FEATURED MEMBER: Antelox in Kenya is building strong African businesses by building strong online brands

Earlier this year, Afrinection member Tony Wamwea from Kenya started digital branding and web design agency Antelox. Whilst the company is young, it is doing work for numerous firms across Kenya and beyond. Antelox is, after all, no ordinary digital branding and design agency. The venture is specialised in merging creativity with clear-headed commercial judgement to develop strong and credible online brands that stand out from the crowd. Clients include Remax, Elite Property Management Ltd, Halq, and Roy Globally Solutions. Afrinection spoke to Tony about why he became an entrepreneur and decided to venture into Africa's digital and creative space.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and explain to us what Antelox is all about?

A: My name is Tony Wamwea from Kenya and I am a self-taught web designer and a high school drop-out. I founded Antelox as a digital branding and web design agency a few years ago. 

It all started in 2013 when I bought my first computer and began to learn about web design out of curiosity. At the time, I didn't know how to use the machine properly. I, however, knew people who had computer skills.  They would charge 500 Kenyan Shillings (US$5) to reformat it. Since I bought it for KES 5,000 (US$50), my computer was quite slow. The repair costs began to add up, so I decided to learn how to operate and repair the machine myself.  My curiosity of what I could do with a computer grew dramatically and so one day, I got a modem and connected the machine to the internet. That was when I started learning about web design and development.

Q: What inspired you to start Antelox? 

A: As my skills grew, I started to develop websites for clients from 2015 onwards. I then started working as a freelancer, giving me the chance to build my portfolio, regionally and globally. That is when I founded Antelox. The company's mission is to help start-ups and established businesses with establishing their online presence, building their digital brand and providing web design services. For every web design service, we design our client's company profile, business cards and letterhead for free. This has helped Antelox grow dramatically. 

Q: How does Antelox improve people's lives?

A: Developing and building a high-quality, credible and strong brand can be very expensive. We are using our passion to help businesses get an online presence, enabling them to showcase their products or services to targeted audiences. We also help our clients build an online brand reputation whilst improving their marketing strategy. In other words: we do much more than just creating an online brand and a website. Our tagline is #FueledForGrowth. We fuel businesses for growth through our services. Packages for as little as KES15,000 (US$145). 

Q: How do you view innovation?
A: Innovation is the key to growth for any business.

Q. What is holding African business owners back in their success?
A. I have friends on Facebook and LinkedIn who run businesses, with whom I trade. Their use of social media to market their businesses is limited. Sometimes I wonder whether they love their business as much they love showing off their lives. I try to encourage them to let the world know what their businesses have to offer. 

Q: What is hampering African companies in terms of sustainable growth?
A: I think African businesses need to innovate in terms of their marketing. Many ventures, from what I've noticed, don't focus on broad social media marketing. They think a business card alone is enough. They need to innovate, even in terms of their marketing and outreach operations. 

Q: What advice do you have for other African entrepreneurs?
A:  The most challenging part of the digital world we live in, is trust. Sometimes you have to deliver first before your client pays you. This means you have to satisfy your client's needs at all times. This means that you will lose out, sometimes, if the client is not happy. You have to be prepared to learn from that and turn mistakes into gains. When I was started Antelox, I sometimes had to work for free. My goal was, first and foremost, to build a strong portfolio to get paying clients interested. I believe that patience, determination, and passion are key factors in your success.

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