African app startups should “build for future not the past”

CC image (Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0) courtesy of Wolf Gang on FlickrDerrick Kotze, chief executive officer (CEO) of mLab Southern Africa,  is of the view that African startups developing mobile apps should look to the future rather than the past by focusing on smartphones given the amount of investment required to build apps and penetrate markets.

Asked by Disrupt Africa whether African app startups should focus on smartphones or the more basic feature phones that remain prevalent on the continent, Kotze said it depended heavily on the services a startup trying to deliver in their target market. But he said generally it would make more sense to look to the future than the past, and develop for smartphones.

“My humble opinion is that considering the investment required to build, penetrate or disrupt a market, you are better off building for the device or platform and market size that is waiting for you six months to a year down the line. With the rapid speed at which smartphone access is growing in Africa it is hard to argue for an investment into legacy technology and platforms,” he said.

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