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ESOKO: harnessing the network effect

EntrepreneurCountry Global Monday, 12 May 2014.

Agricultural networks in Africa are better connected today thanks to the work of Esoko's innovative communications platform. The principle behind Esoko is that agricultural value chains can be enhanced by better sharing of information. For example, partners can help farmers by sharing live changes in market prices, enabling them to negotiate fair prices; or distributors can track the progress of shipments via SMS to better manage logistics and keep clients informed.

shutterstock 108910907Interestingly, Esoko isn't bound to a single structure. Instead, it offers 10 different apps across numerous mobile and online platforms, each tailored to specific user needs. These range from simple, automated alerts and SMS Polls, to tracking services and complex data libraries. And users can make the most of as many or as few of these as they like, and manage them all from a single dashboard.

That doesn't mean that Esoko users exist in isolation, though. In fact, it's quite the opposite - users are encouraged to create profiles and develop Business Portals in order to expand and connect across multiple groups.

That means Esoko isn't just providing flexible solutions, it's also harnessing the network effect to increase its value with every member that connects and shares information with fellow users, which, in turn, means more effective agricultural chains, and more credit to this exciting startup.
Mark Davies, the founder and CEO of Esoko, has been backed by Soros, Jim Forster and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, and previously founded First Tuesday. The serial entrepreneur also built and sold a business to Barry Diller's Interactive Group.

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