5 years of Matatu: Funding, Team Break-up and Why it is Hard to get Advertisers!

Matatu is a card game played in Uganda. Five years ago, a team from Kola Studios decided to make it possible for people in Uganda and beyond to play the game on their smartphones and tablets.

However, since then, a lot has taken place in the Matatu camp. From raising funding to part of the founding team leaving, we bring you everything in a conversation with Sharon Rwakatungu, Operations Manager at Kola Studios - the parent company for Matatu.

  1. What has changed between when you launched Matatu and now?

Well, the company has grown a lot since then, we have developed about 7 more games since then, our user base for Matatu has grown and keeps growing consistently each month as number of smart phone users continues to grow.

  1. Have you raised any external funding? 

We did get external funding from the Savanah fund. They invested $25,000 for 15% equity in our company.

  1. What has been your main model of user acquisition since inception? Is it the best?

Our main model now is through social media and google ads. I don’t know if it is the best but it is working well for us so far especially Facebook. From there, we are able to interact and communicate any new developments to our users. During inception however no advertising was done, the app grew popular through word of mouth.

  1. What is your mode of client acquisition? How do you rate it in terms of your short term and long-term client acquisition Goals?

We are lucky to have built a popular brand so we have a steady form of user acquisition. For example, the Matatu game sells itself and has a large audience which we can also use when growing the users of our new products. This works both short and long term where we build our brand and name and be in this place where people enjoy and trust our products to be good.

  1. Is the top team still the same since you launched?

No, the top team is not the same, along the way crucial members like Terry (Karungi) and Guy Acellam left to join other ventures but they keep in touch.

  1. What are your priority monetization plans in 2017?

This year our priority is on trying to monetize the Matatu game itself. We have over 200,000 active user every month and over 4 million games are played everyday. This year we shall look for a steady way to monetize  the product.

  1. What has been your biggest success thus far?

The overall success of Matatu is our biggest success. The goals we are constantly reaching with our user acquisition and engagement constantly for over 5 years now has been beyond our belief.

  1. Has presence in the media played a significant role in your client acquisition?

Yes it has, it allows people to even know that our product exists. It's mostly significant during inception.

  1. What challenges (out of your control) are you currently facing?

Our challenge right now is advertisers not embracing apps as a medium for their product. We have a lot more users than several mediums and our results can be shown in real time but their inability to embrace the medium has been a big slump in monetization

  1. Do we expect to see Matatu 5 years from today? What should we expect then?

Yes of course Matatu will still be around 5 years from today, we have survived 5 years and we will survive many more. More and more people will embrace technology and our users will keep increasing. I don’t know what you could expect, we are a proactive company that embrace change and all new things as we go ahead.

The Kola Studios' team recently moved from Kanjokya street to The Innovation Village in Ntinda, joining the likes of !nnovate, Panya, Intel World and many. We wish them the best as they embark on their next five years.

Digest Africa



Digest Africa Technologies Ltd
Ntinda Complex,
Block B, Level 3 Ntinda,
Kampala, Uganda

© Digest Africa Technologies Ltd 2023.
All Rights Reserved.