Sam Gikandi ’05 SM ’06 and Eston Kimani ’05 have always believed in the potential of Africa’s entrepreneurial community. Their years at MIT, beginning in 2001 when they left their home country of Kenya, only reinforced that belief.
Through the MIT-Africa initiative and other campus programs that allowed them to work in regions across the African continent, they met hundreds of established and aspiring software developers, many of whom were in various stages of starting companies.
In order for these developers to maximize their impact, Gikandi and Kimani knew they’d need to reach the hundreds of millions of Africans who own cell phones but not smartphones. That has traditionally required entrepreneurs to go through several long and complex processes, including applying for access to telecommunications infrastructure from mobile operators, setting up the necessary technical integrations, and gaining approval from regulatory agencies in each region they wanted to operate in.
Gikandi and Kimani felt those hurdles were holding Africa’s businesses back, so they founded Africa’s Talking to unleash entrepreneurs’ full potential.