but it has key differentiators. The feed and stories are largely similar to elsewhere, but Dikalo’s messaging aspect works without the need to share a phone number, and all conversations are encrypted.
Cameroonians seem to like it. The startup now has 120,000 users, with 100,000 of those active daily. A total of 700 million messages have been sent on the platform so far.
“People are loving the idea of a local platform,” said Alain Ekambi, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Dikalo.
“Most of our users come from Cameroon and Ivory Coast. Our main goal is to become number one everywhere. I would love us to be big in places like South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Algeria… We will get there.”
Ekambi accepts that Dikalo’s competition in this regard is rather serious, including as it does the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“This sounds like its mission impossible, but that’s what makes our mission with Dikalo so important and special. Go against those giants to create a place we can call “home”. Currently 99 per cent of our ways to communicate come from outside Africa. For something so important and central, like chatting and communicating, this is dangerous position to be in. With Dikalo we want to create a local strong alternative to the foreign offering,” he said.
The startup is making a decent fist of it so far, and Ekambi said it would have done even better had it not been for some issues with performance on mobile.
“This is preventing us from growing even faster. Version two should fix it. We are super excited to see what will happen when we release the next generation of our tools,” he said.
That should take place shortly, after which Dikalo, which so far has only taken on a small amount of crowdfunding capital, will be looking to raise a funding round in order to scale further.