[Startup Interview] Kennedy Mwaura, CEO, EWYN, Kenya
Kennedy Mwaura is the CEO and Co- founder of EWYN Solutions Limited a Kenyan based startup that has positioned itself as frontrunner in the provision of custom software and mobile applications that address specific needs of diverse clients.
An acronym of Exactly What You Need, the company prides itself in championing local automation solutions for a wide clientele spanning from health, manufacturing, financial services among others.
He talked to Africa Business Communities on the journey to building a company of its kind in Kenya, the partnerships with county governments and other private players in coming up with solutions that embrace efficiency and the dream of creating the next big thing in the country and region.
Give us a brief introduction of your company
We are software developers, specializing in the provision of utmost in concierge business solutions in the form of customized software and mobile applications.
Built on the core values of integrity, commitment and dedication to always deliver and maintain high ethical standards and to build strong long term business partnerships, our services are not limited to the solutions and/or the development of I.T solutions, but also business advisory services.
Our clients determine the level of the service required. We are committed to providing every client with the highest level of service and to work with their business and team.
Where is it located?
We are located in Upperhill are of Nairobi Kenya.
When was the company founded and why?
Initially, I formed the company in 2015 as Delta Investments but later on this month did a merger with another individual and re-registered another company by the name EWYN Solutions Ltd. EWYN is an abbreviation for Exactly What You Need.
The need to have the company was brought about by the realization that businesses that were undergoing massive inefficiencies were using open source/off-the-shelf systems which do not offer fine-tuned solutions to business processes.
Open Source Systems offer generic solutions but businesses do not have generic problems; businesses have specific teams handling specific processes in specific ways to attain specific goals.
In order to create enhanced business efficiency, profitability and correct performance of tasks, I delved into the business of addressing the particular needs of companies by developing software solutions that address those particular needs in a manner that is refined, scalable and more secure.
How is the company funded?
We are entirely funded by our proceeds. We invest a portion of every amount we make through our services to grow the company.
What are your company’s unique selling points?
Provision of solutions that address the exact needs of businesses. By so doing, customer satisfaction is highly achieved unlike in off-the-shelf systems that contain so many unnecessary bulk processes that are not easily customizable, and which are more vulnerable because the source code of any off-the-shelf systems is available to so many developers.
How has the market responded to your services?
Initially, it was difficult to convince potential customers that we could offer better automation solutions due to the previous over-reliance of systems from abroad. However, we are living in times of rapid technological developments and Kenya is on the forefront of such advancements.
As such, businesses now understand the critical need to have a modern web-based system that seamlessly fits their exact needs, and which they can access from different locations and over different devices. As such, the demand for custom systems is exponentially growing as opposed to a few years ago.
Who are your clients?
We develop custom software for every business that requires automation. From manufacturing/processing companies, import/export businesses, any product distribution business, the health sector, transport/fleet/haulier companies, schools, tourism industries, real estate companies, financial institutions such as SACCO’s and money remittance firms.
Given the chance, we do have amazing solutions that we would provide for governments so as to enhance security, transparency & accountability as well as automate their general processes.
What are the changes your company has gone through since inception and what do they mean to the business?
At first, I got a huge number of people to work with but later realized that majority did not share in my dream and were becoming more of liabilities than assets. Starting a company has its challenges – at times we never received payments while other payments were delayed, which made some guys on my team get on my nerves.
While it was understandable that they needed money, it should have been equally understanding that the company’s growth is gradual with impediments along the way. I ended up working with one colleague alone whom we still run the company with to date. We have therefore learnt the essence of only working with individuals that share in our passions and goals in order to achieve substantial growth.
Through that, we have also learnt the value of resilience and consistent determination. Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.
Have you had/or are you planning any strategic partnerships?
Yes. We partnered with another team in the development of a very modern and comprehensive County Revenue collection System that is already in use by two counties and currently being deployed in a third county here in Kenya.
We are currently in the process of partnering with an audit firm to enhance the distribution of our SACCO Management Information System and Business Enterprise Resource & Planning System (ERP). We are alive to the fact that billionaires do not compete but network.
As such, we are open to any available partnerships; be it with consultancy firms, I.T companies or individuals. There is much we can achieve through partnerships and we therefore urge any interested parties to feel free for such mutually beneficial agreements.
How is competition in your industry and how do you weather it?
Being a startup, the biggest competition has been from the already established firms. Clients tend to have more confidence in firms that have existed for many years but progressively, our exemplary work is speaking for us and we are gradually having a tight grip on the market. Very soon, we look forward to being the number one providers of custom software and custom mobile applications.
What is it that you want to achieve in 2018?
Our main focus by the end of this year is to acquire solid sustainability through the provision of two solutions in the form of mobile apps. One addresses a need in the transport industry while the other one offers a great solution to the entertainment industry.
Both apps, once implemented, shall be globally disruptive and great income generators as well. I have the necessary conviction and vision that they are the next big thing. As such, we are seeking for an investor that will put in funds into either of the projects in exchange for a stake so as to enable a successful implementation of both innovations.
What does your company need to grow and prosper?
People need to believe in locally developed solutions as opposed to the conventional ideology that only systems from abroad can work. There is huge potential here in Africa that remains untapped and which can create positive ripple effects if well exploited.
Additional capital would also be monumental to enable intensive marketing to push our products to the market. Leveraging on partnerships would also assist in reaching a wide swath of customers more quickly.
What is the latest news?
We have created a solution that can be adopted by the health ministries to enable swift movement of patients to hospitals. With the mobile platform, patients can seek ambulances or subscribed taxis who can then have their payments facilitated through government programs for example the National Health Insurance Fund. We are calling out on any interested health ministry to adopt the incredible solution.
Who should contact your company and why?
Any business that requires automation or any company that would want a partnership in the provision of custom solutions. This is because we are not only focused on putting the needs of the customer first and ensure that we develop the very best solution for them – we like to maintain a long-term relationship with the client so as to provide them with future advancements of the system and other I.T solutions.
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 email@example.com