Human resource departments in many organizations are always distressed by the unending requisitions for business cards and replacement of lost company identity cards.
However, Joshua Mulwana Muhumuza and team may have found a lasting solution to this and more through the Malticard, a multipurpose digital business card. Mulwana, together with Innocent
Kwizera, a computer programmer, and Olga Ritah Bbosa are changing the entire networking business. As SAMUEL MUHINDO writes, their creative innovation could soon make paper business cards a thing of the past.
For a long time, Mulwana eked his mark as a saxophonist at private and public functions. Popularly known on Twitter as Pirate Mulwana, his new exciting initiative dubbed the “Malticard” has caught most people unaware.
With this card, all that is required to provide your contact details is to simply tap on someone’s phone. Twenty-nine-year-old Mulwana was born to Christopher Kiku, a retired accountant, and Roselyn Nyamutale, a veterinary doctor.
The firstborn in a family of four attended Namilyango Boys Junior School for his primary, Uganda Martyrs Secondary School Namugongo for his O-level, and Our Lady of Africa Namilyango for A-level. He then joined Makerere University where he pursued a degree in electrical engineering.
Thereafter, Mulwana joined Sasakawa Africa Association as a data entrant.
“As I did my errands at Sasakawa, pressure from my parents increased. They wanted me to get a permanent job and become a professional and practising electrical engineer. I tried joining several companies but the pay wasn’t attractive. So, I concentrated on juggling between being a saxophonist and a Twitter influencer. I leveraged my large social media presence to push different brands. When there were no influencer gigs, I played my saxophone at different functions to complement my earnings,” he said.
On his love for musical instruments, Mulwana added: “My mother used to play the piano. During my senior four vacation, I attended a function where celebrated saxophonist Isiah Katumwa was performing. During Katumwa’s performance, I whispered to my mother that I didn’t want to go to A-level. I told her I wanted to do what he [Katumwa] was doing and become a saxophonist. My mother made me to proceed with A-level on the condition that she would take me to a music school after my senior six.”
“After A-level, I joined Kampala Music School for training. Upon my graduation from Makerere, my mother gifted me with a saxophone. I then returned to Kampala Music School for fine-tuning. The saxophone and Twitter-influencing brought in good money until March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
All my revenue streams were closed within a heartbeat. I tried growing pumpkins but things didn't work out. Amidst the pandemic hard times, the Malticard idea came up”
Mulwana found opportunity within hardship. “Towards the end of October, 2021, I prepared the prototype and I was amazed by what I saw. I shared it with Bbosa and she loved it. I then interacted with Kwizera and told him about the entire idea. He was the only programmer that I could trust with my idea. We shared notes, made computations, and realized the amount of money that we needed to kickoff. I decided to sell my car so that I could be able to keep the idea afloat.”
“Equipped with around Shs 10 million, we embarked on programming and coding. We set tough deadlines to have the most viable product to launch on the market. By February 19, we were ready to launch. We delayed till February 21 when we hit the market. By February 25, our servers crashed because the users on the site were very many. We walked to the bar to celebrate our win. Our business had been appreciated by our customers. We currently have over 800 clients and orders keep coming in every day,” he added.
ABOUT THE CARD
Mulwana said the card uses both near-field communication (NFC) and QR code technology. NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that uses magnetic field induction. The induction enables the communication between devices when they’re touched together or brought within a few centimeters
of each other.
NFC extends radio frequency ID tags and contactless capabilities with more dynamic features enabled by modern smartphones. To use the technology, a user must be within a 10-centimeter area for the card to work.
Asked why he chose the two technologies, Mulwana said: “There are some phones with NFC and those with QR code technology. The latest phones now have NFC technology enabled. Networking has been made easy because you will just tap on the phone of your possible connection and within a blink, you shall have all the data. Alternatively, users can also scan the QR code on the card. In less than a minute, you shall have all their details on your phone. Malticard is the last business card that you shall own”.
Away from working as a usual business card, Mulwana said the Malticard could also work as a company ID, for the clock in and clock out in organizations, etc. Since they deal with people’s data, Malticard is certified by the National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U).
This is a government agency tasked with regulating and coordinating information and technology services in Uganda.
Asked whether he could be interested in taking welcoming potential, Mulwana said “Yes we would need investors for this business. Most of the returns are reinvested in data protection, copyrights, and managing the day-to-day operations of the business. Our servers are hosted by Amazon web services. Even when we need investors, the terms of those that have expressed interest in Malticard are unfriendly. I don’t want to sell our dream now. We are one deal away from stabilizing the ship”.
Mulwana claims the closest he found interest in computers was when playing ordinary games. “I hate coding but I love what comes out.”
Mercy Asiima, the country manager of the Platform capital, a venture capital firm said, “Malticard is far beyond a networking tool. It is an empowering solution that enables every card holder to store all their relevant information at their fingertips. It is a literal extension of one’s self. Malticard gives every owner the power to proactively design, edit and manage their personal and business presence/ brand”.
“As we all know, developing a solid personal /business brand pays off because it increases one’s confidence and ability to control what one can share. This dynamic digital card enables individuals and multi-sectoral businesses to share information, and communicate faster in a cost-effective, user-friendly, and environmentally conscious manner. As a business, Malticard is scalable across multiple sectors like health care, government, and corporate organizations if more resources are dedicated towards the development of the card”.