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EskomSePush founders share success story

Read time 2min 30sec
The EskomSePush app allows users to view what areas will be affected by power outages that day.
The EskomSePush app allows users to view what areas will be affected by power outages that day.

The only thing worse than load shedding; is surprise load shedding.

It was this mentality that inspired Herman Maritz and Dan Wells to develop EskomSePush; a free application that allows users to view what areas will be affected by power outages that day. During load shedding, or when there has been a change to the load shedding schedule, the app will send users push notifications. The app features timers counting down the amount of time until load shedding starts.

EskomSePush recently walked away with the 2015 MTN App of the Year 2015 Awards for both People's Choice and Breakthrough Developer App. The app is currently sitting at number one on the iOS app store for most downloaded apps. It has over 200 000 users, handles roughly 90 000 simultaneous connections when load shedding starts and enjoys 20 000 new users each day.

Speaking at a Stellenbosch Digital event at the University of Stellenbosch last week, Maritz and Wells explained how they saw a need for this kind of platform and decided to do something about it.

"We developed the idea in December 2014 but only really started to focus on what the app was doing in January 2015," said Wells, continuing that they have experienced a whirlwind of success in recent months. Some of which he jokingly attributed to KykNet and Steve Hofmeyer who at some point have discussed EskomSePush on social media to their extensive audiences resulting in dramatic increases in downloads.

While the duo is excited about the popularity of the app, they both noted that it is more of a personal endeavour than a business venture.

Wells and Maritz stressed that they have regular day jobs because the app isn't actually making any money. "EskomSePush is a side project. There is no real incentive to do this but ourselves. When we created EskomSePush, we were actually developing banking apps full time," said Maritz. One of the nice things about this project, Martiz continued, is that he and Wells can really tap into what their users want and have more opportunities to listen to what they have to say.

"In the end, we wanted our message to be a light-hearted one," Maritz concluded. "No one likes load shedding so we picked a name and wanted to create a platform and ethos that would encourage people to laugh a little even when the lights go out."

EskomSePush is available on Android and iOS. To find out more about Stellenbosch Digital events - which encourage possible collaborations between Stellenbosch-based companies and individuals involved in anything digital - visit http://www.stellenboschdigital.co.za/.

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