How push to cashless fare gave startup growth spark

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai with Nairobi County Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko and other stakeholders address journalists during the launch of a pay card dubbed ‘My 1963’ for commuters to pay fares using cards at the Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi on May 27, 2014.The team behind cashless platform was making a system for use in hospitals but turned the idea to get a share of the billions in transport sector. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • The five wanted General Motors East Africa, the largest motor dealer in passenger vehicles in the country, to link them with some of its biggest clients in the matatu business in order to put their idea to test.
  • Given that big banks, telcoms and other technology firms were battling to get a share of the billions of shillings in the matatu industry, the five techprenuers thought it wise to ride on the experience of established public service transport companies.
  • The story of My1963 by Fiber Space is, however, more of an afterthought than design; it is a classic case of opportunity meeting the prepared. The original idea by the team was to develop a cashless payment system modelled for use in hospitals.

Early last year, a group of five entrepreneurs approached General Motors East Africa’s boss Rita Kavashe armed with an idea that was to see them dip their hands into Kenya’s lucrative matatu industry.

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