In 2013, Luis Verdeja was working for a United Nation agency in Angola. His team was trying to hire staff for a public ministry and they realized that there were no job boards in Angola. So Verdegja decided to start one.

Today, the Spanish-born Verdeja is CEO of Jobartis, which is active in Angola and six other African countries.

It’s been a tough climb to the top. African Internet access is expensive (a 3 GB a month package costs 23 percent of the minimum monthly salary in Angola compared with just 2.7 percent in, say, Portugal; a laptop runs 1,935 percent of the minimum salary). So it’s not surprising that only 17 percent of Angolans have a smartphone.

And even when they do, they use them mostly for social media “So we have to educate the market,” Verdeja told the AIM Group’s RecPlus conference this afternoon.

Which leads to a key question: how do you monetize a service in a developing nation where 75 percent of jobs are advertised exclusively by word-of-mouth?

Jobartis has tried a number of creative strategies. The most successful: training sessions. “Many people are not interested, so we have to force it on them!” Verdeja admitted. “It’s a slow sales process, entailing several meetings, but when they understand, it gets there.”

Verdeja said that he’s often asked why Jobartis doesn’t go freemium? “We’re concerned that after all we’ve done, we’d teach them NOT to pay. We are proud we’ve made the market pay from the beginning,” he said.

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