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In our 5 minutes with profiles, MEF members talk about their business, their aspirations for the future and the wider mobile industry. This week, President and CFO Kim Buller introduces Alchemy Telco.

What does Alchemy Telco do?

Alchemy Telco is a self stacking CPaaS – “communication platform as a service”. We create platforms and products that enable real time communication, connecting People, Organisations, Software and eventually linking Global Communities. We aim to Bridge the Economic and Digital Divide, starting from our small corner of West Africa, here in The Gambia.

When did you launch and what growth have you seen?

Surprisingly enough, we set up as Groundnut traders! It wasn’t until 2017 that Malick Dibba (our CEO) headed our pivot into technology when he launched our inaugural SMS platform. Our full stack capabilities snowballed from there as we grew to realise that CPaaS is an unsung hero and vital cog in the digital ecosystem. 

We are steadily converting organisations ranging from SMEs to International Banks and Government Ministries – helping them realise the tremendous power of the humble SMS, and data management, powered, of course by our bespoke APIs and A2P tech.

Creating solutions in house for the on the ground problems our clients encountered – low internet penetration, illiteracy and the unbanked capitalist, has given us the freedom and capability to explore our burning desire to help the disempowered tap into the fast paced digital economy. Needless to say we were delighted to find that data stemming from our intelligent platforms meant that we have been a game changer for organisations and lend a hand to national development across sectors.

We are steadily converting organisations ranging from SMEs to International Banks and Government Ministries – helping them realise the tremendous power of the humble SMS, and data management, powered, of course by our bespoke APIs and A2P tech. Growth in our IVR development has been extremely promising too. 

Growth has been slow, but promising, hindered by stakeholders and lawmakers’ usual resistance to change but also infrastructural factors such as cost and low internet penetration. Apps have been the latest trend but we are proud to have found ways to help them work for those who traditionally have no or little access to expensive and intermittent connectivity. 

We follow the slow but sure approach of reliability and disruptive innovations that bridge the digital divide, allowing for these new tech tools to work even where there is no internet (or power).  

What are your main goals?

Alchemy’s main goals are to become a cross sector household name, from weather alerts for fisherman, SMS for education, SMS/IVR for Agriculture, as well as to provide tools for multiplatform economies, A2P transactional SMS for financial institutions, softphone VoiP contact centers for enterprises not just in the Gambia but across the continent and beyond. Oh, and along the way to make money so we can continue our continental expansion!

Where do you see your business in three years’ time?

In three years I expect to continue to on-board MNOs, helping them realise that CPaaS is a facilitator, not competition and to have exponentially larger volumes based on direct connections with MNO’s and a reputation of honesty, reliability and knowledge.

What aspect of mobile is most exciting to you right now?

I used to think that galloping my horse was the most thrilling of experiences but I am now totally converted to the endless possibilities of mobile. CPaaS enables API’s connectivity to join MNO’s, aggregators, and users with SMS and Voip – using them to counter infrastructural challenges and illiteracy. So we’re committed to working with all stakeholders to realise its full capacity through volume rather than high costs. With that in mind it’s mind blowing where the future of mobile will take the world and how helpful it will be to prevent those already alienated by lack of opportunity to get a foot in the door of the digital economy.

What’s the most critical issue that will hit mobile within the next 12 months?

Working on the ground in Africa I understand that the most critical issue will be for the industry to self-regulate and protect SMS from misuse, which is yet another reason I’m so thrilled to be an MEF Member:  You guys are leading the way for setting noble industry standards, whilst building a community of like minded people. Invaluable for Outliers like ourselves.

Apart from your own, which mobile companies are the ones to watch in the year ahead?

We have been watching lots of really promising tech firms and hope to create valuable partnerships, but I believe that agility, and the ability to scale up with minimal overheads are consistencies in the ones we’re most excited by.

Kim Buller

President and CFO

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