By Constant Munda:
CHIEF executive and founder of Virtual City John Waibochi has landed a lucrative partnership deal with Safaricom for the mobile application that won his firm a global prize of $1 million(Sh87.80 million under prevailing rates) in 2010.
The android-based app that helps Fast Moving Consumer Goods companies track transactions along their distribution chains won the Nokia's Global Growth Economy Venture Challenge in London on September 16, 2010.
It was the distributor solution app that thrust the hitherto largely unknown Waibochi and his firm into the global mega 'techpreneurial' limelight at the Nokia World in London.
"The journey to developing a technological solution for movement of goods along the supply chain started 15 years," Waibochi said yesterday when the multi-million partnership was launched in Nairobi yesterday. "It was not until six years ago that we came up with M-distributor which we showed to Nokia fours ago as a prototype and they agreed to support us."
The financial aspect of the partnership that followed laborious negotiations spanning two years remains a top secret between Safaricom and Virtual City.
Safaricom has rebranded it as M-Distributr after hammering an agreement that gives it exclusive infrastructure network rights on all transactions by FMCG that embrace the globally recognised innovation.
The giant telco will benefit from use of its infrastructure including data that powers the electronic transactions on the app and Lipa Na M-pesa for their payments.
"We have brought Safaricom on board to help us put it into the market because it's the company that is readily accepted by Kenyans," Waibochi said.
General manager for Safaricom Business Sylvia Mulinge said the negotiations took two years instead of planned one year as it had to "carefully"go through all the technical aspects of the app based on feed back from firms that were using it on trial basis.
"The revenue shares are pretty straight forward, they have already been defined," Mulinge said. "It depends on the level of effort and work put in by both teams."
Enrollment to the app costs between Sh5,000 and Sh8,000 with a monthly fee ranging from Sh2,500 to Sh4, 000 excluding the standard 16 per cent value added tax depending the needs of specific companies.
UK health care products giants PZ Cussons and Reckitt Benckiser are some of the FMCG that have adopted the app while Safaricom has rolled it to 40 of its dealers.