Ashish J Thakkar, the Ugandan multi-millionaire and serial entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Mara Group and the Mara Foundation, launched Mara Online, an integrated communication platform. In fact it is a family of online and mobile platforms that enables users to communicate, interact and collaborate with each other. Thakkar was attending TiEcon, one of the world’s largest entrepreneur conferences being held in California. He was a keynote speaker at the conference and used the occasion to launch Mara Online officially. The launch was highlighted by a chartered jet flying over Silicon Valley with a Mara banner with the inscription’ It is Time for Africa’.
Success of Mara Mentor Necessitated Development of Communication Tools
The process, in a way, had started last year with the launch of Mara Mentor, a social network that provides a platform to budding entrepreneurs to connect with established entrepreneurs. The Mara Foundation initiative soon grew to have over 100,000 users. With rapidly growing number of users it became necessary to create communication tools that would allow the mentors and their protégés to communicate more effectively. That’s how Mara Online was developed as a convergence of web and mobile technology. It has educational tools for entrepreneurs and interactive mobile applications that can connect people across the globe. Thakkar is very confident about his new initiative and announced at TieCon that Mara Connect is sure to become the premier choice for connecting people in Africa and beyond.
Mara Connect, Mara Messenger and BuzzMe are the Three Applications
Mara Online basically has three applications and they are all focused on communication. Mara Connect is a free mobile VoIP to be used with tablets and smartphones by users across Africa to text and call for free both domestically and internationally. It is available in app stores and on Google Play. Mara Messenger is an instant messaging platform offering quick transmission of text messages. BuzzMe is an African social media network which will eventually be linked with the other applications to enable members to chat online. Thakkar has plans to make Mara Connect profitable eventually. In any case the motive is not profit alone but to provide a platform to the African youth to communicate more freely on a global scale.