The story of SlimTrader’s Mobiashara mobile commerce platform begins with a journey.
During one of his frequent trips to Africa, SlimTrader’s CEO, Femi Akinde, a native of Nigeria, had a frustrating but ultimately inspiring experience. He wanted to fly from Nigeria to Ghana, but purchasing an airline ticket in Africa is never a simple transaction. He had to travel to multiple sites, including his bank—a necessity, since postal and broadband internet service on the continent is spotty at best.
Furthermore, while at these locations, Akinde was forced to wait in long lines. In other words, the journey was just the beginning. There was more work to be done…just to buy a plane ticket. While Akinde eventually completed his transaction, this time- and resource-consuming experience prompted him to think about how to eliminate the need for people to put so much into so simple a task.
After all, Akinde not only knew his ordeal wasn’t unique; he also recognized that if the problem existed for purchasing high-cost items, it must be infinitely worse to purchase everyday goods and services.
Indeed, in all 53 countries that comprise Africa, everyday activities—from purchasing airline tickets to filling a prescription—require long searches, long waits, and long journeys. By stifling access to otherwise available goods and service, these delays cost people and society in countless ways.
Given his background in both business and technology, Akinde knew he not only could, but, more importantly, should do something. He arrived back home in Seattle, Washington, and immediately assembled a team of like-minded and similarly experienced professionals, all of whom shared one goal: connecting people to basic goods and services.