How Fuzu wants to become the go-to platform for emerging market talent


Fuzu is a Swahili verb meaning ‘to succeed’. Fuzu the company, is a Pan-African company that launched the Fuzu employment platform in 2015. It is online career and recruitment platform, that provides access to career advice, online learning and jobs in East Africa. Fuzu aims to change the landscape of job search and recruitment by turning hopeless job-hunting into an ever inspiring journey of self-discovery.

Briefly tell us about yourselves, your educational background, team and how you came together to form Fuzu.
Jussi Hinkkanen holds the position of CEO for Fuzu Ltd and is one of the two founders of the company. Mr. Hinkkanen holds Master of Science in Industrial Economics from the University of Tampere, Finland and is responsible for driving Fuzu from vision to reality and for establishing Fuzu as the leading career development platform in the emerging markets. He has spent 15 years in Africa across different roles in Government, UN and Nokia.
The Fuzu team has extensive experience in operating and building products and services for consumers in the Middle East, Africa and Asia geography. The Leadership team has 50+ years combined of building products and solutions for the African market. Today, the Fuzu team is constantly growing and is now 26 strong, with 6 team members located in Helsinki, Finland (R&D) and 20 in Nairobi, Kenya (Marketing, Customer Service, Business Development and Content).

How would you describe your company?
FUZU Limited was founded in 2013 in Finland and specializes in career development, recruitment and learning solutions for emerging market organizations and end-users. FUZU solution caters for both blue-and white-collar employees and helps SME’s, multinational companies and non-profit organizations in identifying and developing talent. FUZU’s ambition is to become the go-to platform for emerging market talent and a place to dream, grow and validate one’s talent and ultimately find the next career opportunity.

What market gap did you spot that motivated you to start the company?
Fuzu started from a realization that traditional job market solutions, both online and offline, are out of date and unable to respond to today’s challenges. In Africa alone there will be more than 750 million people with limited formal education entering the job market between 2010 and 2035 with most of them never having received any form of career counseling or support. They simply do not know how to get their careers started or what paths to follow.
Similarly, employers are battling as well. They receive thousands of applications per position and spend significant resources in attracting and analyzing candidates. Still often ending up empty handed. Employers also lack tools for developing and retaining their staff, leading to loss of top talent.
Fuzu’s central idea is to allow both sides of the job market to maximize their potential, and to find each other. Fuzu builds a bridge from education to employment and helps career builders by marrying career planning with learning, social engagement and automated feedback. And by matching job opportunities to users with unparalleled accuracy. For employers Fuzu is a platform for attracting new talent, for recruiting more efficiently and for continuous development of their staff.

How has uptake been like since you launched?
The Fuzu platform was launched in September 2015 and has since grown to a community of more than 400.000 users in Kenya with more than 2.5 million people having used the platform to date. Fuzu Limited has been identified as one of the leading innovators in the job market space by players like Disrupt100, Rockefeller Foundation, E&Y, Business Review Africa and CNBC Africa. Our partners range from Accenture, Microsoft, Google and McKinsey to local African giants like Equity Bank, Multichoice and TechnoBrain.

Who is your major competition? What do you do different to distinguish yourself from them?
Fuzu has two main types of competitors. There is the big global players like LinkedIn and Glassdoor but they are not built to support the continent and have many design and business model challenges that will stop them form making a true difference in East Africa across the Socio economic spectrum.
The second type of competitor is the local traditional job listing platforms such as BrighterMonday, CareerPoint, KenyaMoja and recruiting firms such as Duma Works, Shortlist. While they all provide quality services for the market, we feel like we are shifting the game on both sides of the job market (B2B and B2C) by creating a fully integrated experience through Machine Learning and AI that creates a highly personalized experience across all levels and industries.

What are some of the biggest challenges you faced since the inception of the company?
Driving behavioral change with our career builders and employer partners. Trying to make them understand that we are not just another recruitment platform or job listing site but are their personal career companion. And that with Fuzu, it’s not about just finding a job, but about identifying their own personal career path and a road to professional fulfillment. While many of our users do use Fuzu to it’s full potential, many still view us just another job board.
With employers, many are used to the traditional recruitment model where they hire someone to provide them with 5-6 pre-vetted short-listed candidates. This allows them to take all the hassle out of finding the perfect candidate. Our platform also takes all the hassle out of the recruitment process but keeps the decision and short-listing in the hand of our clients. The platform tracks all applications, automatically ranks them and gives you a view into their personality and talent. It makes the shortlisting process fun and take no more than 30-minutes. That said, our employer partners still default to the traditional process (which we also support) as they find it hard to believe that a solution like ours exists.

What advice would you wish to share with aspiring African entrepreneurs?
Be Proactive. Take control of you career of your destiny and always be learning new things. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you, for programs to upskill you. Set a goal for yourself, what you want to get out of your career and your life and then identify the steps to get there. Things will change, things will get challenging, but as long as you have your goal in mind, you are proactive and always learning, nothing can stop you