Updated Sep 10, 2020

Kamil Shafiq

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Mapping the Emerging Economy, One Merchant at a Time

POKET has developed a mobile application, engineered specifically for low-cost Android devices in emerging markets. It uses a brief tutorial to illustrate how users can use their phones to map places/conduct field research. Once users understand how the app works, it allows users to earn money for collecting the location/GIS data described above at scale using a form of consensus-driven crowdso...
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POKET has developed a mobile application, engineered specifically for low-cost Android devices in emerging markets. It uses a brief tutorial to illustrate how users can use their phones to map places/conduct field research. Once users understand how the app works, it allows users to earn money for collecting the location/GIS data described above at scale using a form of consensus-driven crowdsourcing. In a nutshell, we are paying young people to map and verify that a certain merchant/retailer exists in a certain location. They can "submit" a particular merchant by taking its photo,providing its name/contact info and of course its location. Once they do, their submission is reviewed for accuracy. If their submission is deemed accurate, they receive a small payment for their work. By doing this exercise, we are creating a global map of merchants and retailers that were previously unknown/undiscoverable at scale. We can then take this data and use it to help inform public infrastructure decisions, city-planning, and also help enterprises make more intelligent decisions in their businesses, our key revenue model. Most importantly, this new business model allows young people to learn new digital skills and get paid for implementing them. In our pilot, users who mapped earned almost 2.3x the average daily wage of Nigeria.
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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

POKET completed a successful pilot in Lagos during Q3 2019. Here, we were able to map ~1000 pharmacies/chemist shops using our crowdsourcing platform. We are now looking to scale the platform across all of Lagos state, with a focus on COVID response.

Focus Areas:

Digital Development, GIS/Mapping and Crowdsourcing and Open Source

Digital Development, GIS/Mapping and Crowdsourcing and Open SourceSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Nigeria

NigeriaSEE LESS

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Country Implemented In
4
Employees
Verified Funding
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Problem

There are estimated to be more than 1 billion undocumented merchants on earth - 90%+ of them lie in emerging economies (CityLab, 2016). Unfortunately, we know very little about these merchants, since they're offline, cash-based, undocumented, and most importantly, unmapped. This means that cities don't have the data they need to help inform where to build the next bus stop, hospital, bank, mobile money agent, school. etc. It also means all of these informal merchants remain invisible.

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Solution

Our solution is an Android application that pays users to map their communities. In doing so, POKET is creating a crowd-sourced, registry of new unmapped merchants in the emerging world. If scaled globally, POKET will be able to create new forms of work for the marginalized and unemployed in the bottom of the pyramid, generate free advertising for SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs by mapping them, and create much-needed data to inform city-planning, public infrastructure and enterprise decisions.

Target Beneficiaries

1) Youth Seeking Work/Income: 30% of African Youth are unemployed (ILO, 2019). 2) Citizens Searching for Businesses: Many citizens in emerging countries have no means of finding where key services like pharmacies are. POKET will enable new forms of local search for the informal sector. 3) Micro-Entrepreneurs: By being unmapped and undocumented, these business owners don't have the tools or papers needed to qualify for micro-financing, advertise their business or showcase their offerings.

Mission and Vision

POKET's mission is to bring digital inclusion to the emerging world by generating the largest registry/map of informal merchants across the emerging world. Currently, we are focused on our response to the COVID-19 crisis, where we are focused on mapping the 70% of hospitals, chemists and pharmacies that remain offline, unmapped and invisble. We will be leveraging this data to better understand shortages of PPE and increasing access to marginalized communities.

Competitive Advantage

Consensus Mechanism: We have created a gamified, incentivization algorithm that encourages the ongoing proposal/verification of points of interest (POIs). This minimizes the reliance on people acting altruistically, and isolates bad actors to ensure accurate collection. Use of Crowdsourcing: Most existing data aggregation occurs through paying enumerators exorbitant amount of money to collect data every few years, through centralized means. Instead, we are incentivizing everyday users to crowdsource this data. By curating this data on a public platform and making the places mapped attached to the people who mapped them, we are creating a new type of community-driven platform that we have not seen in the market before. Proprietary Dataset: We are creating new forms of data and intelligence around previously undiscovered, offline places. In our pilot, 57% of the data we generated did not exist on any public platform.

Planned Goals and Milestones

In our pilot, we mapped chemists and pharmacist in 2 Local Government Authorities (LGAs) within Lagos, Nigeria using our platform. Now, we are expanding this across the entire state. With the COVID-19 pandemic at large, our goal is to map out every hospital, chemist and pharmacy in Lagos. We anticipate that this will be 10,000-15,000 points of interest, 70% of which have never been mapped before.
Funding Goal250,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted20,000,000
New Implemented CountriesGhana, Kenya, Uganda, Pakistan
Recruit3 Operations Associates
New FeatureCreate COVID-specific version of platform tailored to generating data and insight for PPE.

The Team Behind the Innovation

Kamil (CEO): https://www.linkedin.com/in/kamilshafiq/ Naba (CTO) : https://www.linkedin.com/in/nabasiddiqui/ James: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abasifreke-james/ Kamil was selected as 1/7 Global Innovators Under 30 by the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) and MIT SOLVE in 2019. Naba (Women in STEM Leader) and James were both recipients of the Top 30 Under 30 Developer Award for Canada in 2018. The character limit for this section is too short to elaborate more :(

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Apr 2020
Recognition ReceivedVERIFIED
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Nigeria