Capetonians Dan Southwood-Wells, 37, and Herman Maritz, 35, are the co-founders of the popular EskomSePush app.
That’s the question many South Africans raised when two bright sparks created the famed smartphone app, EskomSePush.
The founders of the app Dan Southwood-Wells, 37, and Herman Maritz, 35, never imagined that the service would still be in use and even more popular almost a decade later. They launched the app in 2014.
The duo, who hail from Cape Town, recently reached a milestone when they clocked the 5 million download mark.
EskomSePush is a smartphone app used by South Africans to receive push notifications when load shedding is implemented, and when they will be without power.
So how did EskomSePush come to fruition?
Both Wells and Maritz used to work at a company that builds apps for banks.
“In a lot of conference calls, we discussed ‘push notifications’ (the technology that sends notifications from apps) and how these notifications can be used to update banking customers,” Maritz told Weekend Argus.
“Some of these meetings had folks with raw Afrikaans accents and the pronunciation of the word ‘Push’ always made our day.“
“The mute button on the conference equipment is very helpful for politely having a chuckle. But simply put; It’s push notifications for Eskom’s load shedding, EskomSePush.”
Just like many South Africans, Wells and Maritz wanted to know when load shedding was happening so that “we could plan around it over our December holidays”.
“Load shedding schedules are hard to understand. We wanted it to be simple,” Maritz said.
“We started to send notifications to ourselves, when load shedding is happening, so we know if we need to stay a bit longer in the office.”
This then grew to their friends and family. “That was the minimum viable product (MVP) … We then spent another weekend writing the app and from that the app grew.”
The duo are mulling to expand their platform. “We’ve learned with EskomSePush that information is power,” said Maritz. “We all want to know what’s going on around us. Information gives us peace of mind, providing a sense of assurance in an increasingly chaotic world.
“With EskomSePush’s new AskMyStreet, anyone can ask questions and get answers to hyper-local problems they face. Current categories: electricity, water, roads, fires, pets, internet issues and safety.”
With the help of their app’s community, they are informing people about issues in their area. “Keeping up with what’s happening nearby has never been easier,” Maritz said.
According to Maritz, the app is a self-funded project.
They provide a business application programming interface (API) that is currently used by mobile networks and large corporations.
“It is effectively being used to provide information to contact centres, manage faults and status across dispersed networks, and visualise impact on operations,” Maritz said.
“One customer is even using it to manage planning around outages for their remote workforce! It’s all about gaining efficiency, and handling the impact of loadshedding effectively.”
What was once a side-hustle for the duo is now a full time job. “This year both Dan and I started to work full-time on EskomSePush and related projects,” Maritz said. “Dan became a father last week, that’s another full time gig.”