By Mac-Jordan Degadjor on December 4, 2011
From left to right: Kamil Nabong, David Osei and Effah Philips Mensah
Dropifi won the recent Startup Weekend Accra competition. Let’s get personal and interactive with the Dropifi team leader David Osei.
Tell us about your project – Dropifi?
“Dropifi is a messaging platform that seeks to bridge the relationship gap between visitors to a website and the business owners. Many websites, if not all, have a means of reaching-out to them, most have “contact us” forms and some provide address and location. The contact forms, when filled our correctly, are usually routed to the mail clients of the business owners. Traditional email clients are not designed to extract intelligence from the messages received.
Mail plug-ins such as Rapportive give more information about the contact, other tools like Olark and GetSatisfaction engage the visitors to provide them answers they might be looking for. However, most of these tools have too many features for small businesses. The complex user interface design hides essential features from enterprise users. Dropifi seeks to provide the essential features for (both) small and large-scale companies to build relationships with their site visitors.”
Which societal problem are you solving with Dropifi?
“I see Dropifi solving a problem in two contexts; qualitative and quantitative. For qualitative, we want to inspire young African entrepreneurs by being a successful global technology company from Africa. Quantitatively, most businesses loose a sizable number of business contacts, feedback and hence potential growth as a result of lack of efficient communication and analyses tools. Dropifi wants to help businesses achieve more by providing them with the tools they need to build relationships and analyze contact information.”
How did you come up with the idea for mobile startup Dropifi?
“The original concept for Dropifi came as a result of an encounter I had with a business executive. I requested his business card after a meeting and the piles of cards he had to wade through was enormous. He was looking for his card amongst others. I figured out then that collection, organization and storing of business cards must truly be a huge task.
In 2006 I conceptualized a mobile app that will help people to share, store and organize business cards better. I pitched the idea to an investor / technology entrepreneur the same year, but the project wasn’t able to be executed for a number of reasons 1) I wasn’t a developer and 2) I had to focus on my first year courses at University. Fast forward to 2011, the original ideas evolved into a business-to-consumer platform that enables businesses to easily take and respond to feedbacks and questions online.”
Tell us about your experience with the Startup Weekend Accra competition?
“Startup Weekend Accra was an awesome experience and I would recommend every entrepreneur to participate in such an event. Building a product from customer discovery to idea validation within 3 days or less proved more effective than the traditional months I used to prototype an idea. I’m not disagreeing with Steve Blank in his book “The Four Steps to the Epiphany” that pegs 5 – 7 months for customer discovery. Startup weekend gives you the platform to quickly test your idea with developers, designers, business executives, academicians and many more under the same roof. Dropifi has evolved from the original concept to a more viable product after startup weekend as a result of the follow up interviews.”
Tell us more about the team’s background?
I’m a graduate from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) with a degree in Mathematics (Bsc.) At KNUST I started an applied math group for undergraduate math students. My final year project, “Analysis of Dermatological images using matlab” was one of the best academic project in the Math department.
I have developed concepts such as board games, miniature golf among others, for companies. I work in 8 programming languages and I like data crunching stuff. I am passionate about technology growth in Africa and also serve in an advisory team for #MobileFriday (a mobile developer group on KNUST campus). Currently I am in training at Meltwater Entrepreneur School of Technology.
Effah Philips Mensah is Dropifi’s Tech lead. He graduated from the University of Cape Coast with a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in Computer Science. He is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and Globe Research Program. His passion for software development using the agile approach led him into the development of games, point of sales applications, electronic voting systems and church information management systems (CIMS).
CIMS is currently been used by the Presbyterian church of Ghana – Cape Coast. He is currently undertaking a program in Software entrepreneurship at Meltwater Entrepreneur School of Technology where he hopes to expand his knowledge in software development and management. Effah’s goal is to find better ways of using software in improving the daily activities of small and large scale businesses in Africa.
Kamil Nabong is the Financial man and also a graduate from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) with a BSc in Land Economy. While studying Land Economy, he showed much interest in IT and Entrepreneurship. The passion and excitement about IT led him to conduct research on how IT can be effectively employed within Ghana’s land sector agencies. He has extensive knowledge in accounting and cash flow projections which he obtained from internships while studying at KNUST. He’s currently an entrepreneur-in-training at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology where he studies Entrepreneurship in Software Development.”
How do you look at innovation in Ghana? Can you give us a feel for the startup scene here?
“There is so much going on in Ghana now. There are three major incubator programs in Ghana that give seed fund ranging from $25k – $300k. Some teams from these incubators have won global awards and recognition from prestigious establishments such as LAUNCH in Silicon Valley, among others. Individual developers are also coding their way to riches by building innovative products. Another example is a new mobile payment system; iWallet by a group of entrepreneurs from DreamOval who also happen to be alumni of Ashesi University.”
Why should people invest in Ghanaian Techpreneurs?
“Now will be the best time for investors to jump on board. Ghana and hence Africa is developing very fast and technological innovations which will be the bedrock for these development. Investors will not only be investing in a technology startup but also into the future economy of Africa. The next big technology corporations for the “new Africa” are starting now. The Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook are being built now. This is the right time for investors to be part of a success story.”
How can VC4Africa members and other angel investors contact you and your team?
“My team and I are very opened to discussions and ideas. Anybody can reach us through: david.osei [at] meltwater.org”