Episode 33, Building a startup from Whatsapp. Trevor Kimenye, CEO and Co-Founder at Ongair

Trevor Kimenye is the CEO of Ongair, a web-based social CRM tool that enables businesses to interact and communicate with their customers on popular Instant messaging platforms from a single dashboard.

This is a global solution built in Africa. Businesses, regardless of where they are stationed need to communicate with their customers. This is what Trevor and his team make happen.

The journey of Ongair is one that businesses should monitor and study closely, as it is one of the most successful ways of starting and running a business.

They had an idea and tested it using Whatsapp. Then they allowed a business to use their service for free, thereby validating their idea.

The next step was to build a landing page and see how many people wanted their service. And that’s how the journey began.

If you are looking to start a business and validate your idea, Trevor’s story is one you’ll find interesting.


In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Trevor left a well-paying job in Australia to come back to Kenya and start his business. He was inspired by a lot of things. Find out what they were.
  • He met his co-founder at a hackathon called Garage48, how did they move forward to starting a business together? What were the dynamics involved?
  • The idea for Ongair was developed while having an off-day at work. How did they come about it?
  • How do you build a CRM from Whatsapp? That’s exactly what they did. They started their business from Whatsapp. Find out why
  • What is the importance of having an MVP? How did it help the business?
  • Ongair made use of growth hacking. It is responsible for 35% of their customers. How can you take advantage of growth hacking?
  • What should you learn from the relationship between Ongair and zendesk?
  • Trevor looks forward to a good accelerator running in Africa. What were his reasons for this?
  • What was their initial payment infrastructure like? What challenges did they have to deal with?
  • And more

Selected Links from the episode

Y Combinator
Ventures Platform

Selected book from this episode

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days By Jake Knapp

Building The Future Podcast Season 2 is sponsored by the British Council.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. You can learn more about their activities here.

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Episode 33