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PIVOT East Finalist Chura, Shares Their Progress and Lessons Learnt

Launched in December 2013 by a group of friends all alumni of the University of Nairobi,Chura makes it possible for subscribers to swap airtime for money. The startup dubbed Chura (Swahili for frog), is anchored on the idea of being able to leap from one operator to another at will without having to port. Not only can you sell your airtime for cash on, but you can also switch your Safaricom airtime for either Airtel or any other service provider and you can also buy airtime with mobile money and if you run a company, buy airtime in bulk.
The award-winning application that is available on the web portal and via SMS 24/7, provides a cross platform for mobile service users to freely hover between service providers as they wish. The company offers four services as follows;
Chura[list type=”bullet”] [li]Switch airtime service – where users can exchange airtime from one service provider to another, for example, if you have Safaricom airtime, you can exchange it for Airtel  or Orange airtime[/li] [li]Airtime for cash service – where users are able to exchange airtime for cash. All you need to do is fill a form with the phone number and network you are sending the airtime from and the number to receive the money as well as the service provider then Chura agents will instantly send the money to your mobile money account.[/li] [li]Bulk airtime service – where users send airtime conveniently to multiple phone numbers in any network in Kenya, at once.[/li] [li]Buy airtime service.- where users can buy airtime for any mobile phone number in Kenya using any mobile money transfer service.[/li] [/list] Chura has since reduced the cost of exchanging Airtime for cash to20% plus the transaction charges, more information on how to swap airtime for cash can be found here. Users will also receive a bonus of  5% when purchasing any form of Kenyan airtime Orange,yu,Safaricom or Airtel from chura, more information can be found here. For companies that want to send bulk airtime to many phone numbers in different works, Chura allows them to use the bulk airtime service for free. Chura has made their service very efficient for the users by allowing all transactions to run in under 5minute.
Since the company launched in December, they have been able to acquire over 3,500 users with over 50% being repeat customers and 1000 transactions done daily/monthly. They are looking to replicate their service in other Multi-Sim markets in the region
Chura applied for PIVOT East 2014 early this year and was one of the finalist at the competition in the finance category. The 25 finalists got a chance to pitch their products/services in front of a rich pool of investors during the finalists conference which was held at Panari Hotel.

Samuel Njuguna and Stephanie Gaku from Chura pitching during PIVOT East 2014 which was held at Panari Hotel

Samuel Njuguna and Stephanie Gaku from Chura pitching during PIVOT East 2014 which was held at Panari Hotel

Finalists of the competition receive training, coaching and mentorship before the finalists pitching conference. These pre-conference  activities  assist  the  finalists  to  improve  key  elements  of  their  business  models  and to position their startups  to the  rich audience at the  conference. “PIVOT East pre-conference activities helped us to position ourselves better for the Demo Africa Win” says Samuel Njuguna one of the co-founders of Chura. According to Samuel,they were able to refine their pitch and presentation skills, they got a new perspective on how to get their product to the market and also benefited from the publicity they got and the networks they got throughout the whole period of the competition.
In addition to being finalists at PIVOT East 2014, the company scooped the Demo Africa award at a gala event held in Lagos, Nigeria last month. They received sponsorship by the US State Department through the [email protected] partnership, for a 10-day US trip to silicon valley in November to pitch to investors and attend mentorship programmes.

Chura has also been shortlisted for the Royal Academy of engineering awards based in the UK for a prize inAfrica Prize for Engineering Innovation, they will also be going  to South Africa for training. Chura has since attracted a lot of media attention from both bloggers and also the main stream media. In the beginning of the month, the were featured in Sunday Nation lifestyle magazine, the full article can be found here
For more information on Chura, check out for their website . You can also view their facebook page: and follow them on twitter: @chura_co_ke

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