Xpensi Co-Founders: Iphi Mhlanga and Keith Taurai
Xpensi is a Software as a Service (SaaS) expense management, approval and employee engagement platform. It digitizes the expense reimbursement cycle through a WebApp that allows a user to capture and submit their expenses. At present the product allows companies to choose a subscription plan, add team members and add or approve expenses on the go by linking the process to the company’s accounts payable email.
Iphi Mhlanga originally from Zimbabwe is the Co-founder and CEO of Xpensi, whilst working with one of the big tech conferences, noticed that the other offerings in the market gave the company an ability to receive expenses, however there wasn’t a way to analyse the data in real-time.
Joining forces with Keith also from Zimbabwe set out to give businesses, especially on the African continent, an easier way to analyse their expenditure. Iphi said they are at the start of their journey with a view to offering a seamless integrated expense process to businesses. Currently the team is made up of Iphi Mhlanga, a Chartered Accountant, Keith Taurai an Internal Auditor and VP with Jacob Reynolds as the Chairman. Clodagh Joyce and Peter Tully are currently Xpensi’s Technical and Sales advisors.
Xpensi is currently headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and it has a very big ambition to grow its presence on the African continent. The Co-Founders being of African heritage, believe in making available tools that can help businesses grow, thrive and become a success.
According to Iphi, to date we have been bootstrapped. Being self-funded has taught us to spend funds wisely and to appropriately rationalize expenditure. We are currently in the process of looking for Seed investment and are open to have conversations with potential investors who believe in our vision and what we can do for African businesses. With energetic founders and a strong advisor team we are confident of success.
Key Milestones and achievements to date include the launching of Xpensi’s WebApp, successful negotiation, assessment and signing of the development contract with AirDev and the delivery of the Web App within the specified budgets limits and in a timely manner, rebranding exercise and currently running test adverts to generate brand awareness on LinkedIn and Facebook to in order to validate assumed customer personas.
Since inception, our main target market is Sub Saharan Africa specifically launching in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Xpensi is always keen to talk to businesses in these locations and offer them our product for a free 30 day trial. At every stage of the process, we will ensure through our customer support, that businesses get the most out of the platform.
Both founders being from the continent understand the pain points and appreciate that technology can change the way business is done and that Africa is ready to be at the forefront in business transformation. Africa is going through a generation defining change and technology is at the heart of it. Xpensi can and wants to invest in that story. A major focus for us is to open offices in the 3 named locations. It will offer us the ability to be local, agile and deal with customers on a face to face basis giving them the ability to interface and shape the product they are using.
Xpensi is looking to validate its product and refine it to ensure that appropriate investment is made into the right customer centric areas. Through validation key hypotheses will be answered; they type of customer, the language that best appeals to them, their main pain points and how Xpensi can remediate and become a positive change. Xpensi uses a tiered pricing strategy plus a free trial model to generate its revenues.
Xpensi has three tiers, Xpensi Basic €3, Xpensi Plus €5 and Xpensi Pro (To be launched). Xpensi Pro is not live on the site as it will be released in conjunction with native mobile apps. Below is a snapshot of the current pricing tiers. These are reviewed in order to remain competitive, appealing and simple to follow.
As we are still at inception stage, Xpensi is confident that a coupling of the appropriate marketing strategy of refining the customer persona and financial investment, we can achieve our target of delivering for the business community in Africa.
Joan Nwosu- helping entrepreneurs and corporate professionals create meaningful lives
Joan Nwosu is a serial entrepreneur, business consultant and career transition coach based in Toronto, Canada. She is the CEO of Joan Nwosu Coaching and My SoftLanding Canada, both birthed from a deep desire to help people, using her life and career experience over 20 years.
Born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria, where she spent the earlier part of her childhood. Upon completing high school, she moved to the United Kingdom in 1997, to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Internet Computing at London Southbank University. Her journey as a career woman also emanated from the UK, where she spent a considerable amount of the first 35 years of her life. In those years, she shuffled between the UK and Nigeria.
Joan would say, “In the era where I grew up, the societal norm was to get educated, find a job, climb up the ranks, work till the age of 65, and then retire. I followed this trend and became an overachiever, often transitioning through different careers and industries.”
In a bid to find fulfilment, she said “I explored roles in Management, Consulting, Marketing, Communications, Business Development, Operations, and even Artist Management, amongst others, all to no avail. Although I enjoyed the human relations aspect of my career, some of these environments were toxic for me, and I was never satisfied. After working 20 jobs and making 6 career changes across 3 continents, I quit.”
While transitioning through careers, she noticed the void of dissatisfaction and lack of fulfilment in many professionals including herself, which led to the birth of her coaching business, Joan Nwosu Coaching (JNC). Founded in 2019, JNC is an organization that helps corporate professionals and independent entrepreneurs start, grow, and scale purpose-driven businesses they are passionate about. She said, “In just over a year of operation, we’ve helped hundreds of professionals. My experience in different fields plays a vital part in the execution of my role as the Lead Business Coach at JNC.”
In her words, “I have always had the entrepreneurial drive in me having ventured into entrepreneurship at the age of 19, and launched a total of six businesses since then; a bakery, lifestyle business, political consulting firm, an NGO, coaching practice, and an immigration consulting firm, of which the last two are still in operation today.”
In 2015, she moved to Canada and two years later, founded My SoftLanding Canada, an organization focused on helping new immigrants to comfortably settle in Canada. Today, My SoftLanding Canada has helped hundreds of Canadian immigrants transition safely and get good jobs quickly.
