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Hottest Tech Startups From Africa: WHOT! The New Game Rocking iOS, Android and Facebook



Filed under : Africa, Entertainment

We are loving the tech start-ups that are being developed by Africans! Love! And there is a growing number of African tech entrepreneurs that are cropping up with fab technology.

Amaete Umanah

Amaete Umanah, founder and CEO of nKanika has been a friend of FaraiToday.com for the longest! So you can imagine how excited we were to find out about his latest venture, WHOT! the new card game taking over iOS, Android and Facebook

WHOT! is a classic, fast-paced and exciting card game for all age groups. The card game application was developed by Silicon Valley-based game development company, nKanika Inc. founded by Nigerian entrepreneurs, Amaete Umanah and Ime Etim.

Much like Uno, WHOT! card game allows you to get rid of all your cards first and score points for the cards you play in order to win a game. The cool thing about WHOT! is that participants can compare their game scores with other players worldwide on Game Center.

The only draw-back is that the app doesn’t support multi-player functions that allows two or more players to play the game, which traditionally is the best way to enjoy the card game. But we were reassured that Team nKanika has been hard at work debugging and tweaking WHOT!

So we caught up with CEO & Founder, Amaete to chat about the new craze called WHOT!

FaraiToday: How did WHOT come about for you?

WHOT! is a game that I played a lot as a kid while I was in Nigeria and as an adult with my friends in Los Angeles, CA. I have some really great friends that would organize game night at their house and a whole bunch of us would show up and have a blast playing WHOT in the living room. With the advent of the iPhone, apps and games, I thought it would be a great idea to play WHOT! on our cell phones with out having to play it once or twice a month. I thought it was kind of odd that no one or game studio thought to create this game and so I set out to be the first one to create the game and bring it to iOS, Android and Facebook.
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Amaete: I read that “Black people are consumers of technology and NOT producers/inventors of technology” – what are you thoughts on that? Clearly with your start-up tech company that is not the case…Who is your target audience?
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That can be true for some black people but there are group of black people that are producers of technology as well. In Silicon Valley there are black people or should I say black entrepreneurs that are creating great technology as we speak. They are not many, but the few that I have come across really inspire me. My target market is casual and social gamers around the world. There are no boundaries for our games. Our games are for everyone.
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FaraiToday: Describe a typical day of an African-run tech start-up?
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Amaete: A typical day for an African Startup is no different from a Startup in South Korea, Germany, Brazil or Nigeria. You find a big market, identify what the problem is, find a solution, figure out how to make money, figure out who your competition is, market research, build a prototype or a MVP (minimum viable product), get social proof, gain traction, raise money, iterate and scale. The same issues you find in the United Sates, you will find in Nigeria.
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FaraiToday: What are some of the challenges you face as a tech start-up?
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Amaete: Some of the challenges I faced was finding a technical co-founder that was a computer programmer and also shared the same passion and vision as I did. I have been in business development for over 15 years and once I had the idea to create a gaming company, I needed to find a programmer that could help bring my vision to life because once I had that, I knew I could raise money from Angel Investors once I had my MVP. As a startup, you never have all of the resources needed to launch your product. At nKanika, we run a lean startup that has actually been very beneficial to us. Running a lean startup really helps you think outside of the box and makes you come up with creative ways to tackle issues.
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FaraiToday: You have launched successfully on Facebook and now leading on iOS and Android platforms – what about WHOT! do you think that has resonated so well with gamers?
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Amaete: One of the things that quickly resonated with my audience was the characters in the game or on the cards. We wanted WHOT! to have some sort of personality when playing the game on single player. Multiplayer is a feature that we are currently working on and will deploy soon. Another thing that resonated with gamers is the fact that the game is similar to Uno, but much more fun and engaging.
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FaraiToday: nKanika is a multi-platform, global interactive entertainment and licensing company. What does nKanika mean?
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Amaete: nKanika is a South Eastern Nigerian Ibibio word from the Ibibio tribe in Akwa Ibom State that means “Time”. That is why our slogan says “It’s time, come play with us”
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FaraiToday: What’s your vision for nKanika and what is it that separates you from your competitors?
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Amaete: nKanika is creating the next generation of free to play games for mobile devices and the open web using HTML5.
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HTML5 is the new standard for web browsers and we want to create great games not only for our gamers in the United States and the rest of the world, but we also want Africans who do not have iPhones and Android devices to be able to play our games on their respective devices via the web browser of their mobile devices.
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In addition, we want to create games that have kick ass graphics, a great user experience and most off all, FREE!
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What separates us from our competitors is the fact that we are extremely passionate about creating games, we are one of the first Nigerian gaming studios in Silicon Valley and we want to create games for gamers around the world and hopefully usher in a whole new set of gamers from Africa and Africans in the diaspora.
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“It’s time, come play with WHOT!”

Download WHOT! card game at:

iOS
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/whot!-free/id476619050?ls=1&mt=8

Android
http://www.getjar.com/whot

Play Now on Facebook
http://www.whotcardgame.com/game

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Team nKanika!!

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farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.


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