A New Startup’s SMS Mobile Survey Uncovers Opportunities for Symvasi’s Mobile Contract Tool

New Startup Symvasi Gathered Market Insights Using Bamba's SMS Mobile Survey Platform

The Challenge

For new startups or small businesses with limited resources, it can be challenging to carry out the market research necessary to guide product/service development, understand the needs and desires of your market, and uncover new opportunities.

This is especially difficult in areas of the world where access to electricity is unreliable or scarce, as people can’t be reached as easily. Since most consumers in Kenya don’t have regular access to computers and the Internet, market research and surveying often involves costly, time-consuming methods of data collection such as door-to-door surveying.

We worked with Symvasi, an early stage startup that is making it easy to create, edit and execute legally valid contracts through mobile devices, to help them with the challenge of better understanding their target market. The insights were needed to ensure that they developed their offerings in alignment with the needs of potential service-users in Kenya.

Read on to learn more about how the Bamba platform was used to collect insights from consumers in Kenya about their views on the use of contracts.

The Innovation

Here’s how it worked:

1. Symvasi identified the criteria for their panel: They wanted to survey 1,000 Kenyan consumers who were also smartphone users.

2. Symvasi then put together a short, 8-question survey to be sent out to respondents via the Bamba platform, and we set up this survey on the platform.

3. Bamba leveraged its extensive contact database in Kenya to build a panel of 1,000 consumers in Kenya that met the criteria set by Symvasi. This was accomplished using Bamba’s Network Algorithm, which is able to sort through the database and find individuals matching the criteria.

4. The 8-question survey was sent out to the panel, indicating that an incentive of a specified amount would immediately be transferred to them via SMS airtime money transfer upon survey completion.

5. Survey responses began to come in immediately and were aggregated by the Bamba platform in real-time. The survey remained open for a period of 1 day, over which 558 people completed the survey.

6. Symvasi received a report including the aggregated data, from which they were able to extract key insights that provided them with the information they were looking for.

Flowchart: Startup Gathers Insights with SMS Mobile Surveys


The Impact

Out of the 1,000 panelists that were surveyed via the incentivized mobile SMS survey, 558 of them completed the survey, resulting in a completion rate of 56%. The goal of the survey was to test some of the assumptions that Symvasi had made about the perceptions that people in Kenya hold towards contracts. The exercise was successful in giving them the insights necessary to evaluate product market fit for the smartphone application they were developing, which would allow users to create semi-formal legally-binding contracts for free.

Below are some of the graphs they were able to produce from the survey response data collected:



Based on these findings, they were able to conclude that:

  • People in Kenya see value in using contracts.
  • Contacts mean different things to different people, and many people see them as very formal agreements.
  • Since Symvasi’s mobile contract application aims to make legally binding contracts simpler, more accessible and easier to use, these findings reveal some of the preconceptions that Symvasi may be facing from its target market – an insight that will inform how they position and market their offerings.
  • The majority of their target market would use contractual agreements more often if they were easy and free to create.

For a more detailed explanation of their findings, visit the Symvasi blog.


In Conclusion…

This short, quick and cost-effective survey is a great example of how small businesses can quickly test the emerging markets during the early stages of product development, and how the insights gathered can help shape the product/service features and positioning in order to meet the needs and desires of the target market.

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