[Startup Interview] Emeka Akano, CEO, Jara Mobile Ltd, Nigeria
Jara Mobile Limited, a Nigerian startup, runs an innovative bills payment platform that integrates various retailers into one loyalty programme, giving customers the leeway of doing more with less money. This, while helping brands acquire customers more economically and measure their advertising reach effectively.
Emeka Akano, the company’s CEO and co- founder spoke to Africa Business Communities.
Give us a background of Jara Mobile Ltd
Our venture is centered around helping African consumers save money on their routine payments. By integrating different retailers in one loyalty program, consumers are able to save across a wide range of their expenses - from food, to shopping and entertainment.
This would enable consumers to do more with less money, while also helping retailers save a lot of money on their marketing and advertising spend.
Our flagship product ‘Jara app’ enables consumers in Nigeria to earn rewards when they pay for their routine bills and to redeem those rewards as discounts across a variety of their favorite retailers/brands.
In summary we reward consumers’ routine bill payments, which results to cash savings for them while also enabling retailers maximize their marketing budget, the result being a win-win model.
Where is your company located?
We are in Lagos, Nigeria.
When was it founded and who are the shareholders?
Jara Mobile Ltd was founded in 2015, by four founders, Emeka Akano, Chinedu Onyeaso, Ikenna Njoku and Afam Anikpo, who have been friends for over a decade and are all equally technology enthusiasts with a passion for solving African problems as well as helping curb the ridiculously high employment rates currently plaguing the continent, by creating new jobs.
While we had many different ideas in the past and had executed successfully on a few as well as had some failures, we finally stumbled upon the concept of ‘Jara’ which in one of the local languages in Nigeria means ‘to get extra value on a product or service from the merchant’ and how we could create an innovative product that would disrupt the way Africans think about their routine payments or paying for their basic necessities.
How is the company funded?
The company has been funded by founders, bootstrapping, family and friends and some external angel investment so far.
What are Jara Mobile Ltd’s unique selling points?
We are the only bills payment platform that on one hands gives consumers extra value on their bill payment transaction in addition to the convenience we provide for them from their mobile phone, we further ensure they enjoy savings on their routine expenses at their favourite brands by ensuring that they get quality discount coupons to their favourite brands each time they pay their bills through our app.
On the other hand, we help brands to acquire customers more economically, help them measure the results of their advertising efforts more precisely as it affects their bottom line.
In summary, our uniqueness lies in our win win-win business model where consumers and brands enjoy convenience and cost savings benefits alike.
How has the market responded to your products?
The market has reacted very positively to our innovative product, even before we launched the very first version at the end of 2016, our social media followership grow to over 15,000+ followers who were all eager to use the app.
We've also gotten interests from a number of top brands in Nigeria across the food, entertainment, shopping and service categories as we call them.
Who are your clients?
Our clients are two fold, consumers who pay routine bills and brands who are constantly seeking to attract new customers innovatively and cost effectively and also keen to retain them.
What are the ambitions of the company?
Our plans and ambitions includes expanding to other African countries like Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda to name a few.
We believe moving into other African market would ensure we are course with our mission of helping African consumers save money on their routine payments while helping brands maximise their marketing budgets.
What does your company need to grow and prosper?
We need connection to the right type of investor) to come on board our seed round to help us accelerate our growth and capture market share quickly, the type of investors who understand technology and would also play a pivotal role in getting us strategic partnership that would further foster the achievements of our goals.
What is the latest news from your company?
We were selected as one of 6 startups to be featured in Lagos Social Media Week 2018 inaugural ‘Launched in Africa Series’ happening this February from the 26th – 2nd March, 2018, where we would be launching the improved version of our app Jara 2.0 to the public. If you are in Lagos, please feel free to visit our stand we would be happy to meet you.
Who should contact your company and why?
Brands looking to promote their products and services more efficiently, who are keen to reach and retain a targeted audience, spend less on ads, get insight on consumers and track conversions of their ad spend.
Investors who are also keen to back a superb management team who are disrupting the way African consumers and brands who think about their routine bills should also contact us, we would be interested in exploring investment partnerships and opportunities with the right type of Investors.
Africa Business Communities is conducting a series of interviews with startup businesses in Africa.
Are you a startup in Africa and interested in an interview? Great! Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org