We rolled out Stax for its first MVP beta test twelve months ago, and then in April ’21, I joined the team as its first growth team and publicly launched Stax to the world in May.
On coming out of Beta, we featured on Product Hunt, Beta Page, Benjamin Dada, Tech Moran, and TechCabal. In addition, we wrote our very first product explainer article where we shared light on why we ask for phone permissions when you first join Stax. This article was the first on our blog, and now, we have a total of 15 articles.
Since then, it’s been a wild ride!
The product as we knew it has evolved:
- We have acquired over 170k users.
- The team has grown, and we learned many lessons about building consumer-focused products in Africa.
- Most importantly, our passion for this mission has grown bigger.
In the following few paragraphs, I’d share the most significant feats we have accomplished this year. I would have shared our failures too, but to be honest, we have had a terrific year: a couple of failed experiments here and there and lots of challenges, but each of those gave us the right signals we needed to iterate and win. So yea, here are wins:
We ended May 2021 — the month Stax launched to the public — with around 2.7k Monthly Active Users.
Today, seven months later, we are at almost 40k Monthly Active users. That’s about a 1400% increase in MAUs.
On some days in the last two months, we had well over 2000 daily active users. That’s what our total monthly active users were in May. It is wild.
Still on growth, When we launched, we were mainly present in Nigeria and Kenya with less than 25 services in total. Today, we fully support six countries (Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda) and lots more with partial support. Across Africa, we have over 100 banks and mobile money accounts available for users to use on Stax.
Stax Money Mappers
In June, we launched the Stax money mappers scheme, where we pay our users and fans up to $100 to map USSD codes for us and thus help us add new services to Stax faster and better. It’s been an enormous success so far!
We have over 21k registered money mappers, and more than 4000 of them have actually done a money mapper transaction/activity. In total, we have paid out $12,215 to our community.
Of this $12k, one user has earned $685, another $575, another $390 and so on. It’s been amazing giving back to our users and fans, but even more, it’s been so overwhelming seeing the support and quality of feedback coming from them.
Some of our Favourite Content Features this Year
- An article on Benjamin Dada on how Stax is using USSD-technology to increase financial inclusivity for Africans
- An Article on Nairametrics titled: ‘Looking to the future: Are traditional banking apps a thing of the past?’
- We collaborated with exceptional social media influencers like Salem King, Dimeji, Arinola (BBN) and Alma Asinobi to spread the gospel of Stax. (Click on the influencer’s name to see the content they made with us).
- Amazing videos reviews by Tobi Ayeni (Miss Techy) and Izzi Boye
We successfully ran our Christmas campaign — Santa Stax and gave out lovely prizes, including airtime, $100 cash, gift cards, spa voucher, $50 Bolt discount code and a BRAND NEW ANDROID PHONE: SAMSUNG A12.
This campaign lasted for one week, with one to three winners picked daily to win a prize. Shoutout to Bolt, Money Africa, and influencers — Alma Asinobi, ItsTowima, Lazywrita, Arinola, Thisthingcalledfashion, and Dimeji who partnered/collaborated with us on this.
We are committed to making your life easier when it comes to your transactions across Africa. So we thought, ‘what will be a great way to help USSD lovers & fervent users find USSD codes in their country?’ — and voila! ussd.directory was birthed.
ussd.directory is a comprehensive list of USSD codes for banks and mobile networks across Africa.
Why is this important? There are thousands of USSD codes in Africa, and you cannot remember them all, so let ussd.directory be your memory. There is no need to search google, ask friends, or cram codes across all the banks and MoMo you use.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, Stax is nothing like it was seven months ago; this is because the product has evolved so so much. Here are some of our product wins.
- In-app Support: To make it easier for our users to talk to us and give us feedback, we added five ways for you to reach us right within the app.
- Multi-account support: As more and more people began to use Stax, we learned that many do not just have multiple accounts across different banks and MoMo but also have different accounts within the same bank. For example, two GTB accounts. We iterated for this use case and added support for this. Now, if you have two or more accounts with one bank, you can link both to Stax and transfer between them.
- In-app Finance tips: Every single day on Stax, when you open the app, you’d see specially curated financial advice for you. When you click on it, you can read it in full and scroll to read tips from previous days. We are helping our users gain financial literacy while using Stax with this feature.
- In-app USSD Library: Can’t find a particular service on Stax? That’s why we added the in-app USSD library, where you can manually search and dial USSD codes. The in-app USSD library removes any temporary inconvenience you might face if the service you use is not already automated on Stax. But be rest assured, we are always adding new services. This year alone, we added over 80 bank and mobile money accounts that you can use directly on Stax.
- Experiments: We ran a ton of experiments this year. From multivariate tests for onboarding that increased activation by 60% in 3 months to product feature experiments to retention experiments that increased our monthly retention by 30% between Aug and Nov and lots more.
- We also optimized a bunch of stuff. Like how you link accounts, where your automated USSD flow shows after a transaction, how to see your transactions history and much more. On a daily, we squashed many bugs.
Prototyping USDC & Winning a $15,000 grant from Stellar
We got into a blockchain Bootcamp organized by Stellar in partnership with SDF. We created a USDC wallet prototype during the BootCamp and sent USDC from Kenya to Nigeria without using mobile data. We leveraged Hover’s core technology, USSD automation, to enable “offline” access to USDC. As a result of this, we earned a $15,000 award.
This is the very beginning of our longer-term crypto play. In 2022, we will launch a self-custody USDC wallet for all Stax users, and they will be able to manage their money offline. Using Stax to create a USDC wallet is ~1 billion times easier than using a more traditional wallet app, and thus, this will make it easier for people to onboard onto crypto in Africa. We can’t wait for this to go live.
Research at Stax
This year, we completed 12 different research studies and had the opportunity to interact with users from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Ghana! Since we do not have access to users directly, recruiting ideal research participants has always been challenging, but it has enabled us to be more creative in deciding what types of studies to run and how to conduct them.
2022 — What’s next for Stax
- New brand: We are currently working on a brand refresh and can’t wait to debut our new look across all brand assets — app, web & social.
- Stax USDC: One of our priorities for the new year is to launch a self-custody USDC wallet for all Stax users, where they’d be able to manage their money offline.
- Stax Rewards: Launching Stax Referral program and our incentivized transactions scheme #StaxandEarn.
- Rolling out a different version of request money called “Collect.”
- Collaborating with more influencers across Africa and running outstanding campaigns.
- Stax pay, Open source contributions and many more
- And oh! My personal goal: Hitting 100k MAU & 1M new users. (We can do it, and we are going to do it)
S/O to Alex Kombo (Principal Andriod Engineer), Me — Peace Itimi (Head of Growth), Blessing Abeng (Snr. Content & Comms Mgr), Itunuoluwa Akinsehinde (Visual Designer), & Samuel Ralek (Principal Backend Engineer), who joined us this year.
Also, big shoutout to Ishuah Kariuki and Justin Scherer, who left us to join other amazing companies. We wouldn’t be here without you.
And to the rest of the team — the OG’s — Jess, Ben, David, Tobi, Wangu, thank’s for sticking it out.
Let’s do more incredible things in 2022.