The brands that will shape and define 2021 are those brands whose innovative products and services are helping to solve actual problems on the African continent. A good example would be OkHi Limited, a Kenya-based smart-addressing startup that makes it possible for businesses in emerging markets to easily access accurate customer addresses, navigation and verification services.
An Overview and History of the Company
OkHi Limited was established in 2014, co-founded by Timbo Drayson who previously worked at Google and YouTube in managerial positions until August 2013. The British national and Oxford-educated Engineer currently serves as OkHi’s Chief Executive Officer. When asked in a recent interview what informed his decision to start the company, Drayson said: “Our mission is to give physical addresses to the 4 billion people in the world who don’t have one.”
Apparently, OkHi realized that economies suffer when there is no proper addressing system. For example, if banks and fintechs cannot easily verify potential customers’ physical addresses, they are reluctant to provide such customers with loans. And any economy where financial institutions don’t avail businesses and individuals access to loans tend to struggle. Now, this is a major problem. And the only way to solve it is by using technology to provide smart-addressing systems for all, which is exactly what OkHi is doing. The company’s long-term vision is to actualise a world where anyone can use its addressing system to easily access the services they need.
How is OKHI Actualising its Mission?
Over the past six years, the startup has attracted the attention of investors and partners with whom it now works together to accomplish its mission. The company raised a total sum of $2.5 million through four funding rounds, according to information obtained from Crunchbase. Investors who have put money in the company include: Facebook Accelerator, Betatron Venture Group, Angel Investment Network, DIFC Venture Hive, Aaron Fu, Patrick Pitchette, and Garage Technology Venture. The company is also backed by partners such as Founders Factory Africa, Google, and Interswitch.
The latest funding round by OkHi Limited took place in September 2020, led by Angel Investment Network. The funding was to the tune of $1.78 million, intended to help facilitate the company’s expansion across African markets, the Middle East, and Asian markets. The company has since opened an office in Nigeria, as part of its expansion mission. Focus is now on the startup to see how it intends to utilize the rest of the money and how much more funding will be raised this year.
“A physical address should be a human right. Whether it’s opening up a bank account or getting an ambulance to your door, every person on this planet deserves access to these services. This raise is a vital stepping stone to unlock our growth into Nigeria as well as explore new markets across Africa, Middle East and Asia,” Drayson said in September last year while commenting on the fundraising.
A closer Look at OkHi’s Business Model and Products
Checks by Business Elites Africa confirmed that OkHi Limited makes use of 9 technology products and services on its site and app. Some of these products and services include the likes of HTML5, Google Analytics, and Google Fonts. The company also actively makes use of Meta, iPhone/Mobile Compatible, SSL, etc., to serve the 1,564 active users who make use of the smart-addressing platform on a monthly basis. Do note that OkHi was ranked 1,001,459 among global websites by Alexa, as at the time of filing this story…
EDITOR’S NOTE: Read the rest of the interview on page 88 of our latest magazine edition: 25 Entrepreneurs and Brands to Watch in 2021.