The demography in East Africa dictates that tens of millions of people will be entering the job market in the coming years

There is not only a challenge of creating jobs, but also guiding individuals on a path of what they want to do.

People typically lack the career counselling framework from, say, their families, especially for roles such as “digital marketing manager”.

Jussi is building Fuzu – a platform to guide people through their careers.

We discuss growing a company with a base in both Finland and Kenya,
how Fuzu categorises their type of job seeker
and the challenges of bringing a disruptive business model to a traditional market.

Jussi also has probably the best rationale I’ve heard around the role of “for profit” and “not-for-profit” organisations in
solving large scale social problems in developing markets, something I’ve always struggled to grapple with myself.
It comes in at around 12 minutes.

For now though, I hope you enjoy the episode.
Here are some of the key quotes:

“Youth unemployment is a massive challenge”

From my 13 years at Nokia in emerging markets this became very clear.

“The old tools don’t work”

We need to make something more exciting and more practical for the millions of people in Africa pouring into the job market.

“Finding your way”

Fuzu is for people to understand where they want to go with their careers. People don’t typically have career guidance.

“Fuzu is a fully online experience”

1) Platform for dreaming 2) Platform for growth 3) Platform to be found

“Career employability platform”

Is how we (try to) summarise what we do in a sentence

“Community is growing”

We have around 200,000 users and are growing at about 10% a week

“We’re agnostic”

Fuzu uses machine learning to segment the user base and then speak to them in a relevant manner. We have 7 segments.

“Fully automated experience”

By automatically directing people through their career using data and machines, we can do it at scale.

“None of the segments are large enough”

And so we decided to go after all seven from the start. We can then create a platform with which to flow content through.

“To tackle a significant social challenge – be a business…”

The challenge with non-profit approach is that there’s not a fundamental innovation loop which results in a mediocre platform. We could have got millions and millions in funding had we been “not-for-profit”.

“… however NGOs have benefits too”

Especially when it comes to playing to their strengths, especially with regard having deep networks and an understanding of the social problems.

“120 million people”

Will be entering the market in Africa between 2010-2020. By 2035 it will be the largest jobs market in the world and so something needs to be done.

“We’re two-sided”

Job seekers have a freemium model, and then for the employers have a fully paid service.

“To disrupt, you are competing with conventions”

Fuzu are going up against the classifieds businesses and traditional recruiters. It takes employers some time to warm up to the idea.

“We can find you the needle in the haystack”

Much faster. We can match it with the best talent once you launch a campaign, as well as doing active “head hunting”.

“We combine the strengths of Kenya and Finland”

The R&D team sit in Finland as they have a lot of experience. On the ground in Kenya we do content and marketing. We’ll look to move the R&D team to Kenya as people get more familiar with software like Ruby on Rails.

“Pretty easy on the jobseeker side”

People understand job platforms – our barrier to growth is that people need to invest time in writing their story, like with LinkedIn.

“Similar to LinkedIn”

The white-collar workforce are on LinkedIn in Kenya, but the platform has been slow on the education side of things.

“Inertia in the B2B market”

How to build trust and sell innovation to the businesses took longer than expected, getting back-end tools in place might have been a good idea.

“Plan your market entry”

Fuzu won the award for best entry with a tiny budget, in part through partnering with 16 tier one employers.

“I wouldn’t be happy with < 25 million users”

A platform like this works at scale and so in 5 years time I would hope we would be pan-African with many active users.

“Fuzu means…”

Self-made success in Swahili. I know right, a four letter word for quite a specific concept..!


Social Media Follows etc.

Website:  Fuzu
Facebook:  Fuzu 
Twitter: Fuzu