Safaricom, the mobile provider in Kenya, is partnering with mSurvey, the data collection company, to provide customers with a Consumer Wallet that maps out the cash-based economy in Africa.
According to a report in TechCrunch, the online platform that relies on mobile and SMS is currently in a beta test and will go live in Kenya later in March. The companies are testing their app with would-be clients and business partners such as McKinsey Consulting, mSurvey CEO Kenfield Griffith told TechCrunch in an interview. The Consumer Wallet is going to be a subscription service as well as available via a license by August of this year.
“We are refining the product with a group of potential clients to design the pricing model,” said Griffith in the report. “We are scaling it along Kenya but also looking beyond because we are not just solving a Kenyan problem, we are solving an African problem.”
With more than 50 percent of economic activity in Africa happening in informal settings, it’s hard for businesses to get a sense of consumer spending habits and trends.
mSurvey, which has been around for about five years, runs mobile phone–based surveys to gather data on a slew of different topics. Cross Culture Ventures and Alpha Angels have provided funding to the startup, noted TechCrunch. Safaricom’s Spark Venture Fund is also an investor in the company. With the Consumer Wallet, the companies will marry mSurvey’s data research with Safaricom’s distribution network and internal resources. At last count Safaricom was the largest telecom in Kenya.
Safaricom already has its M-Pesa mobile money service and is adding other consumer and small business–focused products to the mobile network the company operates, including digital TV and solar-powered lighting kits. It even has a taxi hailing app that competes with Uber.