Earlier I ran a story about M-Kazi, an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) job application service connecting job seekers to employers, which has shut down. I unethically went live without hearing from the founders and out of good faith, I have pulled down the story.
To clear the several angles from our tipsters, to answer your questions and protect everyone involved including our readers, co-founder Lino Carcoforo has volunteered facts on why the firm shut down its operations.
M-Kazi raised a total of USD200,000, NOT $660,000.Main reasons for winding down:1. Billing issues with Safaricom – Having negotiated rates through Craft Silicon to ensure better margins on SMS and USSD, M-Kazi was not able to bill Safaricom directly due to a lack of a tripartite agreement.2. Lack of cash flow due to not being able to bill3. Discrepancy between M-Kazi system sms sent and Safaricom delivery reports4. Failure to close subsequent funding as a result of not showing adequate growth in user acquisition – again, directly tied to lack of marketing spend.Below is our email conversation. 

  • Sam Wakoba

    Hi Tom, I have added a screenshot of my email exchange with Lino. Hope this helps you.

  • Tom

    Except you still haven’t spoken to the founder, have you? You just copied and pasted from here:

    Have you even considered calling or emailing Lino and getting the actual story?

  • So its Safaricom’s fault?
    For the many start-ups or great businesses that depend on a major telcom like Safcom as a key part of their roll-out.. what lessons should we glean from this?
    Get Safcom as a partner? (is it only a matter of time before Safcom rolls out.. its version.. e.g Safkazi,PataKazi, KaziMob??)
    Not building the system to depend on a single/Monopoly- source/provider.. (Maybe thats Hard considering how much potential M-Kazi had.. Sms- to the masses) -Twitter /Flutter maybe?

    Its Sad this went down this way..goes without saying.. it for e.g equity firms, VC’s, Gov and other potential partners.. this further erodes faith in our m-vitu’s BUT it gives us case to grow, get better, deliver more air-tight services.