In 2009, Jack Langworthy moved from his home in Los Angeles to a remote Tanzanian village to teach mathematics as a Peace Corps Volunteer. In the village he became obsessed with agriculture, as everyone farmed for a living and seemed stuck in a cycle of poverty. He worked for years with various NGO's to connect farmers and markets more efficiently in Tanzania. In 2013 he completed his MBA at the Copenhagen Business School and moved to Älmhult, Sweden as a business analyst at IKEA headquarters. After reading Peter Thiel's book Zero to One, Jack became convinced that software could innovate African agriculture at scale. He and his coworker Magnus Kerker got to work building NINAYO and founded NINAYO AB. Together they built an online trading platform so remote farmers could access buyers outside of their villages and get their food to market at a better price: for consumers and farmers.
In 2016, the Chairman and cofounder of Uber, Garrett Camp, invested in NINAYO. Today Jack splits his time between the nicest offices in San Francisco and the remote bush of Tanzania. NINAYO is growing rapidly with 20,000 users and now partnered with the UNCDF, USAID and Heifer International to scale continent wide.
Session - Building tech products for emerging markets
NINAYO.com connects food supply and demand in East Africa. It has changed the lives of thousands of small holder farmers who are able to sell their crops at better prices by utilizing online trading. This talk will explore the opportunity to take a "blue ocean strategy" and create truly valuable products where they are needed most. Cell phone penetration is widespread, but products that could truly innovate are few and far between.
The version of the site being used today is significantly different than the initial beta. There have been major learnings regarding platform, site speed, symbols and marketing. Techniques for monitoring, iterating and finding product market fit in emerging markets will be shared in the talk.