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Sociologist builds site that gives direction to party spots

BUSINESS UNUSUAL
By k | April 26th 2012

By Philip Mwakio

At a tender age of 16, Felix Kamwibua tasted alcohol; as he stooped to relatives’ influence. Though, he cursed the experience, regretted and promised not to drink again, five years later, the 28-year old sociologist regressed.

And as it turned out later in life, Kamwibua would come up with a web-based application — Pub Director — that provides direction to bars, restaurants and entertainment spots within Nairobi.

"The website gives directions to bars, gigs that are happening in different locations and advises

Kamwibua plans to use his website to promote road safety among revellers. [Photo: Philip Mwakio/Standard]

on road safety," a sociology graduate from Catholic University of Eastern Africa told Business Unusual.

He said the rationale behind the website is based on friends and personal encounter.

"Most of the times when you are at a night out, people call you to ask if they can join you. They again call to ask for direction to where you are. It is challenging and tasking to give directions. I thought I should develop a website to ease their search for pubs," Kamwibua explains.

The website integrates entertainment spots and locations with Google maps, which ease the search. Armed with Sh250,000 from his personal savings, Kamwibua was set for business.

Hired services

Before he set up the firm, he conducted research to clear any doubts over business continuity. "I conducted a survey and also hired services of research firm so that I can clear doubts. From the survey I found out that Pub Director was a viable business," Kamwibua says.

After the survey findings, Kamwibua and his team embarked on developing a database. This was done to help the searches suitably integrate with Google Maps.

Although the Kamwibua says it was time consuming, he is happy since the tool has helped many revellers.

How does the Pub Director work?

The user is supposed to open the site and on the search tool keys in the name of the pub. Kamwibua says a search on the page is less expensive compared to a phone call.

"If you are calling someone and he is in a noisy place, you will end up getting wrong directions. You waste a lot of time. The search is convenient and affordable," he argues.

Currently, Pub Director targets the young generation since most of them are tech savvy and have smartphones. However, not all handsets are web enabled so the searches are limited to revelers who own smart phones.

Although he refutes claims that he is promoting drinking among the youth, he says he wants to use the platform to educate people more on issues affecting them.

"If you open the site, you will find that there is more. We want to engage them on road safety campaigns, responsible drinking and family values," he says.

Using his initiative, he aims to compliment government’s role in reducing road carnage caused by drunkard driving.

He adds, "This has been my passion to run a website that supports the society at large and takes care of people as they go out at night. I advise young people not to drink and drive. I will be happy when we reduce night carnage."

"Initially, the market we serve had trouble in finding clubs, which are less popular but now they can locate them easily," says Kamwibua.

Although, he is yet to break even, he is targeting companies to advertise and establish strategic communication partnerships with non-profit organisations.

The dream, he says is to cover the East African region. "I plan to enter South Sudan soon."

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