SPEECH BY CHRIS GATHINGU, CEO OF TANGAZOLETU DURING THE FIRM’S TENTH ANNIVERSARY DINNER
HELD AT THE GOLDEN TULIP HOTEL ON 14TH JULY 2017
Greetings Ladies and Gentlemen,
11 years ago, one of my relatives was having a frustrating week because he came home one day to find that his water supply had been disconnected. When he enquired, he was informed that he had an overdue water bill and hence the utility company had gone ahead to disconnect. His bill had been sent through the regular post office which he had not attended to in quite a while.
I could feel his frustration. I thought to myself that there must be a better way of doing things. To cut the long story short, my idea was to create an SMS Based alert system that would send an SMS to every customer with an overdue payment before disconnection.
This was in the year 2005/6 when I was still in my third year at JKUAT and true to the idea, I was soon to become the richest young man in the campus with 50 thousand Kenya Shillings tax free payment for the system that I thereafter built and sold to the utility company and that ensured that cases like that of my relative were eliminated.
This Ladies and Gentlemen is where Tangazoletu was born. I registered Tangazoletu on 11th May 2007, with a vision to create this nature of solutions that would automate business processes to bring efficiency and productivity to our everyday lives.
The journey of Tangazoletu has been very exciting, fulfilling and at the same time challenging.
Early stage – Princely House
After my graduation, I rented my first office in CBD at Princely house along Moi Avenue. It was a small office on the third floor that was just enough to comfortably fit a maximum of 5 people at a go. At princely house, you had to walk up the steps as there was no lift.
I recall one time we had tendered to a bi-lateral donor who wanted to fund a technology project in the health sector. It turned out that we had done quite well with our proposal. The donor contacted us for a pre-award assessment which involved coming to asses our physical office premises.
On the day of the visit, we were all set and eagerly waiting. The donor representative called sounding a bit confused and lost. He describes where he was standing, surrounded by a number of exhibition stalls playing loud music and selling wares. I was glad to confirm to him that he was in the right place, down stairs of my building, and all he needed to do was to locate the stairs and walk 3 flights up.
Ladies and Gentlemen, 10 years later, the donor still did not arrive. It appears they had seen enough to make their decision on the award.
In 2009, we moved to a bigger and brighter office at Vision Plaza, along Mombasa Road. This time we could fit a lot more people and we had progressively more guests happy to visit.
In 2012, we moved to our current location at Mayfair Business Centre in Westlands where we have been for the last 5 years.
Whenever I look at our current office, and reflect back on this journey, I feel humbled and appreciative of the journey of growth that we have taken to date.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we owe a lot of our success to the strategic partnerships that we have formed along the way.
Allow me to highlight a few of them as I go.
Financial Sector Partnership Solutions
We have worked well with financial sector partners:
In 2008 we built our M-Banking platform which has today evolved to become the Spot Cash Mobile Banking System.
While our first attempt at this was with the commercial banks, it is the SACCOs that were first to adopt this technology. We got a breakthrough with the SACCOs starting with Nyeri Teachers SACCO, Meru, Mwalimu SACCO, Kilifi Teachers SACCO and the rest is now history. I am glad to be joined by a lot of these SACCOs representatives here today, and specifically, thank people like Tai SACCO for the testimonials given a little earlier.
At Marsabit Teachers SACCO, where we also implemented Spot Cash, we helped to bring a smile to the members faces. Teachers had to walk tens of kilometers across the vast county and under the scorching sun just to access the SACCO premises for their routine banking services such as checking their balance or even if their salaries had been paid into their account. With Mobile Banking, they are now able to use their phones to access these services effectively avoiding the hustle and bustle. This ladies and gentlemen still remains one of the most fulfilling highlight of working with SACCOs.
We have provided similar solutions to Microfinance Institutions as well as banks which have evolved over the years ranging from Core Banking systems, Mobile Banking Systems, Agency Banking Systems, Credit facilitation systems among many others. And I also want to thank my good friend John Gachora – GMD NIC Bank for being here with us today.
This would never have been possible without the partnerships that we enjoy today with the financial institutions such as the ones represented here today.
