Dead phone battery inspires power bank rental start-up

Kegan Peffer, a successful entrepreneur, is focused on solving social problems. That’s because he is the inspiration behind Adoozy, the first contactless power bank rental network in Africa, which enables consumers to rent power while on-the-go.

The concept of rental is not new in Asia or Europe. However, modifications to the applications and the application have been made for Africa and their specific needs.

How it works

Users can download Adoozy app register by providing their sign-up details. The customer can then register by submitting their card details and fingerprint scan. Their fingerprints can be linked to their bank cards by simply waving their hand.

This contactless biometric scanning, made possible by IDEMIA’s MorphoWave Compact Technology, is another first – other companies have yet to harness the power of biometrics to access a product.

This points to Peffer’s strength as an innovator – or, as he puts it, “a disruptor”. Peffer was moved to this solution by the fear he felt when he saw his phone’s battery die.

“I realised that I cannot be the only person who has a real fear of being unable to access my phone,” he says – an astute observation, given how much our reliance on phones has increased during the pandemic.

Nowadays, a flat battery represents far more than the inconvenience of being without TikTok or Instagram – both considered musts in today’s socially networked culture.  Remote work and study can be disrupted by a dead battery. A dead phone is more than a nuisance. And, given energy regulator Eskom’s continuing tribulations, this is an increasing reality.

Adoozy is an ingenious innovator

Peffer saw the specific problems of each country and continent as well global trends in phone usage.

His resume includes stints as a software development engineer at Microvison and Bidvest Bank Terminals. At the time, he says, even while working his nine-to-five, he had a deep-seated desire to do more – “and to do it for myself”.

In this way, the 38-year-old shows all the hallmarks of being a born entrepreneur: “I was always the kind of person who did a lot of things at once; always looking for innovation, for the next thing.”

That he did all this while building the backend of what is now Adoozy is testimony to his grit – but, then again, Peffer’s fascination with technology is such that it marks every interaction.

“Technology is one of my big loves; the other is people. This means I’m always working, even when I’m not – I like to be where people are, in restaurants and malls, at the heart of things. I like to be completely immersed in what’s happening, so it’s not unusual for me to walk up to someone and ask if they know the product, and if they do, where they’ve seen it.”

Peffer is a big believer in market research of this type – one of the reasons Adoozy can meet user needs so precisely is because he and his team invested many hours in testing and asking people which elements worked, and which didn’t.

Pandemic pause for Covid-19

A lot of the research was done during the pandemic. Keegan explains that although his team had been working on the concept for years, it’s only during the past two years that it had been marketed aggressively.

“When we believed the product was ready, the first thing we needed to consider was locations – after all, that’s a core component of ensuring the success of this undertaking. The pandemic made this more difficult because people weren’t going out during lockdown.”

So, yes, Covid slowed the company’s growth plans – but, on the other hand, it provided the space to test the product even more intensively and make sure it was the best it could be before its official launch to market.

Peffer admits that while it was hard to get rid of the kinks in a start-up, it is essential to gain insight into the market and the potential for success.

“Because our devices have become an extension of ourselves, our business isn’t just about technology – it has a strong human and psychological element. You have to really get into the minds of their users, understand their mobile phone habits, their fears, and anxieties around our solution.”

Peffer, a self-described geek loves this type of legwork. “I love technology and its power to transform how we live,” he enthuses.

A solution from Africa to an African problem

Peffer’s conviction stems from the power issues affecting the entire continent. It’s not only South Africans who bemoan constant power cuts. Zimbabwe is known for going without electricity for days at times.

This is why innovative and new solutions are needed from companies that can understand both the context of Africa and the obstacles.

Although the continent can be considered somewhat behind our global counterparts, we’ve seen great strides in the last five years with banking, cashless transacting, and other innovative solutions.

Peffer thinks that power, from a mobile tech perspective is the next frontier on the African continent. This is because of our ability to build and the uptake in investment.

“This is such an exciting industry to be part of – mobile technology in South Africa – and Africa as a whole – is just getting started!” Peffer says.

In terms of what’s next, Peffer says it’s all about expansion and diversification. We are working hard to create a real rental network across Africa at large, and we want to use this as a base to solve even more issues for our consumers,” he concludes.

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