If you want to sell out an event in Kenya you need to talk to Mookh. Events like Thrift social, blankets & Wine and many others have already leveraged on this. Want to sell products but only have a Facebook page? Just create an online store on Mookh then embed it with your Facebook page, easy-peasy! TAP team met up with the force behind Mookh, an online ticketing and sales to learn more about their brand.
Mukwanja is slang for money in Kenya. It is from the need to make mukwanja that Eric Thimba and George Muchiri who goes by Poji cofounded Mookh (coined from mukwanja, cool right?) and began the journey to solve the problem that would make it easy for people in Africa to buy and sell on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter thereby providing a social business payments solution.
Like most startups, ideas evolve and morph. As they were hard at work on developing a solution to the problem of selling a product online, they identified another problem; musicians were trying to get their music out there. How would they sell online? How could someone from Kenya buy that dope album by Ali Kiba? Mookh, that’s how.
Lessons from the school of life
The two entrepreneurs could write a book when it comes to the question of their journey, both the good and the bad, because we know the stars didn’t just magically align for Mookh. A lot has happened since they set out in 2012 to validate what they are doing and the biggest validation has been their clients. Lessons…the lessons people! Eric and Poji have been through the school of life which has taught them how to do business, how to fundraise, how to get out of the belly of the shark and back into the water because sharks are out there. Poji and Eric are both not from a tech background so imagine deciding to build a boat yet you don’t know how to swim; crazy, right? Or is it? Yet here they are, proving that you don’t have to be a programmer to start a tech company. As much as they have learnt a lot from the lessons, they sure hope they are done with the worst. A big win for Mookh has been the corporate partnership like Microsoft, Facebook and most recently Visa. Though they started in 2012, mookh first went live in 2015 so it was three years of concept development. The two are shocked that it has been seven years since they started out; time flies in the startup world. I guess this is their year of rest.
Talking of big wins, Mookh Africa was awarded a 5 million Kenya shillings prize in the Visa Everywhere Initiative Sub Saharan Africa competition. Besides the cash prize, Mookh also secured an opportunity to work with Visa to develop its concept further which they consider invaluable and the best part of the win. If you know how hard the start up journey is then you definitely relate to Mookh’s story already, the right partnerships can propel one’s business to greater heights.
On the question of how they have dealt with competition, Eric deals with it by not thinking about the competition and to rather focus on their product. How to constantly make Mookh better based on what their clients are looking for and not based on what the ‘competition’ is doing is important. Being three years in he feels they are still not at a point to go out talking about competition and beating their chests, they still have a long way to go and it is important for them to look inwards. They do this by spending a lot of time listening to their clients which helps them to innovate around their clients’ needs. Maybe in the future competition will be something to look at, until then they intend to keep doing what they are doing, creating a world class product.
World class products don’t just magically happen
Poji lets us in on how they have grown so far. Their growth has been organic over the years. They had never done advertising for Mookh but as a brand grows, communication is key. Recently they were tasked with going out there and making some noise. Their marketing strategy is pushing their sellers out there for everyone to see and know them in a unique way that gets the attention of their audience and changes the perception globally. That is how Africa’s first online pop up festival was born. A category was picked; music. Big time artists have the resources to do PR and set up concerts but for the musician whose music is on Mookh and concerts are not easy for them to do but would love to put on a show for fans, this was perfect. Ten artists were then picked to do an online concert. These ten different acts performed for 30 minutes from 10 A.M to 10 P.M. It helped them not to just get their music heard but to push sales for their albums and their content. The online concert is the first of the marketing strategies Mookh is releasing to push their merchants forward. Definitely a world class product in TAPs view.
When it comes to talent they believe we have a lot of talent, most of which is raw. Self taught Kids coding in their rooms are coming up with amazing stuff. Those flying in talent to do tech in Kenya need to tap in to what is already here but before they get around to it, Mookh is already tapping into that great resource.Their team is actually very young which is pretty great.
The Silicon Savannah
The reception to the brand by the masses has been humbling to the Mookh duo. Kenyans have given them a thumbs up, that’s why they love testing out their product in the silicon Savannah that is Nairobi. Mookh is a through and through Pan African brand. To be a global brand would be great but being a Pan African brand is what excites them.
Geographical expansion is what’s next for Mookh and at the same time growing their existing categories here in Kenya. Currently ticketing for events is what many know Mookh for and they want to dominate the ticketing space by going into conferences, sports ticketing, transport, you name it, they want it all!