iHub Start-Up Profiles - Niko Hapa

By Jessica Colaço
iHub
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iHub Start-Up Profiles - Niko Hapa

At the centre of the 5 principles of the iHub is technology and collaboration. iHub provides an open space for creatives, developers, researchers, investors, venture capitalists, corporates, academia and government to meet, share ideas, and collaborate. As a result of this collaboration, many upcoming innovative entrepreneurs are springing up and thriving in revolutionizing the Kenyan tech and business scene. Some of these start-ups are well known while others ought to be brought to the limelight. iHub research will serialize the stories behind these start-ups over the coming weeks.

NikoHapa (swahili word meaning ‘I am here’) is an innovative application that supplies unique QR ( abbreviated from quick response code), and 8-letter codes to businesses. The businesses issue these codes to their customers, who send them to the short code 6775 to create a "check-in".

The rationale behind NikoHapa is to helps businesses to keep track of these QR codes and check-ins so that they can reward their customers based on their frequent check-ins in the physical business place. This is achieved through a web platform that gives business partners an online presence to create valuable local content that evaluates businesses’ top of mind, in finding ways to build vibrant personal customer relationships, in this digital age.

Loyal customers are the foundation of almost every business today. Going the extra mile to provide outstanding customer service is the first step to customer loyalty which is not seen in many emerging businesses today. Niko Hapa noticed this gap and provided a unique and innovative solution by allowing businesses to gain customer-loyalty and active customer engagement quickly and cost-effectively .

Bernard, Jeremy and Caine, the co-founders of Niko Hapa officially met in March, 2011 at the iHub, Nairobi’s innovation Hub. Jeremy and Bernard started by working together on an SMS survey platform (mswali.org) which did not elevate very well in the market as they anticipated. Nevertheless,they did not give up after this, Jeremy came up with another idea called FC and involved Bernard to work together to revolutionize and develop this idea to action.

As Pivot25 competition was just around the corner in March, 2011, Bernard and Jeremy met Caine, who has expertise in hardware maintenance, and Niko Hapa was born, a new 4-square-like customer feedback application. They submitted both applications (FC and Niko Hapa) for the competition but only Niko Hapa made it to the finals of Pivot25. They all committed their efforts and focused towards conceptualizing Niko Hapa which works on both the SMS and USSD platforms.

Customers and businesses can fully interact with Nikohapa using SMS (@ KES 1.00/SMS). Niko Hapa is available on both Android market and the ovi store. The web interface provides a means for viewing analytics for businesses that will be of importance in crafting brand in their target market by building customer personal relationships and the nature of the benefits they provide help drive their desired business outcomes .

Despite Niko Hapa team facing the challenge of penetrating into new business waves they have managed to identify their market potential that is virtually every business that wants to gain customer-loyalty and ensure service excellence. In addition, since the number of check-ins are displayed on the web, it creates a system for rating businesses that is useful for customers looking for great locations, and new business opportunities.

Impact of the iHub

It is at the iHub where Niko Hapa team met and realized their common interest in mobile development and decided to maximize their skills capacity in developing innovative solutions for the social community. Most important, iHub, has been a physical nexus point for Niko Hapa Ltd to collaborate with business partners like Petes Coffee, and venture capitalists interested in Niko Hapa. Some of these collaborations established have led to healthy affiliations with Mlab (UoN) and Akirshika who have recommended interns to Niko Hapa to assist in the daily management of operations and sales needed. In addition iHub has provided mentorship by assisting Niko Hapa team gear towards achieving its objectives.

Niko Hapa appears to be an extremely engaging application since it provides a more personalized relationship between customers and businesses through an online presence. The team is aiming to gain a larger market share before end of the year says Bernard, CEO of Niko Hapa.

Niko Hapa’s notable achievements include being among the Finalists at Pivot25, developing a finalist app for Android Developer Challenge - SSA (2011) and they recently emerged the second runner’s up in AppCircus competition.

Learn more about Niko Hapa Ltd here

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