Echo Mobile

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Echo Mobile: Amplifying individual voices wherever they are - Power to the Phone!

Nairobi, KenyaNairobi, Kenya
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Echo's mission is to strengthen the connection between organizations and the people they work with, no matter where they are. We leverage mobile technology to bring the field to the head office, where our users engage, learn from, and inform their markets in real-time.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

Everyone on the planet had instant access to the information needed to inform the crucial decisions of day to day life
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In the markets where Echo works, whether you're a business, NGO, government agency, or individual, the cost of accessing crucial information is far too high. Echo's aim is to minimize this cost by making communication with everyone (no matter what kind of phone they own), affordable, quick, simple, and deeply scalable.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our solution is a constantly improving and intuitive software-as-a-service web platform that acts as a cross between Survey Monkey and MailChimp, but for even the most basic phones. Echo instantly enables organizations of all types to communicate with the people that matter to them -- customers, beneficiaries, users, staff, anyone -- at no cost to the respondent. Echo supports a growing list of mobile channels, which currently includes toll-free SMS, Interactive Voice Response, USSD, Android and web-based communications.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We love seeing how our users leverage Echo. Well Told Story is an Emmy Award Winning Social Communications design, production and consulting company. Well Told Story produces Shujaaz FM; a multi-media channel for youth development. Through its integrated media strategy consisting of print, radio and social media, Shujaaz empowers and inspires young people on different issues to catalyze positive social change. In just one year, WTS has engaged over 100,000 fans through the Echo Mobile platform. SMS enables young fans who have just a basic phone to to give feedback, and share their ideas with Shujaaz' most loved and main character, DJ B.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Echo works directly with 40 organizational users in Kenya, including microfinance organizations, health clinics, social enterprises such as solar companies and cookstove manufacturers, as well as UNICEF, and the Ministry of Education. The Echo platform has been used to send and receive over 6 million messages to nearly 1 million respondents. Echo is beginning to expand its scope beyond East Africa, with projects in Colombia, India, and Sierra Leone, among others. As our footprint increases, our ability to offer a powerful, affordable service suite to more and more high-impact organizations expands in kind.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In 2015, Echo will be conducting project activities leveraging its platform in 10 countries. The platform has evolved 100% organically to date -- we respond to the needs and ideas of our users, and continually build additional functionality and value into the product so that all our users continue to benefit. In 2015 Echo is also launching consulting services, which will allow us to leverage a vast amount of experience, best practices, and learnings from 4 years deploying mobile technology solutions in Kenya and beyond.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Echo Mobile has two primary revenue streams: the Echo platform (SaaS), and Echo consulting (launched early 2015). As of this year, we are financially sustainable thanks to our consulting services, that leverage not only our technology platform, but also our team's growing expertise deploying mobile technologies in emerging markets. By the end of 2015, Echo plans to achieve operational sustainability from platform services alone.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Mobile data collection and communication is not a new idea. Companies like Magpi, Ona, and Telerivet offer services related to Echo's core product suite. However, no other organization is able to leverage basic mobile technology across the wide diversity of channels Echo supports. Additionally, Echo's unique advantage is that our team's experience of how to do mobile technology "the right way" is constantly being embedded into the platform so that new users instantly have access to the best practices and advice that will maximize their project's chances of success.
Team

Founding Story

My co-founder and I were embedded at Juhudi Kilimo, an innovative microfinance institution based in Nairobi. As a Kiva.org partner, Juhudi had deep needs for seamless communication with their farmers who were spread out over rural western Kenya. We immediately saw a gap, as well as an opportunity. Over 80% of Juhudi's farmers have basic mobile phones, but Juhudi had no way to disseminate information to them, and collect information from them, at scale, and at no cost to the farmer. We built Echo with Juhudi in mind, and have expanded to support the needs of organizations across nearly every sector of the economy.

Team

Echo is a small team of 6, all based out of Nairobi, and will be growing to 10 after our current round of hiring concludes. Echo's management team has a deep background in international development, market research, quantitative analysis, as well as product design and systems engineering. This is just the right mix to allow us to intimately understand our users needs, as we continue to build out a world-class cloud-based service.
About You
Organization:
FlashCast Ventures Ltd
About You
First Name

Jeremy

Last Name

Gordon

About Your Project
Organization Name

FlashCast Ventures Ltd

How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, Nairobi

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Nairobi

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Customers.

Supplemental
Please list your date of birth (YYYY/MM/DD)

1985/04/04

Please tell us how leadership training would help you to make an even greater impact on the social innovation field.

Despite the lively entrepreneurial scene here in Nairobi, working days and nights on a startup can sometimes feel isolating. My team and I work closely with our users, and are constantly learning about issues in the region and beyond that we may be able to lend our expertise to, but I feel a gap when it comes to connections with the wider social innovation community.

Programs like the Emerging Innovators Bootcamp have a mission of bringing people like myself and my co-workers together to improve our strategies for tackling inherently related problems.

The lack of data to help us define the context within which we work (the very problem Echo aims to address), makes it all the more necessary to connect with others working in the same space. I look forward to the opportunity to participate in this program.

Please enclose a short personal biography.

I moved to Nairobi in March 2010 as a fellow with Kiva.org. I instantly saw the fast-growing technology space in Nairobi with excited entrepreneurs and technologists building solutions to real, highly-visible problems.

As a product designer and engineer with a strong desire to use my skills to build businesses and technologies with a positive, honest, and potentially impactful mission, I wanted to be part of it.

My bio follows.

Jeremy Gordon is a graduate of Stanford University with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Political Science. Jeremy previously founded Echo Mobile, a cloud platform allowing organizations in Kenya to conduct SMS-based research with customers in rural areas, which has acquired key users such as UNICEF, d.light, the Kenyan Ministry of Education, and The Nature Conservancy, and transacted over 3 million SMS messages since launch. Jeremy is an experienced product designer and entrepreneur with a background in quantitative market research and statistical analysis.

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