What if you had all the data you needed to succeed?

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Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • That Kenya is blessed with a very diverse and adaptive market.


  • The sheer number of business ideas, solutions and startups is evidence of our country’s entrepreneurial spirit.


  • In Kenya, business conversations are almost like social conversations. It isn’t surprising then that nearly everyone, employed or not, has a side gig.

‘‘Transforming Africa through technology, a platform at a time,’’ reads Bramuel’s bio on LinkedIn. A passionate data scientist, Bramuel helps African businesses to utilise their data resources to realise maximum value from their supply chains.

His technology company, Xetova, has been recognised by MIT Solve and entered partnerships with local banks, Kenya Revenue Authority and Safaricom, among other brands, to drive growth for startups.

The recent winner of the Business Daily’s Top 40 Under 40 men in Kenya tells us why data is the future of business.

What does Xetova do?
We provide data science as a service to corporates across sectors. Xetova offers B2B (business to business) data analytics and visualisation, business intelligence and actionable insights. We also work with banks to help SME’s use their performance data to access more flexible financing. We do this to power African companies’ value chains to improve their efficiency, awareness and growth with the continental context in mind.

Why is this important to businesses?
There is a sensitive relationship between value chains and economic development. Value chains affect the cost of goods and services, job creation, money value and access to trade opportunities. Transforming value chains to create impact, therefore, means catalysing economic development.

What has your journey as an entrepreneur taught you about startups in Kenya?
That Kenya is blessed with a very diverse and adaptive market. The sheer number of business ideas, solutions and startups is evidence of our country’s entrepreneurial spirit. In Kenya, business conversations are almost like social conversations. It isn’t surprising then that nearly everyone, employed or not, has a side gig. I’ve learnt that being compliant will save you a lot of trouble in business.

How do we compare continentally on this front?
Besides, Nigeria and Egypt, Kenya leads in the number of startups that have secured funding in their early stages. Kenya is a good incubation market for startups that plan to scale globally. A vibrant regulatory environment, consumers and investors all help to boost our standards.

What does your recent recognition by the Business Daily mean to your career?
It was humbling to be featured in the 2021 edition of the series. The nomination was a pleasant surprise. Being vetted and approved by the team of highly accomplished judges was validation of the work we have been doing at Xetova.

The Economist has described data as “the next oil”. Do you agree?
What if you had the ability to know everything you needed to know to succeed? How much would you pay for it? Data, which is everywhere, does nothing in itself. It only becomes valuable if it gives insights, can be shared and generate more value. It’s the race to intelligence. The world is warming up fast to data processing. I concur in that in the near future, companies that will not have figured out how to utilise and collaborate on data in real time may be rendered obsolete.

In what practical ways then can small businesses leverage on data to unlock their potential?
Businesses can use data to plan, measure performance and to market themselves. They can also use data resources to form alliances, to manage risk and to show value. For small businesses whose processes aren’t digitised yet, leveraging data is a bit complex. But, whether big or small, having a data utilisation strategy is the most important piece of the jigsaw for any company.

What information is your data giving you? Mapping out key objectives and performance indicators is always a good place to start.

Techies are said to lead introverted lives. You aren’t a boring person, are you?
We’re human beings. Some of us are outgoing and others reserved. I enjoy great company, but sometimes my own company.

From what three things do you draw inspiration for what you do?
I’m guided through life by my spirituality. While I’m always working on projects, my rule is to take nothing to heart, especially when things don’t fall to plan. My prayer is to have enough strength to move my current weight, enough wisdom to make my current decisions and enough resources to meet my current needs. Tomorrow is unknown. All I need to know is how to deal with my present circumstances. 

What would you tell young African entrepreneurs if you had five minutes to speak to them?
You must understand your business, the problem you are trying to solve and what it will take to get you there. If you don’t have clarity, you can’t give clarity. Be willing to take feedback and iterate.

People don’t tell you what entrepreneurship will cost you. It isn’t meant for everyone. It can be frustrating, not mentioning the sleepless nights. That said, be consistent, work smart and hard, and leave the rest to Providence. Our biggest strength as Africans is our willingness to move quickly through difficulty.

Any lessons that young professionals can draw from your mistakes?
Yes. That success is a good boost but deceitful as well. That failure is painful but a good teacher. My mantra is to accept it, to forgive myself but to keep moving. You are your best cheerleader and obstacle as well. Be kind to yourself, always.

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