InfiniteUp’s Journey of Experimentation: From Trust to Doer
In the dynamic and complex landscape of the African market, InfiniteUp, partnered with SOSv Orbit Startups, embarked on an adventurous path guided by the philosophy of “throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks.” A quote aptly attributed to Orbit’s managing partner William Bao Bean, this approach signals InfiniteUp’s commitment to experimentation, innovation, and rapid prototyping. It’s about building fast and cheap, releasing quickly, understanding, learning, and refining.
Section 1: The Trust Series
The Trust series was a fascinating experiment in digitizing various aspects of personal and business finance within the African context. Here’s a look at each version:
– Trust V1: A QuickBooks for Africa, this version aimed to allow people to keep track of their financial lives. However, it proved to be more of a vitamin than a painkiller. People were intrigued but didn’t actually want to engage with it. The desire was there, but the necessity was not.
– Trust V2: Targeting small shops that used pen and paper, Trust V2 sought to digitize records. However, the endeavor was hindered by unreliable internet connections and an unexpected preference for paper records. This preference often stemmed from legitimate concerns about unfair tax codes, corruption, and the desire to keep financial matters discreet.
– Trust V3: A peer-to-peer lending platform based on guarantors and co-signers, Trust V3 was an elegant piece of technology. But the challenge lay in ensuring people couldn’t cheat the system—a challenge that ultimately proved insurmountable.
– Trust V4: Functioning like a Splitwise for Africa, Trust V4 helped people keep track of various loans and debts. The system even handled the socially awkward task of asking for money back. Unfortunately, it turned out that people didn’t want debt at the forefront of their minds; they wanted to distance themselves from it.
Section 2: Innovative Ideas
Beyond the Trust series, InfiniteUp explored a variety of other intriguing ideas, each with its own set of unique challenges:
– BeHeard: An online community akin to Reddit, BeHeard aimed to facilitate discussions around corruption. However, the the fear of discussing corruption combined with a lack of monetization strategy led to its downfall.
– JustTalk: A cultural exchange platform connecting elderly Westerners with Africans, JustTalk faced perceptions of demeaning conversation for payment and trust issues stemming from fears of being taken advantage of.
– Mindfull: A quantified self-tracker for fostering habits like reading or reducing alcohol consumption, Mindfull struggled with user engagement and lacked a clear business model.
– AOX: Envisioned as a Craigslist for Africa, AOX faced stiff competition from Facebook’s marketplace and the inherent challenges of a two-sided business model.
Section 3: More Attempts at Innovation
– Hydra: This platform enabled the collectivization of social media presence, allowing small voices to fight back against powerful figures. Although initially successful with a large number of users, Hydra’s uncontrollable usage and potential harm led to its shutdown.
– InfiniteUp Affiliates: By using other companies affiliate programs, InfiniteUp hoped to empower digital micro workers. However, the lack of genuine knowledge and bot-like behavior in marketing the products hindered its success.
– Fintech Wallet: This Wise-style wallet for Africa is a promising idea still in development. The lack of money to fund the wallet has been a barrier, but it’s expected to be included in future versions of Doer.
The Emergence of Doer
The journey through these innovative yet challenging projects led InfiniteUp to Doer. People’s overwhelming love for the idea and its compelling value proposition set it apart from the rest. The problem Doer aimed to solve resonated deeply with the population. In Africa, where access to money is often identified as the most significant challenge, the platform’s concept of digitizing the informal economy made perfect sense.
Doer allows anyone to get a job immediately, addressing the widespread need for short-term labor solutions. It’s about transforming the hustle economy into the gig economy, a logical progression that appears to be a winning formula.
InfiniteUp’s approach of rapid experimentation and learning is a story of relentless pursuit of solutions for real-world problems. It’s a story filled with intriguing ideas, bold attempts, and valuable lessons learned. The company’s willingness to innovate, take risks, and even fail has led to the creation of Doer, a platform that resonates with the needs and aspirations of its target audience.
From digitizing finance with the Trust series to tackling social issues with BeHeard and JustTalk, the journey has been filled with highs and lows. Each step, regardless of its outcome, has contributed to a broader understanding of the market and the unique challenges it presents.
InfiniteUp’s journey exemplifies the innovative spirit and determination needed to thrive in a complex and ever-changing market. It’s a testament to the belief that failure is not a dead-end but a stepping stone towards success, a philosophy that has shaped Doer into the promising platform it is today.