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New app matches skills, needs in marketplace

Sep 26 2016 20:01
Carin Smith

Cape Town- With the nature of the global workforce shifting from full-time corporate work towards freelancing, project-work and side-gigs, those working in this changing environment need new tools to help them survive and thrive.

A new mobile app developed in South Africa, Kalido, has recently been launched as a global platform for individuals to connect and exchange services, solving a problem that often arises when people look for new service providers and new clients: trust, according to co-founder Sanjay Varma.

Varma told Fin24 that one of the big challenges as an entrepreneur is to find service providers one can afford.

"You need someone at each stage when you are building a business. You have to find someone affordable and interested in your small company," said Varma.

Last year alone, the number of self-employed South Africans rose by 6.4% to 1.35 million people. As the working environment changes, it is expected that this number will continue to increase – partly in response to slowing economic growth and partly in response to the changing nature of work.

Kalido’s personalised matching system, therefore, matches users with the professionals and clients they need, according to set goals. Once generated, these matches are ranked according to relevance, geographic location and social proximity.
Users are enabled to make direct contact with the people they match with and Kalido takes neither a commission nor a registration fee.

"I thought there should be one platform to find the right person. In real world you ask your friends - that is the world we live in. The Kalido world you just add what you need - and if you have someone in common you can tap and ask privately if this person is good or not. It gives the individual complete power to meet without any capital," said Varma.

Kalido was largely developed in SA by a team of software engineers and designers, while the team’s business experience originates from prominent global companies, including Alibaba and management consultancy, McKinsey & Company.

“Through Kalido, we want to build the first truly trusted global platform for individuals to connect and exchange services in the real world, empowering freelancers everywhere and awakening the entrepreneur in all of us,” said Varma.

He chose SA to develop the app, because of the English language capacity here and the "incredible programmes" he found in Johannesburg.

"They also believe in the cause, which makes their work so much more exciting. If you believe in what you do, you could be even better," said Varma. He also hopes to help improve employment in SA by means of the opportunities the app can unlock for entrepreneurs.

His third reason for choosing SA is that smart phone penetration is growing among the country's young population and they need tools to empower themselves, and fourthly, the corporate sector wants to try and help with unemployment in SA.

"The app will benefit SA. We are growing at an incredible pace. Our focus is SA and India. There is a lot of interest in other African countries like Nigeria and Kenya too. We already have users in 26 countries," said Varma.

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