May, 2015


Get trained to be a Mobile Apps Developer


May 26, 2015

A couple of months ago, m:lab East Africa embarked on conducting a series of technical mobile apps development trainings with a focus on two of the major mobile technology platforms. Designed with a wholesome approach to mobile development, trainings cover Android and SMS&USSD mobile platforms and highlight on best practices in User Experience and Design, Databases, Versioning and Source Control, and Entrepreneurship among other key areas in software development. More on the previous round here.
Today, we are opening a new round of applications for the courses on Android and SMS&USSD.
The two formats for the trainings are as follows;
Android training
Duration: 4 Weeks
Mode of study: Half Day (9am – 1pm weekdays)
Dates: 29th June – 25th July, 2015
Venue: m:lab East Africa
Cost: Ksh 15,000
Registration deadline: 21st June 2015 (now closed)
SMS&USSD Training
Duration: 2 Weeks
Mode of study: Evening classes (5pm – 8pm weekdays, One Saturday included)
Dates: 13th  July – 25th July, 2015
Venue: m:lab East Africa
Cost: Ksh 15,000
Registration deadline: 21st June 2015 (now closed)
Target audience
Individuals with prior knowledge in programming, preferably in Java, PHP.
At the end of the training every participant should develop (and publish where applicable) a mobile app on the platform of interest.

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NFC: Can this technology be used to build a viable business in Kenya?

Tech Trend, Workshops

May 22, 2015

“Economies around the world are either factor driven, efficiency driven or innovation driven ”as derived from
Since the offset of NFC technology several companies & startups have centered their businesses around this technology in Kenya. Card PlanetGigwapi, Buymore BebaPay (exited a few months ago), my1963, including others.

Near field communication (NFC) is a set of ideas and technology that enables smartphones and other devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching the devices together or bringing them into proximity to a distance of typically 10 cm or less.

The companies & startups that have based their business model on the technology have had several challenges due to limitations of the technology as well as the Kenyan mentality regarding how the technology is being rolled out.
mlab_logo_simpleCan this technology be used to build a viable business in Kenya? Come, lets discuss this topic on the May edition of TechTrend.
Venue: mlab East Africa
Time: 5.15 – 6.30 pm
Date: 28th May 2015
Click here to register

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Meet MobiDev, a mobile consulting company that helps you innovate for emerging markets

Finalist, Incubation, PIVOT East

May 14, 2015

Almost 3 years ago, 6 young minds from very diverse background including Engineering, the Military, Actuarial science and computer science were brought together by one shared vision: To define the standards in mobile application development for emerging markets. In each of these minds was a burning desire to build amazing mobile experiences that not only would be impactful but also great to use. This meeting was the birth of a mobile consulting company: MobiDev that has grown to deploy mobile applications in Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and most recently Nigeria.
Led by Leonard Korir, one of the co-founders, the team has successfully gone through the tough first two years where most early stage company die off and things seem to be looking up in their 3rd year of operation.
MobiDev Kenya LTD focuses on developing enterprise grade SMS/USSD applications, Android, iOS and Windows apps. The technical strength is founded on hands on experience gained from designing, development, testing and deployment of mobile apps across the continent and also the fact that each team member went through infoDev sponsored 4-6 months mobile app development and entrepreneurship program offered at m:lab East Africa – one of the 5 labs in the world that is focused in technology in the mobile space.
The training program which covered the technical skills coupled with entrepreneurship, a bit of user experience and design skills saw over 100 developers trained and startups like MobiDev Kenya LTD mTracker, mVerified among others created.
Last month, MobiDev partnered with Scytl – a worldwide leader in provision of secure electronic voting, election management and election modernization solutions – to deploy a real time election results transmission and tallying system engaged in Nigeria. The application, that ran on a combination of technologies including USSD, SMS and Maps was used by one of the leading political party to receive real time vote tallying results from the agents on the ground thus enabling party officials get the elections results as soon as they were counted from over 119,000 polling stations.
According to the team lead, Leonard and the project management lead, Moses Kioko, a project of such a scale comes with lots of challenges. The first being a 4 week hard timeline to develop, deploy and train all the agents on how to use the application. The team travelled to Nigeria on 22nd of March, a few days before the elections to conduct trainings and generally prepare for the elections. Just to get a sense of the scale: Nigeria has a total of 36 states and the FCT (Federal Capital Territory of Abuja) with 119,000 polling stations, about 4 times the number of polling stations in Kenya as per the last election. The population is also estimated at over 173 million people, more than 4 times Kenya’s estimated population and has a total area of over 923,768 km2(356,669 sq mi), making it the world’s 32nd-largest country.
Challenges were many in the project and it takes an experienced team to continuously respond to each challenge faced promptly and in the wisest way possible. This was well shown in the ability to have work around on logistical challenges, simplifying the training material for users and even making changes to the application based on factual real-time data and feedback came from agents and users.
According to Leonard Korir, the Chief Executive Officer MobiDev,The project opened up opportunities for the startup in Nigeria and they might be doing more projects in Nigeria and West Africa in the near future.
Apart from elections, MobiDev has deployed a number of projects in other industries including Mobile payments/banking, Agriculture, education, Insurance and Governance. One of the notable apps is a County Yetu, a governance app that enables citizens stay up to date with what is happening at their counties including news, development projects, tenders, job vacancies and general information on their county. The app also enables citizens to engage county leaders through provision of both textual and pictorial feedback .
In education, MobiDev helped see Akengo (now Arifu), develop from an ambitious idea to a live SMS and Web-based adaptive learning system that serves users in Kenya and soon Tanzania.
MobiDev has also seen through a product in mHealth- Totohealth, led by Felix Kimaru from an idea to a platform that is helping save lives of children under 5 years using simple SMS technology. Totohealth provides twice-weekly customized alerts on expected development changes from conception 5 years of age and currently serves over 6000 mothers. Totohealth also won 2015’s vision 2030 innovation award from Kenya’s ICT Authority.
It has taken time to build a great team culture and as per Leonard, there is still a lot of work to be done and he is positive that mobile will continue to impact so many people’s lives in ways that we cannot even imagine at the moment.
For more information on MobiDev visit there website or get in touch via [email protected] You can also follow them on twitter @devsmobi and like them on facebook

