CompuLynx was founded in 1994, at a time when there was a big gap and great need for a locally available software solutions company in Kenya. Businesses, at that time, had to source outside the country, meaning the new enterprise came as a sigh of relief.

“Why should Kenya go across the border to look for technologies we could locally develop and provide? That is the question we asked ourselves. We were ready to fill this gap. Even better, was that we were intending to not just provide these solutions, but ensure each service was customised to suit the unique needs of each business,” said Sailesh Savani, CompuLynx CEO.

With only two people running the company at the time, CompuLynx was able to get traction immediately after take-off, with local retailers quickly warming up to the company.

“We were keen on becoming long-term innovation partners to our customers, and so we invested in building client trust, and maintaining brand credibility to ensure firm rooting in the market. I believe that if you take care of your people, your people will take care of you,” said Mr Savani.

By 1996, CompuLynx had gained 35 per cent market share in Kenya, and expanded its staff from just the founders, Mehul Savani and Sailesh Savani, to five more people running its operations.

CompuLynx now operates around two distinct areas of business. One is providing end-to-end solutions for big and small retailers, from highend stores like Nakumatt to smaller outlets like Solar Kiosk. It also offers software solutions for identity management, fraud and loss prevention using biometric technology.

This includes face recognition technologies for banks, NGOs, government and educational
institutions. The company has also now gone global, serving over 400 customers in more than 30 countries across the world, with key partners in East Africa including Equity Bank, World Food Programme, CRDB Bank Tanzania, Orient Bank Uganda, and University of Dar-es-Salaam.

“We also partner with local technology providers where we see synergy in providing our mutual
customers with solutions that are complementary to each other and that eventually end up delivering business to our customers,” said Savani.

Savani cites the biggest challenge for SMEs in Kenya as the tough competition against big firms, in a situation where the government as well as many potential customers hold more trust for the big players in the field.

“We need to encourage SMEs by consuming the services and products they are offering. It is important, especially for the government, to partner more with small enterprises. Otherwise, growth of these small businesses takes place at a very slow pace,” said Mr Savani.

CompuLynx now has a total of 160 employees across East Africa, with 60 per cent of its total workforce in Kenya aged between 26 to 35. With a group turnover of close to $10 million (Sh1 billion), and 76 per cent annual growth rate, the company has established itself as a strong force in the market, currently holding 70 per cent market share in East Africa.

-AFRICAN LAUGHTER