1. What does this nomination at the Zim Achievers Awards mean to you and your band / business?
It’s great to get nominated, I am very proud to be Zimbabwean, and to have worked with Mukuru for almost 5 years to build something that can work for Zimbos abroad has been very rewarding. It’s also awesome to get a nomination for Mann Friday – it has been a dear passion and remains so, I hope we keep making music long into the future.
2. Are you familiar with some of the other nominees in your category and the other categories?
Yes, I’ve played with Tinashe before, and really like his stuff – he gets my vote 🙂
3. What inspired you to start Mukuru / Mann Friday?
Mann Friday was born at Rhodes University in 1998 – so, that makes it over a decade old – crikey – once I started writing songs and playing them to people I knew it was something that came naturally, and would always be part of my artistic expression. I think I’ll still be playing with Mann Friday when I’m 75 – I hope so.
Mukuru.com was started to assist people during the fuel crisis in Zim, but soon evolved into its current remittance niche. I suppose we were very keen to use technology to connect the Diaspora to their loved ones back home.
4. How would you describe the objectives of Mukuru / The Band?
Mukuru.com – we want to become a global household name for Sending Money Online –
Mann Friday – we want to keep making music we enjoy playing, hopefully people keep enjoying listening, but that’s a lucky by-product!
5. How did you come up with your business idea?
Well, it takes 5 seconds for an SMS to leave a website, and land on someone’s cellphone in Africa – it seemed obvious that sending tokens/vouchers/value by SMS was the way forward for remittance – we’ve built our entire system on that very first assumption. People can send money from London with the click of a button, and it lands on someone’s phone in Zim 5 seconds later – awesome!
6. What are the biggest challenges you faced starting up and how did you overcome them?
Lack of sleep and regular eating. While we built Mukuru I would stay up for hours working on the code, and eating nothing but cups of coffee. I overcame this with pizza-delivery and Vitamin C.
7. How big is the business now and how many supporters do you have?
Ahh, that would be giving too much away 🙂 But we are growing steadily.
8. What are the biggest challenges you face now?
Managing growth properly – we hope to be remitting money into over 50 countries by the end of 2011. Which means a lot of hard work, and a lot of correct decisions. Making those in the right proportions and at the right time is our biggest challenge.
9. What advice would you give other Zimbabwean entrepreneurs starting out today?
Enjoy what you do – and do what you enjoy, the rest should flow naturally 🙂
A decade after their first single, and five albums later, Mann Friday have played their own brand of heart-felt folk rock to sold-out London venues ranging from the cultish Camden Barfly, to hiring out and filling The Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Famed for their visceral live performances and emotive lyrics, MF music has reached thousands of loyal Fans over the years including their newsworthy attack on the UK Top 40 with their single Sunburn & Wonder. Their recent gigs at Victoria Falls with the Parlotones saw them play in their homeland Zimbabwe for the first time since emerging on the UK rock scene.
Mukuru.com, founded nearly 5 years ago has enabled relatives abroad to send food/fuel and funds back to Zimbabwe at the click of a button. From the comfort of your living room in London you can send an instant SMS to your loved one in Zimbabwe, redeemable at a host of banks nationwide for cash. The service has transformed the lives of the Diaspora and continues to push the boundaries of e-commerce and technology to bring an evergreen feel to this remittance portal.
The Zim Achievers Awards are on the 9th of April at The Mermaid Conference & Events Centre in the City of London. For more information and tickets please visit the website.
Compiled by Quartz Marketing