“What attracted me to AmoebaX was the vision it had, even as we embarked on research on the different sectors in Kenya. The aim was to create sustainable solutions to the problems encountered by the key players of the various existing industries. “
Ngina is one of the pioneer members of AmoebaX. She joined the company during it’s research phase.
Hello, I’m Ngina Kabicho, the General Manager. I look into Finance, Administration and Human Resource Management. Having graduated from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, I started off in product research at AmoebaX Limited, where we looked into various products in several industries before narrowing down to one. Prior to that I worked as an Assistant Project Manager at an ISP in Nairobi that provided security solutions to companies, internet services, data centre, recovery and backup services as well as web and mobile application development for companies.
Here’s a brief history of our company and our journey so far.
The question I get asked the most is, “why the name AmoebaX?”
Well, the name is symbolic of what we aim to do. We are a venture builder and the goal is to come up with as many ventures as possible all with the goal of creating sustainable solutions to the problems in the industries we venture into. Remember Amoeba the organism from your high school biology? Well, it was self reproducing (offspring arise from single parent in rapid multiplication), we plan on self-reproducing and creating ventures just as fast. The X represents infinity. (yes, we plan to be around that long)
So what is the difference between AmoebaX and YasaFi?
YasaFi is the first venture of AmoebaX. ‘Yasai’is a Japanese word meaning vegetables. The ’ F’ was incorporated to bring in the Swahili aspect of ‘Safi’ and so YasaFi is a termed framed by AmoebaX to mean Fresh Vegetables.
Before we came up with YasaFi as our first venture, we embarked on research in various industries in the country.
After deliberations we settled on agricultural sector as it touches everybody (seeing that not all players will grow food, but definitely all players need food to survive). Agricultural sector seemed very viable as progress in this sector would mean a very big impact in the whole of society.
The research phase was basically a series of eye opening events which enabled us to build what we have now. We finally settled on onion as the product we would like to start with and this is why;
- • Onions have a longer shelf life than most vegetables (can last up to 6 months if storage conditions are good)
- • High consumption rate. They have the highest turnover rate (aside from tomatoes), and do they miss in any meal?
- • Onions are easy to handle as they are not as delicate as other vegetables (e.g tomatoes)
The most exciting thing about my journey with AmoebaX has been the growth, the learning and the abrupt changes in the industry that we have to adapt to. These keep us on our toes, and as you can imagine, as a result, there’s never a dull moment in the company.
Shocking discoveries that we have made along the way are;
- • 50% of onions consumed in our country come from our neighbor, Tanzania (FAO, 2014). Apart from this, there are also onions coming in from Ethiopia and India. Putting our farmers at a very big disadvantage.
- • Onions may vary in shape, size and even color, but they all have 7 layers.
- • Onions lose weight as days go by due to loss of moisture, hence the longer you store them the less they weigh.
- • Onions do well in dry areas but they require a lot of water during their early days, especially the nursery stage.
- • Just like any other fruit or vegetable, onions are seasonal with prices sky rocketing during seasons of scarcity.
Anyway, I digress. In the beginning, we only had one distributor per day, supplying to one market. Currently we have eight to ten distributions daily, supplying in about 30 different routes. This, in a span of under 2 years, quite a journey it has been to get here though. Within this time, we also expanded our scope in terms of geographical locations, we now supply to markets both in Nairobi and Kiambu counties (Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret here we come).
Apart from vendors, we now supply vegetable shops as well as supermarkets. We plan on venturing into other vegetables soon so stay tuned!!
We have since moved from a co-working space to our own office and warehouse as well.
Our proudest moment has been expanding from 2 employees to 40 (Somebody say job creation!! )
Our goal is also to create entrepreneurs out of our employees and constantly provide opportunities to aid in growth and learning in regards to this. The goal here is to have a positive impact in society as this would not only create jobs, it would create more opportunities (e.g Education), reduce poverty and consequently crime rate, drug abuse etc.