Senegalese entrepreneurs introduce tech solutions to hospitality industry
When Senegalese brothers Alioune and Moustapha Ndoye completed their engineering studies in the US they chose to move back to Africa to run their own technology company.
“We went to the US to get an education and after we graduated we had a choice to either stay there or come back. But we wanted to be back in Africa. People are saying Africa is the future but I see it as the now,” says Moustapha.
“Things are happening; all the major companies are coming to Africa to expand their market. For us it did not make sense to stay in the US. We decided to come back and use the knowledge we acquired to change various industries.”
The Ndoye brothers started Xtreme Design and Engineering while the in US and relocated to Senegal’s capital Dakar last year. The company provides cloud based and mobile applications for the African hospitality industry.
“When we got back home it was obvious to us that we didn’t leave the US to come and just be employed at some company and sit behind the desk and work. If [that was] the case then we might as well have stayed in the US and made a better living. It was obvious to us that we wanted to create our own company.”
Xtreme Design and Engineering recently launched Teranga Hospitality Solutions, a suite of software and mobile applications for hospitality professionals.
Teranga Hospitality seeks to improve operations in the hospitality industry and has been adopted by hotels in Benin and Senegal.
“We want to offer end-to-end solutions to address concerns in the industry such as how to increase staff productivity, lowering the cost of production, increasing guest satisfaction and ultimately getting more revenues,” says Moustapha.
The solution is targeted at all types of properties, from small bed and breakfast facilities to large hotel chains.
Xtreme Design and Engineering is investing in educating industry players about the benefits of adopting technologies such as Teranga Hospitality.
“Whenever you are bringing technology to an industry, people, especially employees, always feel threatened. They think it is going to replace them. So, we have to make them understand that this is not a replacement but [rather to] help them to make them more efficient.”
While international hotel chains easily adopt technology, Moustapha says convincing local operators has been difficult.
“For the local market they need to see it as an investment that will bring added value and not just extra expense to be cool,” he says. “Hotels are used to running their systems manually. For you to convince them that this is bringing them value, it takes time. You have to educate them, run some demos and let them have a feel of it.”
According to Moustapha, Senegal and other francophone countries hold attractive opportunities.
“It is a nice market but it takes time. You have to be patient. There is definitely something good going on right now in Francophone [Africa].”
He added that Xtreme Design and Engineering is planning to expand to other African countries.
“We are going to open offices in bigger markets in Africa like Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. This is not a Senegalese product. We see it as an African product,” says Moustapha. “We are not going to limit ourselves to French speaking Africa. It is strategic for us to attack the whole industry in the continent.”