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Mobile Testing room statistics Q1 | 2015

Mobile Testing

May 13, 2015

m:lab East Africa Testing room has been offering testing services to developers, consistently opening its doors to mobile and web application developers who visit to test their applications. The facility is well stocked with a wide range of devices bearing different hardware configurations and operating systems.
The facility aims to efficiently serve the techies who access the space to develop quality tested applications with fair rates. The space is not only limited to developers but even corporates and companies who wish to test their applications before releasing to the market.
The available platforms are; Bada, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows phone. Testing data is recorded to monitor the facility’s usage and to give statistical feedback to the community. These statistics can be used to evaluate popular target markets based on platform that most developers test on, availability of developers based on the number of developers who develop for a certain platform among other statistical inferences that can be extrapolated from the data.
For the first quarter of 2015 the key points that stand out are:


  • Number of devices available for testing: 141
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  • Cumulative number of in-facility testing testing hours – 2207 ( 37hrs in Q1 – 2015 )
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  • Cumulative Number of overnight lending days for devices – 1544 ( 155 total overnight days in Q1 – 2015 )


| Create infographics

Compiled by: Marvin Collins and Martin Agaya

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Deadline to Apply for PIVOT East 2015 Extended


May 1, 2015

m:lab East Africa has been receiving applications for its annual startup pitching competition and conference dubbed PIVOT East in the last one month – since April 1st. The deadline for submitting applications was set for yesterday April 30th. In response to a number of requests from potential applicants, the deadline for application submission has been extended by 2 weeks to Sunday 17th May at 11:59 pm EAT.
Applicants are advised to take advantage of the two weeks to better prepare their startups profiles and other critical information. Startups may join the competition through the PIVOT East Startups Community Network Information on how to join the competition including eligibility criteria may be found here
Important Notes for Applicants


  • Competition portal –
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  • Minimum number of team members is two (2)
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  • Tag startup entries in a maximum of two (2) competition categories
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  • Team composition and commitment is really important in this year’s competition. Ensure that all team members update their personal profiles on their key skills and also include a LinkedIn profile
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  • Self Evaluate your startup in the portal using the scorecards
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  • Selection criteria for PIVOT East can be found HERE
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  • Upload a pitch video maximum 5 minutes that demonstrates passion among founders/key employees to pursue the startup mission and a clear call to action on what the startup is pursuing at PIVOT East 2015 ( Basic video quality is accepted)
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  • Upload a demo video or screenshots that showcase key features of the solution

For more inquiry on how to apply for the competition, feel free to send an email at lincoln(at) or egra(at) or visit You can also follow us on twitter @PIVOTEast or like our facebook page

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