- Robert Manyala developed a passion for technology from an early age.
- This passion for technology spread to college where he chose to study Computer Science at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT).
- He went on to create simpler biometric systems targeting schools, businesses, and owners to help them conduct their business in a more responsible manner.
Robert Manyala developed a passion for technology from an early age, knowing the impact it can have on shaping the world.
This gave him an early advantage in life, knowing the direction of his career to follow while his teammates were still lost in the maze of searching for what to pursue.
Mr. Manyala began developing simple software systems, such as websites, and commercialized them while he was in high school.
This passion for technology spread to college where he chose to study Computer Science at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT). It is here that he learned to create advanced technology systems such as biometric and point of sale tools to provide accounting solutions.
Manyala received good feedback from customers who were happy with the way they could easily account for stock and sales through the solutions, and this inspired him to legitimize the business.
“With the urgency to implement these innovations, I had to form a company and bring in other people because I couldn’t manage the systems alone,” Manyala said in an interview with Digital business.
So in 2015, he withdrew his savings of Sh500,000 and used it to secure an office space at Nairobi’s Ngara Estate and equip it, recruited a small workforce, and registered Robisearch as a limited company. His first major invention under the company was a biometric land registration system, which he hoped would reduce land management fraud.
Among others, this system would avoid the duplication of property titles because, therefore, carrying out a land transaction would require a biometric registration.
“I developed the product, then took a huge leap of faith and reached out to some government officials to whom I presented the idea. They were impressed and passed the proposal on to the then Minister of Lands, Charity Ngilu, who agreed to finance me to develop a prototype, ”said Mr. Manyala.
However, the biometric land registration system was resisted by various groups who were profiting from unscrupulous land transactions. Rather than hurting her feelings, this made Manyala bolder.
He went on to create simpler biometric systems targeting schools, businesses, and owners to help them conduct their business in a more responsible manner.
One was the point-of-sale system that would allow investors to track the performance of their businesses remotely and know if staff were accountable.
“Many companies don’t know how much they are earning and they don’t know what decisions to make because they don’t have data. Someone who runs multiple businesses, for example, might have a hard time tracking their earnings and business performance. They could end up losing stocks or money, but they have no one to account for this, or even if they know that this person is not being honest, they cannot prove it, ”said Mr. Manyala.
His company has also developed a school management system to monitor students through a registration system. Every time a child drops out of school, be it because of school fees or because they go home, parents can know how much time they have left. school and when to expect them.
They have also developed a property management system to help homeowners and landlords manage properties from one central place. Someone who owns multiple residential houses can know vacancies and payment status instead of relying on agencies and caregivers. Tenants can also use the portal to speak. Agencies that work with multiple owners can also take advantage of the tool to simplify their work.
Manyala says the biggest challenge facing the company, which currently has an annual turnover of over 5 million shillings, is “competition from cheap but substandard products”.
“You can try to sell someone a product at Sh10, but a customer will tell you that you can get the same product at Sh2, so as long as the name is the same, you don’t see why there should be a difference in value,” he said. Mr. Manyala.
The other challenge is how fast technology changes, where an innovation that seems popular today becomes obsolete tomorrow. But with a workforce of 12, the team relies on the competition to hone their skills and produce better products.