Tell us a few words about the founders and how the idea came :

In 2010, Echo Mobile’s co-founders were working with Juhudi Kilimo, a Nairobi-based microfinance institution serving dairy farmers in rural western Kenya. Organizations like Juhudi have to surmount immense operational barriers to effectively communicate with an extremely remote market, and truly understand the realities and needs of the individuals they serve and work with. This is not just the case for Juhudi but for many other companies working in Kenya and other countries in sub-saharan Africa.  In these places basic mobile devices are already in the hands of farmers, teachers, and other low-income demographics. While no challenges can be instantly solved with information and communication technologies, the founders saw that by providing access to simple, user-friendly tools, and training staff on how best to integrate these systems, measurable outcomes could be achieved and organizations could better understand, communicate with and reach their customer base.

Your products and services :

Echo Mobile operates and develops a scalable cloud-based a mobile­-first customer engagement and marketing platform. Echo Mobile’s mission is to give organizations the tools to make better, quicker, data-driven decisions, in order to achieve greater impact. It enables cost-effective real-time monitoring and communication with remote populations, allowing organizations to understand their field operations, extend their reach, and give voice to the communities they serve.  We facilitate two-way communication using a variety of mobile channels (SMS, USSD, Interactive Voice Response, Web, Android application and sensors) and then visualize this information and rolled up analytics on a web based platform.

Your success factors

In countries like Kenya, businesses, governments and NGOs share a common problem: they lack data, visibility and insight to understand the markets they serve.  This is for a variety of reasons, such as low population density and lack of internet connectivity.  These organizations all need better data to drive strategic decisions to improve their services and products.  Echo Mobile provides a solution for them utilizing basic mobile phones that are still dominant across the continent. Through the use of automated SMS, voice calls and USSD conversations, the Echo platform allows organizations to directly engage their customers resulting in improved services.

Your factors differentiating and disruptive compared to the existing

Since Echo’s foundation a number of firms have arrived with related offerings, but Echo is unique among its competitors for a number of reasons. Echo was designed from day one to be intuitive and usable by any size of organization, and has invested deeply in the software as a service (SaaS), pay as you go, model. As a result, we believe we operate the most powerful, scalable, and immediately valuable tool on the market, in addition to offering best in class customer support.

Your business model (how do you make money?)

We have two arms of the company that drive revenue.  Through our SaaS model we make money off of subscriptions and usage (per SMS sent, USSD hop, IVR minute) and through our deployment side of the business in which we aid our clients in their use and integration of Echo Mobile into their core operations we drive revenue through a consulting/hourly rate.

A few words about your competitors

While there are other  competitors in the market such as Voto Mobile and mSurvey, none of these companies offer the full suite of products that Echo Mobile does, which is a software as a service platform (SaaS) with a multichannel approach to customer engagement through SMS, IVR, USSD and Android applications. 

To learn more about you (website, twitter, video presentation …)

www.echomobile.org

twitter.com/echo_mobi

About the author

Zoe Cohen

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