4 billion people live on less than $8 per day and lack access to information, products, and services that can help them grow their livelihood and improve their quality of life. Most of these people have access to a mobile phone but they tend not to have internet so they are unable to access Web-based services. Meanwhile, large organizations lack ways to effectively engage, teach, and learn from these audiences who are playing increasingly important roles in their value chains.
Arifu based in Kenya, attempts to minimize this challenge by bringing together providers and consumers in a cheap, efficient way. Arifu is a new kind of platform that provides customer capability-building through mobile technology.
Arifu is a digital advisor helping people learn essential skills from the organizations they trust over any mobile phone. No internet, airtime, or money needed. Arifu teaches learners about a wide range of topics such as entrepreneurship, farming, or financial literacy. It is completely free to learners and accessible over any mobile phone, even where there's no internet.
They launched their service in Kenya in March 2015 and attracted 4000 users in the first 10 days. Since launching, over 160,000 learners in Kenya and Tanzania have used Arifu’s interactive SMS Learner Account to acquire new skills and discover innovative products and services offered by their partners. Whether in agriculture, financial services, health, consumer goods, or any other industry, their partners use Arifu Partner Accounts to engage, educate, and collect insights on the customers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers across their global value chains. By ensuring a sustainable business model is at the core of what they do, they have been able to unlock information for those who need it most and deliver free, quality education at scale.
Arifu has 18 partners including World Bank, TechnoServe, Vodacom, Syngenta, Mercy Corps among others. They have partnered with Syngenta to deliver digital extension services to farmers in Kenya resulting in a 55% increase in farmer yield and $187 more earnings per acre for their learners. They also rolled out a project with Vodacom, CGAP, and TechnoServe in Tanzania to improve financial inclusion for people in rural areas, which has led to a 500% increase in savings, improved repayment rates, and reduced dormancy.
The startup has won several accolades including PIVOT East, a startup pitching competition and conference. They emerged the best startup in PIVOT East 2015 in the society category. According to Craig the co-founder of Arifu, “One of the investors participating in our Seed Round introduced himself to me at PIVOT East after hearing our winning pitch! He and his organization have turned out to be a great thought partner and growth resource for us”. They are currently closing a Seed Round with three impact investment funds and planning for a Series A by 2018 to fuel growth across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Arifu has a two-sided platform with two types of users: Learners and Partners. Learners can expect to get even more out of our educational content through an increasingly personalized experience driven by our soon to launch AI recommendation engine. Partners can expect greater social and financial ROI with deep predictive analytics that will help them to better engage, train, and learn about BoP across their value chains.