Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The m-Pesa development team

This is the one story that should have been told earlier:
"The technology behind mPesa was not built by Vodafone". Luckily the good folks at CGAP did tell the story. In short, what happened was that when Nick Hughes started to develop the concept in Vodafone, he contracted a very good engineering company called Sagentia to develop and deploy the technology for Vodafone. The way that the contract was done, even though the technology was developed by Segentia, the IP still belongs to Vodafone. It must be said that a big part of the success must be attributed to some of the excellent people working on the project (for instance Tim Murdoch).

Recently the key individuals have resigned from Sagentia and have started a new venture iCeni mobile. While little can be deduced from the website at this stage, one must expect something to get announced soon. It would be interesting to see what product and offering the ex-team from Sagentia produces.

The angle that is of interest to me is where this move puts Vodafone. The technology that drives mPesa (and that they own) should probably be supported by Sagentia. Unfortunately the key team is not employed by Sagentia anymore and have recently started an even smaller company. I wonder if Vodafone could do it again, if they would not have considered licensing the technology from a larger and dedicated company.

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