We have also worked well with the corporate sector and with several organizations many of whom are represented here today:
In 2009 for instance, we approached Safaricom to enable us achieve withdrawal and deposit services on our banking platforms using M-PESA. Gradually, we were able to power what was a basic Mobile Banking system with advanced features of actual real-time transactions.
Out of this, we found an enabling partner in Safaricom. A partner who was eager to not only provide services to their customers but to also provide support and I dare to say grow together. Out of this initial engagement, we have worked together over the years on many initiatives to bring to the market great solutions of high impact.
I would like to particularly thank Safaricom and Bob Collymore, for believing in us throughout this journey. It is humbling to note that a key player such as Safaricom is keen on enabling partnerships both with international and local firms to deliver solutions of great impact like we have.
Public Private Partnership:
We have also worked quite well with Public Private partnerships:
In 2013 for instance, together with Safaricom and other technology partners, we teamed up to provide TIBU to the TB Unit of the Ministry of Health. This was with financial support from USAID. TIBU today is the system used by the Ministry of Health to record and manage TB cases in the country. In addition to managing TB, and through the support of USAID, TIBU disburses a stipend of 500 shillings to the Multi-Drug-Resistant TB patients via M-PESA to enable them to continue and complete their treatment.
Again, this would never have been possible without the partnerships that we have forged and kept to date.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our fulfilment comes from the impact we see on the ground from our solutions.
- Financial Institutions:
To date, in the financial sector for instance, we have worked with more that 70 financial institutions reaching up to 5 Million Kenyans with our technology solutions. Out of the solutions we have provided:
Institutions have been able to
- Improve on their efficiency of service delivery,
- Save on costs of operations,
- Achieve round the clock operation
Among many other benefits which have all resulted to providing improved convenience to their customers.
At the 2015 Think Business Banking awards, Spot Cash was recognized as the most innovative banking solution in the banking industry. We are glad to have contributed towards bringing about a new way of banking.
With Corporates such as Safaricom, we have worked together to introduce transformative solutions such a Lipa Na M-PESA, Surepay, buying data bundles via M-PESA and most recently, M-PESA 1 tap among many others.
These systems have continued to be used across the country, changing the lives of millions of Kenyans.
- Private Public Partnership
With TIBU in the public private partnership world, TB patients in all the 47 counties are now able to access health care in a dignified way. The Ministry of Health is also now able to Manage TB more effectively and systematically. Through TIBU, over 526 Million Kenya Shillings has so far been disbursed so far through the system as patient support for MDR TB reaching thousands of unique individual patients across the country.
This is a result of the great partnerships that we have been able to forge over the last decade.
Appreciating those who have worked with us to make this possible
I would like to pay tribute to the people who have worked with me to make this possible.
I wish to recognize my great and very supportive Board of Directors. Every CEO will tell you how crucial it is to have a board that is available to work with you and support you throughout the journey. This board has provided oversight, advise and support to get us to where we are today.
I also wish to recognize the Management and staff of Tangazoletu. (Request that you be upstanding). This team has been amazing and worked hard day after day to see these achievements come through. (Request that we give them a round of applause
I also wish to thank our partners and clients many of whom are represented here, my family – my beautiful wife Carol and my two daughters Janice and Aimee, parents, friends and well-wishers of Tangazoletu for all the support that you have given to us all at Tangazoletu along this journey.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are optimistic that the future ahead of us is even brighter…
Commitment to our partners and clients
We shall strengthen our commitment to our partners and clients and strive to always meet and even exceed your expectations.
Committed to a Regional Expansion:
We are also committed to a regional agenda, we have a Pan-African vision to spread our solutions to several other countries in the region.
We target to reach another 10 Million people in the informal sectors and bring them to financial inclusions with our solutions.
And finally, we commit to be a Socially responsible company that will touch the lives of the less fortunate. We shall support different social impact causes in the region and collectively work towards sustainability and development.
Invite partners to work with us:
These are all indeed ambitious goals but if we work together, we sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, shall be able to achieve and surpass. We therefor invite all of you, and indeed all our partners and clients to join us in our journey of the next 10 that begins here and now.
As I conclude, I thank God for all things that he has made good at his own time.
Thank you very Much, God Bless you all and God bless Tangazoletu Limited!