The Papua New Guinean startup helping PNG Power reach new customers

Welcome,

A Papua New Guinean entrepreneur developed an app to sell power on the streets and partnered with the state-owned energy company PNG Power. His product is helping the community have better access to electricity.

Jive Market app. Credit: MyLandMyCountry

Jaive Smare, a journalist turned digital entrepreneur, developed Jive Market, an app for mobile phones that allows users to buy and sell power.

Smare had the idea when he saw a grandmother trying to buy power, only to find that the venue selling it was closed.

‘I had a data model. I already had a framework. So, I just put my heart into fixing that problem,’ he says.

‘In the process, I developed the retail model that you see on the streets. I had an idea and I am really lucky that it worked.’

PNG Power partnered with Jive Market in September 2018 because it offers a localised, geographical network that would be uneconomic for the state-owned enterprise to develop itself.

Jive uses community-based agents, almost all of whom are Papua New Guineans, and pays them a commission.

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The agents (or resellers) access the Jive Market platform using their mobile phones and sell PNG Power’s Easipay units to customers. Easipay is user-pays system for purchasing power (kWh). The minimum purchase is K15.

Better access

According to PNG Power, Jive Market had 88 agents and did over 300 transactions a day in 2018. Today, the company has over 1,400 registered agents on its website.

The agents work at street market stalls, street canteens, villages and business houses; City Pharmacy, Stop n Shop and Hardware House are also part of their network.

‘I had an idea and I am really lucky that it worked.’

PNG Power describes Smare’s system as ‘a highly sophisticated online application to vend Easipay and reach out to the community through the web-based application.’

The company says the app has improved customer access, awareness and purchasing options.

Growth

Jive Market’s Jaive Smare

Developing an app or dashboard for selling Easipay that customers could understand was not a problem, says Smare.

‘People were already buying credits on Easipay. They had already seen that process happen.’

Smare claims Jive Market has grown quickly. ‘I got the model right and redundancy [additional capacity to deal with problems] issues right—I got lucky on those.

‘We have done a tremendous amount of transactions on the system. We have built applications, we have built a way to consume—anything else that is digitised we can put it on a platform.’

But, the Jive Market developer says, there were security problems that needed to be addressed.

‘For many of the agents, it became a security issue because they ended up doing a large volume of transactions.

‘They had a lot of cash in their hands and many became targets for criminals.’

He says that the next step is looking for capital to manage Jive Market’s growth.

With the right backing, he believes, he could make the service available across PNG.

Jive Market’s Jaive Smare will be presenting at the Innovation PNG 2019 Conference, to be held on 8 November at the Stanley Hotel, Port Moresby. For more information, visit www.innovationpng.com.

What startups can learn from Jive Market

  • Combining local know-how and technological innovation can reap significant business rewards.

  • Big businesses can develop new channels to market by partnering with local entrepreneurs.

  • Technology companies can grow quickly with only a few people.

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