CEO of MXit Alan Knott-Craig Jnr emphasised the importance of promoting local talent and “making people believe in themselves”, last night at an event hosted by digital marketing company Heavy Chef.
To this end, says Knott-Craig, the mobile messaging service will soon launch an API program that will enable users to create applications and sell the content within MXit via its mobile wallet offerings.
Effectively, he says, the wallet and app development interface will “enable millions of young Africans to become micro-entrepreneurs overnight”.
MXit, which is Stellenbosch-based, has global reach, but Knott-Craig says it is focused on growing local talent and creating lucrative opportunities for African users.
Numbers will be instrumental in the success of such a strategy, says Knott-Craig, and while he admits there is a risk of not enough people coming on board, “[MXit] has a window of opportunity here. It’s all about building an eco-system”.
By word of mouth and following of the “social graph”, the concept could quickly catch on, he says – then the notion of money begetting money will kick in. “We want people to build communities and make money for themselves on MXit. We can only make money if other people do, and once people start making money, they are quick to tell others to get on the boat.”
All growth MXit has experienced has been via word of mouth, ways Knott-Craig. The fastest growing countries include Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Mexico, England and Syria. “People are visiting these places and talking about MXit.”
Knott-Craig is optimistic about the future of MXit and the expansion of its products and services, despite fierce competition in the market from the likes of BlackBerry Messenger and WhatsApp.
He says MXit, which his company, World of Avatar, acquired last year, “has a dividend plan, not an exit strategy”.
The South African-born social network was recently named number one in technology start-ups in Africa by Forbes Magazine. It has over 10 million active users in SA alone, but is active in 126 countries and sees 800 million messages being sent a day.
“MXit is a rocket with a chance of landing on the moon. Whether we do, or we blow up along the way, at least we’ll be among the stars,” says Knott-Craig, who believes that success hinges largely on one’s ability to tolerate uncertainty.
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