If this is your first time reading this column you may get caught up on my “What Is Your Business Model?” series by reading this compilation. We have built on that foundation by considering a number of business model case studies. So far we have discussed;
Today, we will dive straight into studying Nandimobile’s business model[i]. Similar to last week, we will not spend time with background and explanations on the approach that we have adopted for this case study. The articles on Skype, Apple and Facebook provide examples of what a more extensive discussion might entail. Our case studies can only be as detailed as available information will allow us to make them. Our case studies on young, African technology startups will probably not rival those on Skype, Apple, Facebook and Zynga in scope and depth. That does not mean that there is any less to learn from studying African technology startups. On the contrary, African entrepreneurs confront and solve problems that their counterparts in the developed world never have to worry about; in the process they may teach the rest of us a lesson or two.
What problem does Nandimobile solve?
Nandimobile provides Mobile Value Added Service (MVAS) technologies that make it possible for commercial business to provide customer service, and deliver information to prospective customers via SMS and WAP on mobile phones.
Compared to the availability and cost of landline telephone service, the comparatively high level of mobile phone penetration throughout Africa suggests that Nandimobile offers businesses across the continent a cost-effective and ubiquitous means of serving, supporting, retaining, engaging with and maximizing the value of every customer.
Nandiclient is a suite of products that comprises Gripeline and Infoline. Gripeline is an SMS customer support tool that includes reports, analysis, efficiency metrics and a knowledgebase. Infoline is an SMS marketing platform that also enables trend analysis, reporting and administrative control.
How does Nandimobile make money?
Nandimobile sells yearly subscriptions to businesses and other enterprises. A subscription gives Nandimobile’s customers access to its services and the add-on features that the company has built into its software products.
The Business Model Canvas – The Building Blocks of Nandimobile’s Business Model
- Enterprise customers – any business that serves mass market customers can utilize Nandimobile’s services to communicate with its customers on a planned or ad-hoc basis
- Nandimobile creates technologies that make it possible for businesses and other enterprises to provide customer service, and deliver information to prospective customers on mobile phones
- Slightly customized to meet each enterprise customers requirements
- Network effects – the more individuals Nandimobile’s customers can communicate with through its technology the more valuable the annual subscription for the company’s services becomes
- Switching costs – this is probably not insignificant, for example some customers might pay for additional features or critical support and switching costs might be considerable in such instances
- Subscriptions – Nandimobile’s enterprise customers subscribe to its services yearly
- Building the suite of software products
- Developing add-on services like trend analysis and reporting
- Business development and marketing
- Telecom service providers
- SMS providers and other operators of mobile phone networks
- Employees and staff
Nandimobile began operations in August 2010. It won the “Best Business Award” at the Launch Conference in San Francisco, CA. It was also adjudged the 1st runner-up in a mobile app contest organized by AppCircus in Accra in September 2011. The company has 72 customers, of which 25 are paying customers. Its client base includes the Ghana branch of a global professional association, a major university in Ghana, a UK based magazine that covers the telecom sector in Africa, a Ghanaian cosmetics and beauty products company as well as one of Ghana’s most prominent multimedia companies.
Let’s talk again in two weeks. On deck? The business model operated by RetailTower, another software startup based in Accra, Ghana.
[i] Edward Amartey-Tagoe provided me with information that has served as background for this article. Edward is responsible for business development initiatives at Nandimobile.
[ii] Full disclosure: I hold a volunteer position with MEST; it began in December 2011 and lasts about 6 months. Nandimobile obtained seed funding from The Meltwater Foundation and began its existence in the startup incubator and accelerator at MEST.