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KudiGo: Changing the Game for Retail Management in Africa
2018 has been an exciting year for the KudiGo team. KudiGo Inc. is a consumer retail software operation that offers data oriented solutions for the African market. Based in Accra and Nigeria, KudiGo is a data company that primarily serves the small to medium-sized business sector.
This year, they partnered with two payment giants – Africa-focused company Interswitch and worldwide accounting software giant Sage. The product from this partnership, a first for Africa, is a smart Android POS system that has features you’d only expect a modern laptop to support. They recently launched their smart Android POS system at AB2020’s annual Tech in Ghana Conference in Accra, which brought business, government and the local startup community to their door.
Here, Kudigo’s CEO Kingsley Abrokwah speaks exclusively about the launch of their new Smart Android POS that will change the game for retail in Africa.
How did you get big partners like Sage and Interswitch to work with you – within the space of a year?
Our conversation with them actually began in November 2017 when we were selected by Demo Africa to pitch in Johannesburg. Sage was interested in having a conversation with us because we already used their products for our clients. They understood what value we could bring to both of our users – they had the technology, but our customers didn’t have the budget for their solutions. We therefore innovated on a price and solution that would fit a typical merchant who cannot afford the expensive setup.
With regards to Interswitch, at the time we knew we did not want to be Paystack. We simply had to partner with a company that already was. Interswitch is one of the largest payment processors in Nigeria, so going to a big player like that; the question was what to offer them that they do not have? At the time, InterSwitch had a similar solution they were selling to multinationals. They asked us to prove our concept so we launched a beta version and went back to them with over 200 businesses [over 50 of them being Nigerian based, even though at the time we did not have a physical presence in Nigeria]. Now armed with data and transaction value, we invited them to partner with us as a payment processor. They did. Now every KudiGo customer can pay via mobile, card transactions, Mastercard or QR code payments.
Can you delve deeper into what your technology can do and how much it costs?
Kudigo is a mobile based, integrated retail business solution that is an Android POS system, exactly like the POS you use to swipe for cards at a till. It has a one time setup fee of USD$414. It is sim card and WiFi enabled as well. It’s a smart POS that is incorporated with a retail engine, an accounting engine, payments engine and intelligent analytics – powered by Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. If you’re uploading inventory, we are recording it. If it’s going out, we are recording it and analysing it. There is no lost sales or unaccounted goods because every action is recorded. For pharmacies in particular, we have one key feature; the expiry date. Users can set intelligence events such as a ‘minimum stock threshold’ for every single product, so that whenever the threshold is reached an alert can reach you via mobile ahead of time. It is also accessible offline, and this solves the huge internet challenge in Africa for our users. It is really powerful as it reconciles transactions in real time as well.
What has been the market response to the new Kudigo Android SMART Terminal?
The market response has been tremendous due to how we integrate everything that a small business owner needs to run their operations smoothly. Initially, we set a target to sell 100 devices by the end of the year, and we have already bypassed that target. By the end of Tech In Ghana Accra [28 November 2018] we had already sold over 150 devices.
Who else is a part of the team at Kudigo?
The core team is made up of myself as team lead; Gideon Boateng is our Chief Technology Officer; Clifford Aberah is our Product Lead; Bright Ahedor is our Mobile Lead; and Lucky Dogbey is our enterprise lead.
How do you make your money?
KudiGo makes money from our two main products; KudiGO Storefront via a premium monthly subscription of USD$14.50 which is part of our partnership deal with Sage. Our clients are getting the benefits of a Sage product at a KudiGo price. We also make commission from non-cash payment processing. Lastly, we make our money from our enterprise product KudiGo foresight, which is a license-based subscription for manufacturers and distributors in retail. This is the pulse of KudiGo. As a product passes through the supply chain it may get stolen or even rebranded. Therefore brand owners need to track their inventory right down to the last mile individual, the consumer. We guarantee real-time visibility by providing unique barcodes that are marked when a product is uploaded. Within KudiGo foresight, a brand owner can track what happened when the product left the factory, the price supplied, the time spent on the shelf and the time it took to sell. KudiGo foresight is run on Blockchain technology, so nothing can be changed.
Are you currently seeking investment?
We’re currently in the final stages of closing our seed investment round of USD$300,000, to support our product development and customer acquisition strategy.
Do you have any competition [in Africa]?
Our direct competition is the traditional retail POS and cloud based solutions like VEND and Humbletill.
What’s your 10-year vision for Kudigo?
Our vision is to innovate and create solutions that impact lives in Africa. We believe retail is one such industry as it has a socio-economic impact on everyone. We are here to apply data so that African merchants can get better insights that can help their business. As Kudigo, we are looking forward to offering more value to our users.