The AfriBlocks Journey through an Interview with Building African Brands

By AfriBlocks Network on December, 12 2023
The AfriBlocks Journey through an Interview with Building African Brands
AfriBlocks Network
AfriBlocks Network

Tongayi Choto, the CEO and co-founder of AfriBlocks, recently shared insights into his journey and the evolution of his company in an interview with Anesu Chikumba on the Building African Brands podcast. The podcast, dedicated to illuminating diverse strategies employed by African brands, explored Tongayi's trajectory from a software developer to the establishment and growth of AfriBlocks.

Tongayi's professional journey commenced with his tenure at BitMari (now known as BillMari), a startup pioneering a Bitcoin-based remittance service. His travels across the United States during this period led him to encounter individuals in need of various services. To bridge this gap, he initiated connections through WhatsApp, linking these individuals with his network of friends adept in diverse tasks. What began as a casual WhatsApp group quickly grew into a network spanning over 600 people across several African countries, necessitating the birth of AfriBlocks to instill structure.

Despite AfriBlocks not being built on blockchain technology, it actively engages within the blockchain sector. Tongayi elaborates, "Blockchain is a technology that is still really young, a technology that most people, including us, are still figuring out how to integrate into our products". Rather than being fixated on a singular technology, AfriBlocks prioritizes enhancing user experience through technology, with selective integrations of blockchain in its roadmap.

The genesis of AfriBlocks' clientele stemmed from leveraging personal connections and referrals, subsequently expanding through proactive engagement at business-related events. Tongayi underscores the universality of business fundamentals, transcending geographical boundaries and industry sectors. Although markets vary in regulatory frameworks and behavioral patterns, the core principles of business remain constant.

AfriBlocks initially encompassed multiple service categories, yet its evolution has been shaped by data, resulting in a streamlined focus on specific platform categories. In a significant milestone, AfriBlocks was chosen among ten startups for Tech Stars Seattle in 2021, propelling Tongayi into an intensive 12-week program that fundamentally reshaped his startup perspective.

The Tech Stars program proved pivotal, exposing Tongayi to diverse startup founders who had navigated similar paths to build highly successful products. Emphasizing the program's profound impact, Tongayi highlights the importance of community and relationships. "This is one of the most important things I learned from Tech Stars. Their community is on another level," he reflects.

Tongayi's journey encapsulates the transformative power of leveraging networks, adapting to market needs, and embracing diverse technologies. AfriBlocks continues its trajectory with a steadfast commitment to enhancing user experiences, while strategically navigating the dynamic landscape of technology integration and fostering impactful relationships within the startup ecosystem.

Listen to the full interview and hear more insights from Tongayi. 

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