Manyatta Rent is a startup in Nairobi, Kenya whose product helps people pay their rent via Safaricom’s M-Pesa system. This means you can pay rent using your mobile phone. I had a blast working with the co-founders Steve and Duncan during my time there. Helped them with their branding and their website. Now they’re battling the giant that is Safaricom that loves copying ideas.
Turns out that Safaricom is now coming out with their own mobile rent payment product roughly a year after Manyatta Rent. Problem is it sounds like they may have borrowed an idea or two from Steve.
Manyatta Rent is not the only startup who has had problems with Safaricom moving into their turf. M-Pepea offered instant loans via M-Pesa and Safaricom introduced a similar product a few months after M-Pepea was released. I also worked with M-Pepea on their product. It’s a tough situation and shows you need to innovate to win and sometimes watch who you partner with.
Original story at HumanIPO: http://www.humanipo.com/news/30253/safaricom-stole-my-idea-claims-manyattarent-founder/