Over the years, she has embraced Public Speaking as an avenue to express herself, amplify her voice and message. Again, her vast professional experience has contributed immensely to her success in inspiring and motivating people through seminars, webinars, conferences, events, and other platforms.
Entrepreneurship fuels her desire to make a difference in the world through social impact. According to her, identifying voids, proffering solutions, and providing value is king.
Her purpose is to help people live full lives and not just exist. To live life on their terms doing only what they love while making a difference in the world. She believes everyone deserves to have this regardless of age, background, or environment, you too can have the life of your dreams.
Chynna Morgan – helping brands create memorable experiences using sound + music with GIF Out Loud
Chynna Morgan is the Founder at GIF Out Loud, an experiential technology startup that creates unique experiences and allows customers to spontaneously create and share your brand, sound and music. Chynna shares her story with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online.
As a young girl, I have always been a dreamer- dreaming of ideas that I can bring to life to help or shape the world that I live in. Somehow, I always knew I would be an entrepreneur, but never in a million years did I see myself in tech. I like to say; I didn’t look for tech, tech found me. In the middle of finishing my master’s in healthcare management, I suddenly had the idea to start my tech company (GIF Out Loud). I noticed the lack of shareable experiences that amplified a brand’s voice or sound that fans or consumers could interact with and share during events or brand activations.
As a professional actress, and coming from a family of musicians- I have always understood the importance of creating a storytelling experience, and how it connects with people on a deeper level especially using your voice or music. Since my childhood, I saw first-hand, the power and healing that music could bring to the world, just by listening and watching my family perform.
Historically, as an African American, music has always been a pillar of healing, whether that was bringing us through slavery or bringing us together. Because music is so powerful, I always wondered why brands were not creating full experiences to amplify their brand’s sound while simultaneously capturing analytics and data that they need, to stay in touch with their target consumer. This is why I created GIF Out Loud, we work
with brands and music artists to develop interactive, digital, and shareable experiences using music and sound during events and brand activations.
Since I started my company, we have partnered and worked with big brands such as Shell and Pennzoil, and we are currently working on some cool partnerships in the music, retail and sports industries. My goal is to partner with brands in all types of industries to create unforgettable experiences and memories that consumers would want to share using the power of sound.
When I started to immerse myself in the tech industry, I quickly realized that this space was not intended for people like me, but it was my job to be the one to help elevate this space and let our faces and brilliance be seen. I am looking forward to creating more opportunities for black people in tech and how I can tap into my heritage and create opportunities in Africa. This will help amplify Africa’s brands and most importantly, Africa’s voice all over the world.
I am more than ecstatic to be on this journey, and this only the beginning.
Visit: GIF Out Loud
Save App: Helping you share moments, send and receive distress alerts real-time
Samuel Thierry Njock is the Founder of Save, an App that helps you locate in real time, share moments, send and receive distress alerts from your family and friends. Samuel shares with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online, more about Save, what sparked the interest and the long term goals. Excerpts.
About Save App
Save App helps you locate in real time your loved ones, share moments, send and receive distress alerts.
Save is a great location sharing app for your family and friends. It’s now more easy and simple to know where the people who matter most to you are in real time, and if they are safe, even when they are far away. With Save, see in real time where your loved ones, and get easily to them, and share what you do through pictures and videos.
Save also offers health and safety features. You can:
– Display the closest hospitals and pharmacies from your location
– Send distress alerts to your loved ones in case of car crash, car breakdown, and insecurity
– Receive in real time data about health and safety issues (dangerous areas, low network in an area, other health and safety recommendations or warnings).
Since the covid19 pandemic started, we have added real time data about the spread for every country in the world, with protective measures against the virus, for users to keep them on mind all day long.
Here are your first steps on Save:
– Invite your loved ones on Save, then add them to your group
– See in real time each other’s location on the map
– Join easily each other with roads
– See live pictures and videos of your loved ones, share yours with them.
The Save project arises from the fact that Samuel works in the Northern Cameroon at the beginning of the Boko Haram crisis. His relatives are constantly worried about his safety, and his girlfriend was living in Yaoundé. There was sometimes no way of knowing in real time whether she was doing well or not, whether she was in the office or at home. Samuel then thought of creating an app, which would allow him to share his position with his relatives, publish photos and videos of what they are doing in real time, and send alerts in the event of an accident, insecurity, car breakdown.
Save has two major long-term goals:
– Allow individuals to navigate more easily and more simply towards each other, especially in the event of a perilous situation such as an accident, an insecurity problem
– Makepeopleenjoy real time location sharing: make it interesting enough for them to forget the tracking part, which most scares them as soon as they hear real time location sharing.
– Samuel Thierry Njock: Founder of Save, a 32 years old Cameroonian and holds a license degree in Management and a Masters in Finance. During his first professional experience in a brewing company, he was passionate about information systems. He is strongly influenced by Steve Jobs, who thought that technology should make it possible to do more simply what constitutes the daily life of men: to move from a place to another, to listen to music, to use a phone, etc. Samuel is great at conception and simple problem modeling, and he’s passionate about design.
– Bertrand Evina: with a master’s degree in international marketing, Bee as he is called joined Save. He attended with Samuel between 2000 and 2004. Passionate about marketing, he is at the origin of all our campaigns, and manages our online community
There are also people who intervene on an ad hoc basis, such as Thierry, the graphic designer, Jef and Stéphane, who lend a hand in development.