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Launch Manager

Lagos, Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam or Kampala


Smile Identity’s mission is to make the benefits of a modern digital lifestyle universally accessible by expanding trust in underserved markets. To do this, we use computer vision, machine learning, human review and local integrations to provide a comprehensive KYC (Know Your Customer) and user identification solution for mobile-first frontier markets, beginning in Africa.

We are backed by US and African investors including Vinod Khosla, CRE Venture Capital, Savannah Fund, and PTB Ventures.

The Role

We are looking for an ambitious business development professional to join us as our first Launch Manager. This is a very unique role, and responsible for standing up operations in one market after another.

We need an executor. The Launch Manager is someone who is versatile, creative and incredibly resourceful. You must have experience getting things done, developing processes, and documenting what you learned. Whether you get up early, or stay up late, you always find a way to finish the job. You are a self-starter and work well independently, but you also know how important communication is when you’re working with a team, so you find it easy to stay in touch by using modern collaboration tools (Slack/Asana/Evernote/Dropbox/Google Docs), or project management software like Pivotal Tracker/Jira/Trello.

As our first Launch Manager, you'll be responsible for getting us what we need to integrate with key KYC systems in each market we expand into. This means you will spend 12-18 months moving from one market to the next as we expand coverage of ID types and geographies.

The Launch Manager reports to Director of Operations, based in Cape Town, but will also spend substantial time working closely with the CEO to craft and execute on the strategy for each market. You will be the face of our company to our enterprise customers and government regulators in new markets that we enter, so you must present and communicate well and exercise sound judgment independent of detailed management direction.

The candidate who succeeds in this role will create a playbook for country launch, establishing processes for quickly getting coverage in a market while meeting complex and diverse local regulatory requirements for incorporation, taxation, and data privacy and protection.

Researching regulatory requirements, negotiating business deals, handling local compliance, and plugging into local KYC systems — all of these sit under your umbrella of responsibilities.

What you will do

  • You will commit to working full time for Smile Identity for at least an 18 month period
  • During that time, you’ll work with our CEO and Director of Ops to devise a strategy for launching coverage in at least 3 new markets
  • You’ll spend anywhere from 3-6 months in each country and work with our Director of Ops to ensure coverage of the relevant ID or document types and methods
  • You’ll get access to relevant APIs and databases and you’ll tee up integrations for our Ops & Engineering teams, one country at a time, while working with our Director of Ops to ensure local incorporation and/or regulatory compliance
  • You’ll run workshops to propose, discuss, and finalize integration programs with Smile’s partner institutions
  • You will project manage Smile ID integrations to meet partner success criteria
  • You’ll build relationships with local startups, institutions and regulatory or government stakeholders as needed
  • Along the way, you’ll create the Smile ID “Country Launch Playbook” — a set of learnings and best practices that can be used to launch coverage in new countries in Africa and beyond

What do you need?

  • 2-4 years of work experience with at least 6 months at a high growth startup, an investment bank, or some other high stakes job where your decisions had immediate and significant consequences (other examples could be in healthcare delivery or the military)
  • Emotional maturity, patience and the grit to work alone for long periods of time and the creativity to overcome any obstacle
  • The ability to execute in Africa
  • Stellar networking skills and the ability to make smart partnerships happen
  • The ability to multi-task and prioritise independently
  • The ability to understand and relate to Smile end users, their challenges and the environments in which they live and work
  • An ability to create and nurture strong relationships at all levels of an organisation to ensure sustainable long-term partnerships
  • A desire and ability to align the objectives of Smile and its partner organisations
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to seek the truth
  • High emotional intelligence, good judgment and strong references.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Some familiarity with GDPR and data privacy / protection best practices
  • College degree from a top institution in Africa, the U.S. or Europe
  • Experience managing regulatory or government stakeholders
  • Experience working in multiple African countries
  • Proficiency in French, Swahili or another language commonly spoken on the continent

Perks, Comp & Benefits

  • Responsibility: Be a key part of a Silicon Valley venture-backed startup
  • Exposure: This is a front row seat to the technology boom in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Ownership: Globally competitive salary with significant equity component
  • Health insurance reimbursement
  • Purpose: This is one of those rare chances in life to work on something that has real impact and potential for massive scale
  • Periodic travel across Africa and annually to the US

Qualified and passionate about our mission?

Email resume to talent@smileidentity.com or reach out through a mutual connection to one of the members of our team.

About Smile Identity

At Smile Identity we believe anyone should be able to prove their identity easily, anywhere in the world. Our team is made up of American and African engineers and financial services professionals with experience across global markets in highly regulated environments. We’ve built encryption, authentication and security solutions. We’ve developed image-processing technology from the chip level up. We’ve been part of security investigations and have pursued fraudsters. Having worked with, or for, telecoms, lenders, banks and startups, we know the challenges of building world-class technology and we understand the needs of the African consumer and enterprise customer.