Mambe Nanje Churchill : “Njorku makes money but not profit”
Njorku 2.0 is out! The jobs search engine created by some young cameroonians has new features. We sent some questions to one of the founder, Mambe Nanje Churchill. Here are answers about first and second release of Njorku…
During 9Ideas Conference 2012, we had a preview of njorku 2.0. You just launched it. Was a second version of the job search engine necessary? Why?
Like every other web product, Njorku will continue to undergo changes over the years and this version was just one of such changes. We are constantly researching and developing new ways to help African job seekers and employers so we will keep adding new features overtime to ensure that the African job seekers and employers get the best and most affordable and easy to use tools for their career and recruitment needs respectively.
The second release of njorku has some new features like the CV database. Can you present them?
Yes right now on Njorku you can create a job seeker account, upload up to 5 CVs prepared for different job roles you seek and our platform will extract the text from the CVs and index it and provide it in form of a CV search engine to employers all over Africa and the rest of the world.
So like you must have noticed there is now a section for employers to register, and search through candidate CVs 100% free. We make it free such that the African job seeker will be exposed as far as possible even to the smallest of employers. Contrary to popular belief we plan to keep the CV search for employers free for ever while we develop business models around that.
Other new features include SMS and Email Alert management system for candidate where they can create and manage unlimited alerts for jobs with specific keywords and location and its all 100% free.
We optimised the search so that job seekers can now search within specific date limits like you can now search for jobs posted within the past week, past month, past 24hrs past hour etc.
We are in Africa and we understand the limitations faced by candidates in Africa and we are actively researching on better ways to help them. Other search engines will not be able to understand the African market like we do and this is mainly because we are Africans living in the same conditions and interacting with these job seekers and they tell us or show us at 100% what is required. In essence job search in Africa on Njorku is done the African way or geared at 100% towards what Africans will easily work with.
What about privacy and security? There is a risk that a fake company collect data from candidate for an unknow use…
Yes we know our market and our people very well like I said above so we already integrated a security process into our employer platform. For every employer that registers, we must review and approve and over time we can suspend the account. We already built tools to handle all this. So we don’t activate any employer account unless we are 100% sure they are legit. And in cases where we make a mistake and activate a non legit account, our engine will auto notify us overtime and even auto suspend and notify us to review.
When I first browse njorku 2.0 I found very Google-like. Are you copying Google interface?
Well we are not copying Google interface per say, we also engage actively in research and development of our user interface and try as much as possible to provide African job seekers with easy to use interface that takes into consideration pre-knowledge. There are not so many ways to draw a play button icon or are there?
Let’s talk about njorku 1.0. After A year online, what are key facts?
Njorku 1.0 has served over 500,000+ unique African job seekers in the period of 12months and its actively growing with the new CV upload platform and the improved search tools and options. Njorku 1.0 as you can remember has been rated to be amongst the top African start-ups by forbes, memeburn, siliconafrica, techloy, jeuneafrique, starafrica, etc just to name a few. But we are still getting started as we plan to help millions of African job seekers in their quest for career opportunities.
Can we have some figures about njorku 1.0 out of Cameroon?
Close to 20% of Njorku traffic or usage comes from South Africa and a lot of people are using Njorku in UK and USA even more than in Cameroon. Njorku is serving thousands of candidates around the world mostly from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Uganda, India, UK, USA.
Njorku isn’t making money. How long will last such a situation?
Njorku makes money but not profit. We are making money from ads. We have placed adverts on some pages of Njorku but not on all pages. We are doing highly targeted marketing while we are researching on more ways to make money. But Njorku will start engaging in profit making schemes from January 2013, God willing.
Will you sell njorku to a major Web company?
Right now I don’t know and it also depends on our partners and our investors. But for now as long as Njorku will keep serving African job seekers and get better at it, if I have to sell it to achieve this goal then I will sell it such that the African job seeker will have a better life overtime and if I see that I will have to keep running it to better serve the African job seekers then I won’t sell. It’s a matter of what will be best at the time for the African job seekers.
Where did you learn all these things because if I remember you didn’t attend university in Europe or USA…
Yes thats right, I have never gone to university, also I have never been out of Africa or out of Cameroon and Nigeria. I learnt all I know from cyber cafes in Buea way back in 2003 to 2006 where I use to help cyber-café attendants do their job while I take advantage of the internet on their computers. And I have been studying everyday using the internet.
By Edouard TAMBA