Back in December 2015, Acumen Communications Limited started a gaming and betting platform known as mCHEZA. The platform came at a time when the sports betting craze in Kenya was catching on and it was only natural for the platform to establish itself as a worthy investment for the millions of Kenyans who wanted to make some cash from sports betting.
At that time, mCHEZA was purely SMS-based as was every other platform within the same space. However a few years later, the company had to switch things up. mCHEZA sort to keep up with the changing times and one way to do so was to embrace the dynamic technological world. “We started off as a pure SMS platform and it worked to bring in people without smartphones,” says Peter Karimi, mCHEZA CEO, “But what happened pretty quickly is that the cost of smartphones really went down,” he adds.
Fueled by the growing smartphone penetration market, mCHEZA developed a mobile application to complement its SMS-based platform. “We didn’t want to be left behind. We went online with our platform,” explains Mr Karimi. The first iteration of mCHEZA’s app was as basic as their previous SMS-based platform. Users could simply use the mobile application to place bets with the added advantage of being able to view betting odds and team stats.
“We started off as a pure SMS platform and it worked to bring in people without smartphones”
As time went by, mCHEZA felt that they were moving forward but they still didn’t have the right product to appease the Kenyan consumer whom Mr Karimi describes as “forward thinking”, “We did not have the correct product for this market because the Kenyan consumer is quite forward thinking, they are looking for the next big thing,” says Mr Karimi.
The next big step was to completely overhaul their product. mCHEZA went back to the drawing board, “We put together everything customers had asked for, we put together an action plan and at the beginning of January, we went through a massive upgrade of the platform,” Mr Karimi reveals.
The new platform would merge what was originally mCHEZA, that is sports betting, with an array of new features including:
- Live betting – which allows players to place bets as a match is going on, going as far as predicting which team will score next.
- Virtual sports – such as virtual football leagues that last for 90 seconds.
- Casino – where users can play casino games straight from their phones.
- M-Pesa Express integration – for quick and easy betting placement and payout without leaving the mCHEZA app.
These changes were necessary according to Mr Karimi. He is particularly excited by the live betting feature, something that sets the platform aside from the competition, “We allow for players to place bets on matches as they are going on,” he reiterates.
Mr Karimi also revealed the hidden treasures on mCHEZA, such as the Virtual Reality Casino that allows anyone with the right gear (smartphone and VR Kit) to have a full Casino experience from the comfort of their homes. He also says that the company is working on new features that will allow customers to bet on live video games such as Fifa and Pro Evolution Soccer.
mCHEZA CEO says that leveraging technology was an important aspect of the company’s goal to offer an exciting and unique gaming experience to its customers.