Jukwaa, a ‘Spotify’ of sorts for Africa has launched to help artists in Kenya and across Africa to monetize their art and beat piracy and poverty at the same time.
Created by the team behind 500 Startups backed Paykind Inc ( a Delaware company) which is registered in Kenya as Cardplanet Solutions (a Nailab and Savannah Fund backed firm, Jukwaa seeks to be a platform that empowers upcoming artists in a Tinder like model.
Founded by Samuel Masinde (CTO) who holds a Bsc. Computer Science Degree from Egerton University and a Masters from Jomo Kenyata University(on going) and Rodgers Muhadi (CEO) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering( Instrumentation and Controls option) from Egerton University, the platform was inspired when the two interacted with a lot of local artists and saw what they were going through.
“We also realized that there is vast talent in Africa and beyond that really wants the right platform,” Muhadi told TechMoran. To support artists, a number of corporates organize auditions such as Tusker Project Fame, KTN- I can Sign, Talanta Mtaani, East Africa Got Talent among others) but most of this are marketing events with a single objective of branding or marketing corporate products and services. Radio, TV and YouTube do not fully address the existing gaps, Muhadi told TechMoran.
“Currently, only popular artists make money, and for them to be popular they need support from their fans. This is a chicken and egg problem that Jukwaa seeks to solve – we are putting the power of artists becoming popular in the hands of their fans, starting with their friends and families,” Muhadi said.
Essentially Jukwaa seeks to be a platform that empowers upcoming people. However, as a business it will make money through selling likes (similar model as Tinder).
Jukwaa plans to partner with existing offline channels and event organizers to help achieve their vision.
“Only by doing so that we can achieve our mission. A good example is how disruptive companies like Safaricom’s M-PESA leveraged existing networks like banks and corner shops to become global successes. We therefore welcome partnerships from any one that can complement Jukwaa and make it a success,” said Muhadi.
Platforms like Mdundo and Boomplay look like they are competition but Muhadi says they don’t help upcoming artists to breakthrough. Other competing platforms include offline channels Radio, TV and Youtube and estate rap and singing battles.
Music is a large industry globally( evidenced by multi billion dollar music apps like Spotify and I-tunes). Everyone loves new and good music. However, upcoming artist who could have made this new and great music are unable to do this for lack of a launch platform.
To grow as an artist in Kenya you need money, right network, patience and exceptional street smartness which Jukwaa aims to help with. The firm will have an in house IP lawyer to manage copyright issues and will partner with existing production houses like Mains Switch, Decimal Records and Kaka Empire to help produce independent artists.
Muhadi, who has been battling depression after losing money through a fraud-related incident which involved an employee at Paykind says the firm exists legally but the product was given up.