Last night we hosted one of our best Heavy Chef Sessions yet. The crowd was fascinated by Alan Knott-Craig Jr, CEO of Mxit, who shared his journey with us, on his way to acquiring Mxit and building up World of Avatar. Not only was his story intriguing, but also his great sense of charisma and comfort, as he unfolded the details of Mxit and his future plans for the messaging service.
Alan revealed that although he struggled to get investors for Mxit, it wasn’t a dream – it was an evolution of circumstance. And with the help of intelligent robots such as Lucy and Foo, the youth were downloading Mxit at an alarming rate, causing hype mainly among school kids. Today, Mxit is predominantly an older crowd, averaging 25 years old.
Alan enlightened us on their 50 million active Mxit users, spread across 126 countries including Africa, Syria, America, Indonesia and Zimbabwe. Amazingly, there are no offices outside the heart of Stellenbosch. Mxit sends 800 million messages a day – three times the amount of messages sent by Twitter, internationally. And all of Mxit’s growth has been purely word of mouth.
Amongst the history of Mxit, Alan also shared his future plans. “We have teamed up with two major banks to create mobile wallets that will allow for virtual transactions”. He also stressed the importance of keeping a small team in order to allow for change. When asked if Mxit can handle uncertainty, risk and change, he said “Fewer employees means it is easier to adapt. You can’t do Africa without being in Africa.”
“We’re giving Mxit a year. Relax, it’s not a milestone, it’s momentum” say Alan when describing their future visions. It also became clear how we need to remember that with only 5% of smartphone usage in Africa, the majority of people rely on Mxit as the cheapest form of communicating. And anonymity is crucial when considering the escapism that people yearn for.
“We feel we are on a rocket, whether we blow up or land on the moon, at least we will be among the stars,” he said.
A huge thank you to our sponsors, Deloitte for the gorgeous venue, Backsberg for the tasty wine, Nokia for the trendy Lumia phone and Channel Mobile for their great SMS service. Follow us on Twitter to read through more tweets from the event, and remember to look out for our video of the event that will be posted shortly.
- The Next Heavy Chef Event Speaker: Alan Knott-Craig Jr. – CEO of Mxit
- Alan Knott-Craig Jr Reveals New Plans To Create Micro-Entrepreneurs Overnight
- The Many Faces of Mxit: Simple Messenger to Multi-faceted Mobile Platform
- Heavy Chef Session March: David Duarte’s presentation on ‘Social Media in South Africa’
- Online Reputation Management Heavy Chef Session with Andy Hadfield and Craig Rodney