Ex-AccessKenya founder starts up cloud firm

Former AccessKenya managing director Jonathan Somen has set up his own firm offering cloud computing services to businesses, three years after his family sold its flagship company to a Japanese group.

Mr Somen is now running Eldama Technologies, seeking to cash in on the growing trend of firms turning to cloud storage services to cut operating costs and eliminate the headache and risks of managing their databases. The startup employs 18 persons and has so far built a client base of about 100 firms, including tissue paper maker Chandaria Industries, insurance companies, banks, saccos and hotels.

“While the uptake is slower in Kenya, there are already more conversations taking place around cloud, more questions being asked by IT people around building cloud solutions and this will continue,” said Mr Somen in an interview.

“By using cloud, that headache is passed on to their cloud provider.”

Mr Somen, 48, runs the company with his wife Petra. Eldama Technologies was incorporated in January 2016. He declined to reveal how much he spent to set up the company, saying it runs to “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Cloud computing providers set up infrastructure that in turn hosts business applications such as accounting, payroll, and cybersecurity that can be accessed remotely by firms. AccessKenya was founded by Jonathan and his brother David.

They went on to list the firm on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in 2007 at a price of Sh10 per share. The internet service provider delisted from the Nairobi bourse in 2013 following a Sh3.05 billion buyout by Dimension Data, a subsidiary of Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo Inc.

 

Compiled by Collins Gathogo.

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