Stokfella – helping ordinary people become financially free
Tshepo, is a serial entrepreneur who wants to build an organisation that will have a positive impact on his community. Stokfella is just that type of company. When he first joined a Stokvel, he was frustrated by the pains of managing it like a full time job and so the idea of Stokfella was born. He didn’t just start it overnight though, he tested out his theory with several Stokvels, making necessary changes as needed and continues to do so, ensuring that his clients are given true value for their money. After all, Stokfella wants to facilitate financial freedom, and value for money is key to that goal.
Tshepo Moloi was born and bred in SOWETO, Johannesburg. He completed a Masters in Engineering at the University of Johannesburg and then went into Mining, before beginning his banking career, which he loves.
Stokfella started out as a passion project and quickly evolved into a side hustle as the demand for an administrative tool for Stokvels rapidly grew.
He is also completing a Masters in Finance as well, so quite a busy guy.
Working in a bank gave him insight into the gaps within Finance, but that was only one of the reasons for him starting Stokfella. It was only when he wanted to join one that he saw the real gaps that inspired Stokfella.
Tshepo explains how Stokvels are a culture that have been around South Africa since the early 19th century.
Stokfella is an application that digitises the administration around running and managing a Stokvel.
Stokfella’s success has been with key collaborations.
Tshepo’s business model is based on monthly subscription paid by each Stokvel, but they are looking to evolve Stokfella to beyond just administration come 2017, including making payments through the app.
In order to manage their expansion, they have blocked the regions where their app can be used, until they are ready to expand in a consistent and controlled manner.
When you start a business know the relevant legislature that impacts it.
What keeps Tshepo up at night is the pressure of disappointing the people who have become to rely on his application.
The beauty of working with technology, is that as users find new “bugs” that you would not have though of and you can address it relatively quickly, if you have the right team.
Tshepo manages to work his main job, side hustle and personal life because of the team he surrounds himself with.
Also, taking advantage of technology to conduct meetings virtually helps.
When looking for investment and developing your pitch, remember who your audience is, and craft a story that tells them what the need / problem is that you are solving, how and why. Using a story that speaks to all the various persons within your audience will improve your chances.
As you develop your idea, work with a 1 page Business Model canvas, and use that to build your business plan at a later stage, noting that this plan can and will evolve over time, so don’t forget to revisit it periodically.
They took time to launch, 2 to 3 years, as they improved their solution by testing it out with Stokvel focus groups.
So Tshepo is also a serial entrepreneur, who was looking for the right business that would have the impact he desired to make and Stokfella is it.
“One thing about Entrepreneurs is it is not impossible to start something while you are working, but it does take a lot of commitment and strategic focus and a good team.”
“I’m a believer of collaboration, particularly around Small Enterprises.”
“The last thing you want as a small company is to grow beyond your strengths.”
“I believe its the vision that drives people.”
“Of allowing ever single ordinary person the ability to pursue their financial freedom through their Stokvel, that is our vision.”
“The more you get validation, the more you believe that this solution must the right one that is out there.”
“You need to know your business, you need to know your numbers as well.”
“A business plan is a living thing, it evolves over time.”
“You don’t need a business plan to start a business, but it is something you will need once you are in a business.”
“I’m a fan of behavioural economics.”
“As a technological startup, you should never stop testing.”
“Ask you clients, they know more than you think you know. Let them tell you, they want to tell you.”
“One thing I must be appreciative of is the support of family, because that’s where the source of your strength comes from.”
The Hack Jozi challenge that Stokfella entered and were one of the top 20 finalists.
AlphaCode pitching event that Stokfella was a one of the 5 winners of R1 million enterprise development funding.
Pluritone’s website, they are the technology partner of Stokfella. And Pluritone’s new app, Maxicash.