For a while now I've been impressed by the development of the Cape Verdean tech & start-up scene. I was interested in hearing a few stories, and wanted to understand both the motivation and challenges. In this series of interviews I'm speaking to young (start-up) entrepreneurs in Cape Verde. Despite challenging circumstances they are able to discover solutions and bring these to the market. Products that can create a better society. This is part 1:
Company Name: Nha Bex
Interview with: Alector Timas
Problem they are solving: Waiting times at institutes
Nha Bex started at the UNI-CV university of Praia, when a group of students came together to discuss the problem of inefficiency at the campus. Students who would come from other parts of the island of Santiago would have trouble to sign-up for certain classes and get other things done where they needed administrative assistence.
Sometimes students would take an hour to get to the campus, and once they got there there'd be long lines. People would end up going home without signing up, after traveling all the way to the university. The next day, they would have to get up, travel to the city again and to the same thing all over.
How does Nha Bex solve the problem of long lines?
You can use our app through Messenger or our website. It all works in real-time, so you can get 'in line' from wherever you are for the service you want to use. Nha Bex will also show you which branch of the service you want to use has the least amount of people waiting. You can also get notifications, so you know exactly how many people are waiting before you in any given moment.
The app provides customers the opportunity to review their experience. We see this as a very big step forward because managers can have trouble monitoring employers behavior, which does not improve the service the institutions offer. By adding the review function we hope to see better results, since now management has the information they need in order to make the improvements neccessary.
What is the highlight of everything you have done so far?
"One of the highlights was definitely the Websummit we attended in Lisbon in 2019. 10 Cape Verdean start-ups got to attend, which is fantastic. It was so inspiring to meet people from all over the world who have the same passion and who are doing amazing things. Nha Bex made a very good impression on a lot of attendees, and the whole event was very motivating to experience."
"One of the people I met at the summit, a Cape Verdean guy, invited me to visit the neighborhood of Buraca. He's working on a project here to get WIFI to as many people as possible, using a fantastic technology. We just couldn't wait to get back to work after the summit."
What do you think of the current start-up ecosystem in our country?
“Well, of course it's not what it is in other countries. But we've come a long way. If you look at what things used to be, it definitely has improved. Cabo Verde Digital plays an important part in this all, thanks to the technical support the project can offer.”
“Nha Bex started as a college assignment. Our professor has played such an important part in getting this far. Of course the university was important as well, but without the support of our professor we would not be here now.”
“The road has not been an easy one, but today we have a few large partners such as Electra, Casa de Cidadão, hospitals Agostinho Neto (Praia) en Baptista Souza (Mindelo). In the next few days we'll appear on the BBC and RTP Africa. We're very happy with how things are evolving.”