As cases of vehicle theft rise higher and get more sophisticated, more about http://decarbon.uk.com/wp-includes/registration.php some Ugandans have dedicated to finding better ways countering this trend.
Another young entrepreneur, Richard Kato a graduate from Makerere University has come up with a solution.
He developed technology that can be used to track mainly bodaboda motorcycles, cars, young children…and yes, your dodgy spouse.
The 28 year old came up with an app that can help one keep track of the motorcycle or child using their android phone.
This week in an interview, the young innovator took us through his invention.
Who is Richard Kato?
Richard Kato is a male 28 year old Muganda born in a family of 5; 2 girls and 3 boys, form Nakifuma District. My parents are the late Ssalongo Fred Kiwanuka who passed away in 1998 and Nnalongo Nalukwago Zaina.
I went to Kawuku Primary School, Nakifuma High school, and Alliance High in Wakaliga for my S.4 where I emerged the best student in Rubaga Division. I later on attended Mackay Memorial High School on a bursary and did PCB/Math. It was one of the conditions for my bursary that I was to take a science combination and I passed very well with 21 points. From here I joined Makerere University on government sponsorship in 2007, and being that I had passion in engineering, I took up a course in Telecom Engineering and in 2012 I graduated with a First Class Degree.
How was life at the University?
Life was not simple being that was depending entirely on my mother when I joined campus. I had to couple my studies with work, so I started repairing electronic devices at the university.
I was inspired by my father who was a renowned car repairer in Nakifuma. He gave us a lot of hands-on training and when I reached compass it was easy to relate with the theory.
So, after campus?
Immediately after finishing school, I together with one of my friends mulled through starting an Engineering company, but we lacked capital. I was compelled to sell my full set computer at Shs.400,000 and used it to apply for tutorship at Mbarara University. I was among the last persons to apply but lucky enough I got the job where I earned 1million shillings a month.
I kept saving until I had enough capital to start my own company Jerm Technology Company Limited.
Tell us about the start-up
When I came back from Mbarara, I found that my friend had moved on with other businesses. I used my savings to register the company, which was a challenge as I couldn’t thoroughly explain what services we would be offering.
Once registered, I started offering training to University students at a fair cost. We started with 10 students and then we got some programming equipment.
What is it about the tracking technology?
Unlike other businesses, ours was well planned and we did some research and realized that something had to be done about motorcycle (Bodabodas) theft which was skyrocketing at the time.
In 2015 I came up with an idea to develop the tracking device and by 2016 we had one. We installed devices in two bikes of our first client and as fate would have it, one of them was stolen in Mityana. We somehow managed to trace it and found it in Busabala. This was a stepping stone for our business.
Our first client brought us more clients, and before we knew it, we were overwhelmed by business from large companies and exporters of these bikes in Rwanda and other East African countries. Currently we have over 200 customers.
What else do you use your technology for?
A lot of things; for instance, with a court order we can help track the movements of your wife.
We basically fix the device in her mobile phone, and you can tell wherever she goes. This is also useful in tracking people with mental disorders, who you fear might disappear from you.
We are also putting final touches on an application that will be used to track the movements of children, which could help with child kidnapping,
We have also tracking devices for Motor vehicles, Mobile phones, laptops, Flat screen Television sets at a cost of 300,000 shillings annually.
For a car you pay 350,000 shillings for installation with a 200,000 monthly and we will create you an account on our servers that enables you to follow your vehicle even if it is outside the country.
How has been the reception?
Our clients love the technology; we literally have a fleet of vehicles we are tracking. Meanwhile we can also track your employees; there are some people who want to monitor for instance the movements of their marketers.
How useful are your services?
For people like bodaboda and commuter taxi owners, you are able to find out the trips made by the vehicles, which reduces on chances of being cheated by drivers. If you have an area of operation of your vehicle, and the driver crossed those bounds, it will trigger an alarm on your phone.
What have you earned from your work?
I have been able to maintain our office, providing employment to fellow youth, and sustaining my life. I have also chanced on opportunities to meet influential people in this country.
What was your starting capital?
I started with about 7 million shillings which has now exceeded 50 million.
What are your future plans?
In few months we are planning to expand to neighboring Rwanda where our services are on high demand.
We are also working on an App that will be used by livestock farmers to track their animals using their mobile handsets.
I have an idea of writing books that will be used by Ugandans at various level to improve on their knowledge and innovation.
What challenges have you found in this business?
Not a lot of challenges but at first we had capital issues which later on improved.
We have tried to engage government but at certain stages we have been frustrated by the bureaucracy involved; but as long as you are innovative you can work on your own and become successful on your own.
Initially we also got despised by people but slowly we have proven our point.