Software engineer from kipleX creates an app to encourage Malaysians to help each other in times of need.

Q1: Hi Hasif! Thank you for taking the time to have this interview, could you please tell us about yourself before we begin?

Yeap, sure! Currently, I’m a software engineer at kipleX. Before joining kipleX, I was an iOS software engineer at Boost eWallet. My passion for mobile apps especially in iOS development is huge as I have already developed 6 apps so far. I started exploring programming since I was 16 years old (The good old days). I remembered my first app, published on the Apple App Store was Amalan Mukmin, a compilation of important Quran verses and the authentic hadith (various collected accountings of the words, actions, and habits of the Prophet Mohammad during his lifetime) which would be recited daily for Muslims. Then the journey continued as I pursued my tertiary education in Computer Science after high school. At that moment, I learned coding the right way. I also obtained an internship at Boost eWallet in 2019 and managed to develop the Boost Business app from scratch during my first job there. Before the launch of the Bantu App, I had launched several other products of mine which the Lylyn App and Hidayah App were once listed as #1 and #44 respectively in AppStore Malaysia!

Q2: Congratulations on the launch of the Bantu App! Could you tell us what this app does for those who have not heard of it?

Thank you. Yeah, a group of 9 friends and I recently launched the Bantu App on the 27th of August. Bantu App is a platform/app that provides the user with the ability to raise a virtual white flag to seek help and provides other users the ability to find people who need help. This app is available in 4 languages which are English, Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin, and Tamil. We design this app to be as simple as possible to make it user-friendly for everyone in Malaysia.

(Preview of the Bantu App; available on the Google Playstore and Apple App Store)

Q3: What is your inspiration behind creating this app?

It started when the “White Flag” was initiated and went viral among Malaysians. Throughout this pandemic, many Malaysians are struggling to survive, losing their jobs, depressed, and you know what’s worst? Some have even committed suicide because of these issues. Because of this, an initiative called the “White Flag” campaign was started by Malaysians where they asked those who need help to raise a physical white flag if they needed help or don’t know from who to seek help.

But over time, there were a few problems that arose which were:

  • Some authorities banned this initiative - not allowing anyone to raise any white flags
  • Physically raising a white flag will only be visible from nearby people in the neighborhood

And so, I believe that the best way to help our Malaysians who are in need is through the Bantu App!

Q4: How did you create this app? Could you give us some information about the process behind it and the team that helped you launch it?

Sure, this was how Bantu App started — Once this app was initiated, the first step was we planned what features that we want to include. I also gathered information through social media to get some insights from people around me such as conducting a survey through an Instagram post. Then, my small team and I started to brainstorm from the ideas collected and listed all suggested features & made prioritizations on what features we wanted to build first. From that, we started to delegate the tasks. For my end, I started designing the User Interface (UI) and developing the iOS app. My role in Bantu is as a designer and iOS developer. I also seek opinions and feedback from my designer friends for the UI/UX part. For backend & android, 2 of my friends volunteered to take part in the development process. I was so grateful that I have some friends from different backgrounds, and they were willing to join the development team.

Q5: Are there next steps in further developing the app and your campaign?

Yes, of course. We have several features in our backlog. we are currently developing them.

Q6: What are the struggles that you have faced or are currently facing when developing and launching this app?

We faced a lot, especially allocating our free time to deliver this app. This is because we had committed to our main profession during weekdays and as we want to avoid conflict of interest, we worked on Bantu App on weekends. Another struggle that we are currently facing is the fund/cost to maintain this app. Just to let you know that we are using our fund for development as we volunteered to build this app and we don’t have any established resources.

Q7: How do you define success for your app?

Well, the main objective of Bantu App has been achieved which is to encourage Malaysians to help each other in times of need. What we aim to do now is spread the awareness of the app and scale its features to be able to help Malaysians more effectively and efficiently.

Q8: What are the long-term plans for this app?

We intend to add a crowdfunding feature and deep link support to make this app more user-friendly. Then we want to make this app a one-stop center for all help requests. We also plan to collaborate with other donation platforms and NGOs in Malaysia.

Q9: Are there any key lessons that you have learned throughout your journey that you would like to share with us?

The key lessons that I have learned so far are to always look on the bright side & work until the work is done. Being able to remain positive and look at things with optimism is an invaluable life lesson. The more you can improve your outlook and the less the small things affect you, the better you’ll be able to handle challenges in both your professional and personal life. As a result, you’ll find yourself happier and more content no matter the situation. I once mentioned that I only spent my weekends developing Bantu App, right? So, even if you limit your at-home work to the weekends, you should be dedicating some hours to your progress. Whether it’s finally starting a project, learning a new language, or developing a new skill for your career, you shouldn’t let the habit of procrastination keep you from reaching your goals. The more you resist the urge to procrastinate, the easier it becomes to work until your work is done — whether it be in the office or your personal development.

Q10 :Do you have any user testimonials on how this app helped them through the pandemic?

Yes, that’s right. I am constantly investing in companies and ideas that are tapping into new behaviors and trends to revolutionize industries through the use of frontier technologies. Ultimately those which I see resonating with my passion and purpose of ensuring every human thrives with life-improving digital innovations.

Q11: What are some of the traits you’re looking from Founders as a part of your investment thesis?

We have received good & constructive feedback so far. Currently, this app is rated 4.6 stars in Apple AppStore. I also personally received a lot of messages & emails from Bantu App. Here is one of them:

Name: Hakim, 25 years old from Shah Alam

Feedback: Bantu App is by far the easiest app to use. Very fast to find someone in need. Especially within the neighborhood. Before this, we didn’t know our neighbor is in trouble. If not our neighbor, somebody else nearby struggling and deserves more attention. Thanks to Bantu App, it’s very easy now to give donations. Moreover, the user interface is easy to use and smooth to use. Very appreciate this effort. Thank you, Bantu App, for the wonderful work

(User reviews from the Apple App Store)


For more info about BantuApp : https://bit.ly/3kPSDMf

Hasif’s Website: https://hasifofficial.com/