[New Video & Audio Podcast] Kamal Budhabhatti’s Extraordinary Journey From Freelance Software Development To Global Technology Entrepreneurship.

In this edition of the Pure Digital Passion podcats I had the pleasure of hosting Kamal Budhabhatti, the founder and CEO of Craft Silicon, Little, and BluBeetle. Kamal’s journey from India to Kenya and his impact on the technology landscape in Kenya and Africa is nothing short of mindblowing! Here’s a summary of our insightful conversation.

Early Beginnings & His Journey To Kenya

Kamal shared about his humble beginnings in India and how he ventured into technology. His journey to Kenya started when a friend working in Kenya helped him secure a job. It was a significant event, as over 50 family members saw him off at the airport. 

However, upon arrival, he found himself doing basic data entry tasks, which was not what he expected. A neighbor introduced him to a small bank needing a core banking system, and Kamal began moonlighting to assist them. Unfortunately, his employer discovered this and terminated him, sending him back to India the same day.

Determined to succeed, Kamal returned to Kenya with the support of his sister. He faced many challenges but gradually began developing software for the small bank. With the support of his landlord, who allowed him to stay rent-free, Kamal started onboarding more financial service providers, leading to the establishment of Craft Silicon.

Building Craft Silicon — From His Bedroom To 1,000+ Employees In Africa & Asia

Craft Silicon, which began as a one-person business, has grown into a leading financial services technology solutions provider with over 1,000 employees and operations in Africa and Asia. Kamal’s big break came when he developed a core banking system for Equity Building Society, working closely with the legendary James Mwangi. This project was key as Equity Bank transitioned into one of Kenya’s largest banks.

Craft Silicon’s solutions are designed to integrate seamlessly with other financial systems, offering flexibility and affordability. A notable success is the recently launched SC Juza mobile lending app developed for Standard Chartered Bank in Kenya. Craft Silicon’s approach to marketing, selling, and supporting its offerings has enabled them to penetrate markets like India, serving tier 2 and tier 3 banks and microfinance organizations with millions of customers.

Founding Little — From Idea To Launch In 3 Weeks!

Kamal also shared the story behind Little, a ride-hailing service developed in response to the challenges faced by Uber drivers in Kenya. This was done with encouragement from Bitange Ndemo and support from the late Bob Collymore of Safaricom. Kamal and his team built the platform in just three weeks. Today, Little has a Pan-African footprint, focusing primarily on servicing corporate clients and offering better compensation to driver partners. This approach has made Little particularly popular among women, who find it a safer option for evening rides.

Innovations and Future Plans — Create A US$ 1B Valued Business, Also Known As A Unicorn!

Kamal is also venturing into Generative AI with BluBeetle. Their new offering, BankGPT, is a multimodal chatbot designed to enhance customer experience through AI. This proposition leverages first-party data to deliver superior, customer-centric solutions at scale.

Looking ahead, Kamal aims to raise significant funding to start a massive fintech startup focusing on mobile lending across various markets. His vision is to create a unicorn — a billion-dollar valuation company. Kamal believes in the potential of fundraising, provided startups have a practical plan for deploying funds toward sustainable business models.

Craft Silicon Foundation — Inspired By Humble Beginnings 

Inspired by his own struggles growing up, Kamal established the Craft Silicon Foundation. The foundation operates in every market where Craft Silicon has an office, providing funding and learning opportunities for children from underserved communities. A notable initiative is a solar-powered bus in Nairobi equipped with a computer lab, offering free programming and digital literacy classes to children in slums.

Closing Thoughts & The Life Lessons For All 

Kamal’s journey is nothing short of astounding and demonstrates how resilience, innovation, and the power of technology can transform lives — from being a freelance software developer in Kenya to running multiple technology businesses globally. His insights on organic growth, the potential of AI, and the importance of creating technology solutions tailored for Africa and Asia provide valuable lessons for entrepreneurs and technology practitioners.

Watch The Video Podcast Below:

Listen To The Audio Podcast Below:

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