Local smart commerce platform KOKO Networks is looking at expanding its platform to include wireless broadband, digital content distribution and payment of e-government services in its planned second phase of growth.
Speaking to TechMoran, KOKO’s Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Sagun Saxena, explained that the firm’s first business line, an ethanol cooking fuel solution branded SmartCook, is progressing well. The company has installed its “KOKOpoint” fuel dispensers in nearly a dozen different parts of Nairobi, and will continue to expand its presence gradually this year while it focuses on building up a large agent pipeline for city-wide launch next year. By the end of 2018, it expects to have a very dense network of KOKOpoints throughout Nariobi, serving mass-market consumers within 300 meters of their front-doors.
KOKO says the response to SmartCook’s “Soft Launch” earlier this year has been tremendous, with users appreciating the cleanliness, safety and bite-size affordability of the modern cooking solution.
Saxena tells TechMoran that distribution of SmartCook fuel via these automated fuel dispensers is working safely and efficiently, and the firm is very pleased with the feedback from customers and Agents alike.
And although KOKO is focused on scaling up access to the SmartCook solution via its network of KOKOpoints in the short term, back in its labs, its team is working on some exciting opportunities to expand the platform.
“Our team is working closely with several companies on expanding the KOKO platform to include e-commerce, wireless broadband connectivity, digital content distribution, fintech and e-government services,” Saxena explains.
Since its public unveiling in April 2017, KOKO has moved to establish a basic presence in Nairobi and is preparing for significant expansion across the city and in other large urban African markets in 2018.
“The experience we’ve gained so far in Nairobi is feeding continuous improvement of our technology and operating processes, resulting in valuable safety, performance and efficiency gains,” Saxena said. “Major new software features have been released for KOKO’s customers, shopkeepers and partners. For example, the new myKOKO android app enables customers to easily earn cash for convincing friends and family members to join SmartCook.
During its April launch, Saxena says major oil marketing companies showed a lot of interest in the firm and are now positioning themselves to use KOKO’s technology to supply ethanol cooking fuel to KOKOpoints near their petrol stations. KOKO is currently running a process to cement an oil industry partnership that will help accelerate KOKO’s network buildout as it continues to expand production capacity of its consumer and fuel dispenser hardware to support next year’s city-wide launch.
The firm is also working closely with relevant bodies to strengthen the certification standards and regulatory environment for the nascent ethanol-based cooking industry that it is leading, to ensure that this innovative new energy industry segment develops to its full potential.
Yes, it’s a cliché, but nevertheless… watch this space!