I was able to catch a few moments with the Founder of Bozza, Emma kaye. We did a preview on her prior to the Mobile Web West Africa 2012 conference and we were also able to listen to her presentation during the event.
There are a few things that Emma shared with me that tech entrepreneurs can learn from
Obviously, there is no one size fit all strategy in approaching the technology business these days, as she pointed out. Experimentation was at the centre of their business. Today, we live in a fast and ever changing world. Like Steve Jobs said; while you’re busy trying to get the product that the people say they want to the market, they have changed their mind before the product is ready. This is the reason why Apple never really relied on a controlled group or experimentation in deciding what product/service to release to the market.
Why should you experiment?
On the other hand, experimentation will give insight as to what the users will be comfortable with. “Don’t ever under estimate your users,” Emma told me. “We constantly listen to our users. You may be working with an assumption and that assumption will be blown out. Do not assume users in different countries are the same. The behaviour of users is absolutely crucial.”
She is qualified to say all this because Bozza, originally for a small category of people in South Africa, now has Nigerians, Kenyans and Zimbaweans. They have noticed difference in the way they interact with the product. How is that for investors who are coming into Africa to invest and assume the whole of Africa is a country? This should send clear signal to them.
Bozza is in its first iteration. The application is not officially open. They have huge number of users already. How did a product that is not officially open able to get huge number of users? With a smile, Emma told me she doesn’t know. Apparently she was just joking. She went on to share with me that they went into two different strategic partnerships. One was with MXit and the other was to have people submit poems up to 12,000 to the platform.
In 2010, Bozza’s proof of concept which was launched on MXit with seven minutes of made-for-mobile video content, had over 40 000 downloads in 3 days and 170 000 in 3 months. This success proves that there is a receptive market for local quality content and lead to Emma Kaye, Founder and CEO of Bozza, securing investment to build a custom mobile application.
While trying to find out what the people found awesome about the product, Emma shared that it is about the value proposition. The users found the contents relevant to them.
What is the value of a product that is not being discovered? Bozza is a distribution platform. It enables anyone to self publish contents ranging from audio, video and text. All that is needed is a smartphone. Although, to create music you still need the basic components that will enable you create a great music. There are folks who are talented but may be having limited distribution to their work. Bozza steps in to sort this problem out by helping with distribution. While checking it out, I was able to see that Myne Whitman, a popular Nigerian writer and blogger, has a channel there.
One point to note during this first iteration is that one won’t be able to personally upload contents to Bozza. For now, the contents are well moderated and only Bozza can upload the different contents to ensure that no content filled with hate or pornography is uploaded. Emma told me that as soon as they move to the second iteration, things will relax a bit and users will be able to upload contents directly. There is the ability to follow, comment and build a community.
Noting that the product is in its early stages, it will be interesting to see how it will scale and how the acceptance will grow. Although they are not physically present in Nigeria, they have users from Nigeria.
I found Emma to be a warm person to talk to. It will be very interesting to watch how this venture grows. Is there anything you’d like to ask Emma that I did not cover in the interview? Feel free to ask in the comments.