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Why we Invested: Rwazi provides on-demand market intelligence to companies while creating jobs for African youth. 

Oct 20, 2023 | Why We Invested

By Mercy Mangeni & Wairimu Gitahi 

More than 70% of people living in Africa buy essential goods such as food, beverages, and personal care items through informal retail establishments like corner shops and kiosks. These transactions mainly involve cash and are, therefore, difficult to track. Moreover, field research can be challenging, involving difficult logistics and varied linguistic contexts. This situation makes it difficult for consumer goods and service companies to extract market trends and insights, thereby impeding competitiveness across emerging markets. 

Rwazi, founded in 2021, is a market intelligence platform that offers companies data from emerging markets. This data includes information on who is buying what, for how much, from where, when, and why. The aim is to help these companies drive revenue and expansion.

The platform relies on a network of local consumers, known as ‘mappers’ who use Rwazi’s mobile and web app to record their own purchases and household consumption data.  Rwazi utilizes that data to produce valuable insights into consumer trends and behavior. While Rwazi is accessible to firms worldwide, Africa is currently the primary focus for gathering market data, followed by Asia and South America. 

“We help these companies find which consumers have the highest demand for their products, where they are located, how often they consume them, and so on. These insights enable them to do various things, like have hyper-local pricing for their consumers and hyper-local messaging and packaging. So rather than sell a product in a package that appeals to the US market, they tailor the packaging to the different emerging markets,” says Joseph Rutakangwa, the Co-founder of Rwazi. 

Joseph founded Rwazi based on personal experience. Having worked as a consultant, he witnessed firsthand the challenges multinational companies face while trying to scale their businesses in Africa due to the scarcity of consumer and market data. He was also personally familiar with the difficulties of doing business in Africa, having operated a graphic design venture for over ten years, during which he encountered the difficulties of securing customers.

Those experiences sparked an idea – to leverage the untapped potential of a vast and growing underutilized workforce in the developing world. That idea laid the foundation for Rwazi,  which he co-founded with Eric Sewankambo. “There is a huge unemployment problem among the youth in Africa, and there is a massive data research gap. So, we build an app to give the unemployed an opportunity to earn a living from collecting market data,” adds Joseph.

The Rwazi platform is accessible through both a web and mobile app. Anyone can download the app and register to become a mapper. After a straightforward and user-friendly onboarding process, mappers’ profiles are matched with specific products, so they can start monitoring their consumption decisions and record their product-related observations directly into the app. Rwazi pays these mappers for this service. The app can be accessed through more than a hundred languages through its AI component, so English-language abilities are not required. The app currently boasts 60,000 mappers. 

Approximately 60% of companies contracting Rwazi for data mapping are in the United States though local companies can also benefit from consumer data to scale their business while creating more jobs on the platform. This is why the Jobtech Alliance has partnered with Rwazi. “We are supporting Rwazi to build a more robust commercial strategy for Africa. This involves auditing their current sales and marketing strategies for the continent and recommending optimization strategies. Through this, the distribution of work on the platform will increase, which will simultaneously lead to increased opportunities for mappers already on board. Through this investment, we want to learn whether distributed data platforms such as Rwazi, that provide part-time income streams to workers, can positively contribute to reliable incomes and meaningful livelihoods. Insights from these learnings will shape a playbook for similar jobtech platforms to inform their African commercial strategies. “ says Mercy Mangeni, Senior Venture Builder at Jobtech Alliance. 

Joseph says the Jobtech Alliance is already assisting them in entering African markets they had yet to consider. “Jobtech Alliance is helping us to access well-known companies in Africa that would otherwise have been difficult to access. They also introduced us to a mapper segment we hadn’t considered before – refugees, who are often marginalized from job opportunities. This development is significant because it will expand our mapper base substantially. It will enable us to help refugees improve their livelihoods, while scaling our business. ” he adds.  


The Jobtech Alliance is an ecosystem-building initiative around inclusive jobtech in Africa launched in late 2021. We’re interested in digital platforms which connect people to work opportunities that build livelihoods – this includes gigmatching platforms, job matching, e-commerce marketplaces, and more. The Jobtech Alliance helps jobtech platforms to grow and create more jobs.


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