Senegalese startup NIMA Codes — a digital mapping service for areas with out formal addresses — has upgraded its app and plans to go stay in 15 African international locations in 2020.
The pre-seed stage startup launched in 2018 round an API that makes use of mobile-phone numbers to catalog coordinates for unregistered properties and companies in Senegal.
NIMA Codes is including a chat instrument to its platform, to assist customers find and touch upon service suppliers, and is integrating a photo-based location identifier, NIMA Snap, within the utility.
“What we provide proper now could be a dependable street-addressing product. As a result of it’s very troublesome for folks…to speak location in Africa and lots of companies are utilizing location. So we want a service that may talk dependable areas,” NIMA Codes co-founder and CEO Mouhamadou Sall advised TechCrunch.
By a number of rankings, NIMA Codes has change into a top-three downloaded navigation app in Senegal (for Android and iOS). The platform has 16,000 subscribed customers and recorded over 100,000 searches, in keeping with Sall.
He and co-founder Steven Sakayroun (a software program engineer and IBM alum) got here up with concept for assigning location coordinates to cellular numbers in earlier software program growth roles.
“Should you take a look at avenue addresses in North America, in the long run they’re only a solution to title longitude and latitude, as a result of the pc doesn’t know what sixth Avenue actually means,” Sall stated.
Since mobile-phone penetration in Senegal and broader Africa is excessive, cellular numbers function a helpful reference level to connect location info tagged for each properties and companies, Sall defined. Cellular-phones may also function an entry level for folks to enter location coordinates to NIMA Codes’ data-base.
There are additionally benefits to assigning coordinates to digits, vs. letters, in Sub-Saharan Africa with its 1000s of language groupings, Sall defined. “Nima Codes is a cross-border and language agnostic answer,” he stated.
Sall believes that can work to the startup’s benefit when it expands companies and data-base constructing to all 15 international locations of the Financial Neighborhood of West African States by the top of 2020.
NIMA Codes continues to be plotting prospects for its greatest use-cases and income era. It hasn’t secured companions but and continues to be figuring out how these downloading the app are utilizing it. “Proper now it’s principally individuals who obtain the app…and register areas. Some supply corporations could also be utilizing it and never telling us,” stated Sall.
The startup plans to generate income by means of partnerships and API utilization charges.
Sall believes NIMA Codes’ new image-based location and chat-based enterprise search features might come collectively — akin to Google Maps and discover close by locations — to create business income alternatives throughout retailers in West Africa’s massive, casual economies.
One other apparent plug-in for NIMA Codes’ service is Africa’s fast-growing ride-hail and supply markets. Sall factors 2019 information that Uber paid $58 million over three-years for map and search companies.The U.S. ride-hail firm has additionally examined an image-based instructions app referred to as OKHi in Kenya. And there are reviews of Uber’s imminent enlargement into Senegal.
Regardless of the utility, Sall believes NIMA Codes is cornering a central level of demand in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The use-case is so massive, it’s essential to begin with one thing and ultimately develop,” he stated.
“However all the things wraps round having a dependable location service for folks and small enterprise.”