Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
My name is Allan Rwakatungu. I am founder of intelworld which is a software solutions company – we are focused on enabling all types of businesses to accept mobile payments.
I have a background in telecom – I worked with MTN (the biggest telecom in Africa) for over 5 years asa developer with MTN Uganda and 2 years as an Architect for the MTN South andEastern African (SEA) region.
At university I studied economics and statistics – so all I know about IT and computing is self-taughtor experience from work
How the idea of mbet came to you?
As mentioned earlier, our company intelworld enables traditional businesses to move from the brickand mortar; cash based business model to the mobile device and electronic modelwhich is more efficient in many ways. Sports betting is huge in Uganda so wegot in touch with a big betting company in Europe , shared the idea and theyliked it so we went ahead and developed mbet. We shipped mbet about 2 monthsago – it’s exciting to see people actually using it.
3. Why you decided to implement this idea specifically onWindows Azure?
In 2008 while a developer with MTN, I attended Professional Developer Conference (PDC) in theUnited States. It was amazing to meet the best developers in the world and talk to them. At the conference, we were introduced to Windows Azure and I got earlyaccess to the beta program. So I know all the advantages of running my business applications in the cloud. When we started intelworld we choose Windows Azureas our cloud partner.
4. What resources on Microsoft or community side you found most helpful while working on the app?
MSDN, channel 9, stack overflow – I particularly love channel 9 as am visual leaner
5. Could you please take us on a quick tour to understand your application better?
A picture tells a thousand words. See how we architected mbet below
It’s important for us that our applications support as many clients as possible from feature phones,to PC to points of sale and soon we hope native phone applications like Windowsphone.
What does this translate to in the real world?
Using mbet as an example it supports multiple payment vendors from Airtel to MTN, we constantly message our customers (SMS, email, chat) about upcoming games, receipts, results etc.and mbet is accessible through multiple channels. Online you get to mbet using URL www.mbet.ug , feature phone users access us using the USSD channel (*152# on Airtel and *168*50# on MTN) and soon we will be supportingpoints of sale. It doesn’t matter what the customer uses they get a consistent unified experience
6. What are your interests behind technology?
Our major interest is to finally bring Africa into the digital age. Access is not really a problem anymore with millions of mobile phones. The opportunity in voice is well documented.The next opportunity is in mobile commerce. That’s why we are focused on mobile payments and increasing the use cases, making them more accessible and more usable.
7. Any plans for news apps or projects in general?
Most definitely. There still so many use cases that can be put on mobile devices and payments be made electronically.We are particularly interested in remittances, ticketing, mobile and online shopping.
8. Were there any benefits for you from mbet? if yes can you illustrate please
Yes. mbet helped us dive in. We’ve shipped a product and we are learning so many things about customers, marketing and other aspects of business
9. What would you advise to Developers in the region who also would like to become #MEAHero?
I will give them my two favorite quotations
- Passion is everything
- Ideas mean nothing unless executed
10. Where the community can catch up with you online or offline?
Stack overflow: http://stackoverflow.com/users/249928/allan-rwakatungu