Blow to Safaricom’s Alpha as Head Exits in Unclear Circumstances

Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya

Dr. Kamal BhattacharyaSafaricom created Alpha to be its independent innovation wing that would see the company move beyond M-Pesa and come up with more innovative products. The startup which has been in operation since October last year saw one Kamal Bhattacharya move from iHub to head that particular team as Safaricom’s Chief Innovation Officer.

Kamal was previously iHub’s CEO and he oversaw the transformation of iHub from a community focused space to a revenue-focused space. In March last year, Mr Kamal left iHub and joined Safaricom under the innovation team which later rebranded as Alpha.

In the 11 months that the company has been in operation, we have seen them launch Bonga, a messaging app that has M-Pesa built into it and is currently in its public beta phase. The app’s value proposition is that users of Bonga will not have to leave the app to perform Mobile money transactions as one can simply send and receive money directly from the app with Business payments projected to be added later.

Information reaching us is that Kamal has unexpectedly left Alpha and Safaricom in general. The now-former Chief Innovation Officer of Safaricom tendered his resignation today and has left the company effective immediately. The circumstances at which Mr Kamal is leaving Safaricom are still unclear but what we know so far is that there has been internal conflict between Safaricom Business lines and Alpha, with claims that Alpha is a threat to the former and this could be the reason to his sudden departure.

This is a developing story and we will update the article as we get more information.

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  1. […] At her new position, which starts in January 2019, Safaricom’s Alpha will fall under her wings. Alpha is Safaricom’s innovation lab that was previously headed by Kamal Bhattacharya, then Chief Innovation Officer, a role that has since been scrapped. Kamal had led Alpha to the development of its first product, Bonga before he packed up and left Safaricom under unclear circumstances. […]

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