Munyutu, a Bachelor of Information Systems graduate from Brunel University was recently a Chief Innovations Officer and co-founder of Umati Capital, a firm providing working capital solutions across the agricultural value chain (farmers, co-operatives, processors, exporters, retailers & manufacturers). Unlike a typical bank, Umati Capital develops its own web & mobile technologies that it deploys across its client’s business to gather data and make informed lending decisions.
Before founding Umati in 2012, he was President and Chairman of the Board at Ringier Kenya and also founder and country manager at Ringier Kenya where he ran regional operations of Rupu, Pigiame & Rupushops. Munyutu also ran MoComm Wireless in Mombasa after leaving his two year assignment as a Business Analyst at Accenture.
Founded in Kenya in 2011 by Toni Maraviglia and Kago Kagichiri as MPrep, Eneza Education was inspired by the lack of quality engaging revision material for students in rural areas where textbooks are expensive and obviously non-interactive. Kago & Toni met through at Nailab in October 2011 and co-founded MPrep banking on Toni’s teaching experience and love for the classroom, together with Kago’s love for technology.
The two developed the content platform with lessons and assessments on mobile phones, delivered by SMS (text message), to help students learn even in the most marginalized areas of Africa.
SMS was the best way to provide literacy to learners at scale at a time when “dumb” phones-were the majority in Kenya and across the continent. Eneza Education, then created bite-sized lessons, assessments and real-time feedback through their study tool in collaboration with practicing teachers from all over Kenya.
In mid-2012, they partnered with Safaricom to deliver a low-cost solution where students paid a fraction of the cost for SMS messages to access learning. They also provided data to parents and teachers for purposes of monitoring student performance. This mutually beneficial partnership allowed Eneza to revise their mission to Making 50 million rural kids in Africa smarter.
In 2013, Eneza implemented an internal 3-month long impact study among pilot schools showed an improvement of at least 15% compared to the previous year. They learned that the platform fostered more confidence, knowledge retention and collaborative learning among students where some used the same phone to study in groups. Students studied more thanks to Eneza Education.
The number of students learning on the platform grew rapidly but because they were still being charged per SMS, students who had high engagement couldn’t afford the platform. In 2014, Eneza Education created a new product with Safaricom dubbed Shupavu291 to provide learning at a fixed weekly cost of $0.10 to access unlimited messages and content for 7 days.
Apart from providing learning content through SMS/USSD, Eneza Education also provides multi-device learning platforms like the desktop web, mobile web, Android app and chatbots (Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger) to diversify accessibility to different learners, even though 99% of users still access Shupavu291 via SMS (text message).