Byron Sitawa, one of Chura’s founders at the 2014 Demo Africa Innovation Challenge in Nigeria.
In any effective transaction, whether involving money or otherwise, efficiency (speed), reliability and security come first. Yet the common Kenyan experience is that not all or most of our most needful transactions tend to observe those first principles, to their own detriment eventually, if the anomalies have not been addressed responsibly and timely by service providers.
But here is Chura: “airtime 4 cash, buy airtime, switch airtime, buy data.” Then there’s another one— “Chura Money”. Chura.co.ke is “an integrated, user friendly, easy to use package” developed and successfully commercialized by a team of young entrepreneurs formerly incubated at the Computing for Development (C4D) Lab, University of Nairobi.
Now almost three years in existence, the disruptive Chura is the collective brainchild of one Njogu Kinyanjui, an Architectural graduate from the University of Nairobi; Byron Sitawa, Bsc. Industrial Chemistry; Jack Kinga, Bsc.Engineering, Stephanie Gaku, Bsc. Computer Science as well as Samuel Njuguna, Bsc. Computer Science—all of the three also being University of Nairobi alumni.
Their latest product, “Chura Money”, allows one to withdraw money from their Paypal account to any mobile phone instantly, transfer funds from credit or debit card to any M-pesa account. Chura Money also allows people in the diaspora to send cash directly on their mobile phones to family and friends in Kenya.
Their other fast, affordable and reliable options allow the user to convert their possibly excess airtime into cash, buy airtime itself (small quantity or in bulk), switch airtime randomly between the existing networks, buy data bundles, and much more, at just the click of a mobile phone.
What is more, conducting your most needful transaction on the platform lands you the incredible opportunity to enjoy an instant 5 per cent bonus.
Chura is loved for all it is worth: recently, the team hit the mark with their platform at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s “Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation” competition held in South Africa early in June this year, receiving Ksh 1.4 million. Besides, they’ve pitched in Silicon Valley for making it big at the last year’s Demo Africa innovation challenge in Nigeria.
Moses Omusolo is the Social Media Manager, C4DLab.