Products for the 99%

Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa
2nd Jan 2018
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innovative product development
It is wonderful to discover an innovative tech company that doesn’t think that the adjective means that they must create a shiny new app.

At my very first Meetup meeting tonight, I heard a product developer from Jumo discuss their first principles approach to developing solutions for clients.

I was attracted to the meeting because of the title of the prevention: Developing products for the 99%. The speaker presented a great argument how outside of developed countries, designing products for the wealthy caters to a small proportion of the population, provides an lower profit base than in other countries, and experiences a higher customer acquisition cost as you compete with other tech companies also trying to bribe their way to customer loyalty and attention.

On the other hand, we have a much, much larger percentage of the population who earn much less, but still need financial services products. Traditional offerings coming from brick and mortar banks with strict FICA and paperwork requirements, in populated regions, do not cater to people with little in the way of access to technology and an insufficient paper trail.

Mobile payment transfers are already a popular and useful tool for many traditionally unbanked people. Juno’s products take that platform and go the next step offering savings and loan features in the same fashion.

Try to imagine doing banking, not on a nice app on your smartphone but via sms on your grandfather’s phone. Now you will begin to imagine what Jumo creates.

Their ethos is really powerful. Uncover what the client really needs to make his or her life better. Decide if this is a problem with scale - do lots of people need it? Then they create the business model for it. And then they look at the tech. An interesting approach from a tech company who believes that that element is the least complicated part of the approach.

Not an NGO

While providing financial services for people on the rest of the scale apart from wealthy, Jumo stresses that they are a regular company and not an NGO. The speaker suggested that there would be something fundamentally wrong with society if we need NGOs to cater for 50% of the population. He loved his stats, so lets have a look at a few.

The graph comes from - a brilliant sources of statistics about population and poverty and more.

72.5% of the world’s population exists on less that $15 a day. That is apparently the level that the USA suggests in the poverty level. The World Bank says that extreme poverty is below $1.90 a day and that accounts for 47% of sub-saharan Africa.

$15 a day is equivalent to around R3,600 a month.

It is for these people, that Jumo creates its products. If a person can pay a few Rands for access to banking services that is otherwise unaccessible to him, then he can begin to transact in a way that could offer more opportunities for him or his business and lift him above that level.

Parting shot:

The speaker referred to a quote that challenged him as he moved from a regular tech company to one that makes tools for a larger, normally ignored, sector of society:

“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”

Jeffrey Hammerbacher

Seems Jumo is an innovation company where minds are better put to work. That's cool.

A previous guest of my Hashtag Radio show, Future Focussed Business, was Chantel Lindeman. Chantel works at Jumo, so a listen to her podcast could offer some great insights into what is possible in this field.

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