Monday, 2 July 2012


Stephen Maingi is a young Kenyan developer with a great entrepreneurial spirit and many good ideas. Through the Nokia Store, he has managed to convert his ideas into cash; netting around Sh100,000 per month from downloads.

Stephen's journey began in 2009 when he started application development, all self-taught by using the internet for resources. Shortly thereafter, he developed a suite of 14 applications called Kyuste Mobile Suite. These included apps like: My.Manager for adding, viewing and editing contacts; Scriptures covering a collection of bibles verses; Finance for personal finance management; Diary for management of daily and future events; I.Record for storing important information, SMS.Chat and many others.

Sure that he was onto something good, he began the process of looking for investors to raise the necessary capital. Despite presenting at a number of Innovation Forums and knocking on several doors, Stephen made no progress on his dream of commercializing his suite of apps.

He then went the route of direct sales by personally visiting schools and marketing his applications to teachers. However, with no personal transport and some health issues, this process was slow and limited, and eventually he had to get a regular job. During this time, Stephen did manage to get 12 apps registered on GetJar where users would download the applications and get the activation code after paying for the app via PayPal. However, the commercial success was very limited with many users either not having or using a PayPal system at that time, and the sum total of his efforts amounted to around 2,000 KES per month.

However, in August 2011, Stephen's dreams were re-ignited when he heard about the Nokia Store and the ability to publish apps for free. By mid-October, he had published the first 12applications, rebranded under his new company Dolphins Data Systems. Within the first 2 weeks, Stephen had already received revenue of almost 19,000 KES from his downloads. With this incentive in mind, he pushed forward, more determined than ever, and has since published around 200 applications to Nokia Store. These now generate an average income of around 100,000 KES per month for the young developer.

"My journey with Nokia has been an amazing one," says Stephen. "Based on my success, I have already started work on a Qt and Windows Mobile version of my apps, and I hope to capture the smartphone user base next. I recently attended the Open Innovation Africa Summit in Nairobi and this has inspired me to keep on developing mobile apps – there is so much opportunity in this space. The '3 idiots' movie reveals it better: Make your passion your profession".