SpaceX is advertising a position for growth manager of its Starlink Internet service in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The role — first reported by Space in Africa — is open for applications on the Greenhouse recruitment website.
SpaceX explained that it was looking for someone to join the Starlink Growth team, which is responsible for launching, growing, and improving the service.
The successful candidate will be accountable for Starlink’s growth and success in the region, identifying and removing barriers to growth, championing user experience, and driving initiatives to accelerate adoption.
The role will be based in Nairobi, Kenya, from where the growth manager will report to a team at Starlink’s Hawthorne, California headquarters.
The growth manager’s responsibilities will entail the following:
- Own growth of active consumer subscriber base in the region, identifying blockers and prioritising levers for growth
- Set vision, develop strategy, and manage a budget around consumer growth initiative strategies, and tactics to meet company goals in the region
- Deeply understand the customer experience in a country, elevating insights to drive localised improvements
- Develop dashboards to track progress, drive improvements to growth and operational metrics, work with the operations team to create forecasts, and communicate to the broader Starlink team and senior leadership
- Engage with local partners to drive efforts catered to the market, understand what’s working and what’s not, and drive continuous improvement
- Champion key strategic consumer-focused projects end-to-end by collaborating and working cross-functionally with Operations, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, and Support teams
The basic qualifications required to be considered for the position include a Bachelor’s degree, five or more years of experience in consulting or project management, and three or more years of experience in Excel and SQL.
In addition, SpaceX demands two or more years of leading in interdisciplinary projects. The candidate must also have residency and work authorisation in Africa.
Other preferred skills and experience that will benefit applicants include:
- Bachelor’s degree in business, supply chain, management information systems, computer science, engineering, or economics disciplines
- 8+ years of relevant work experience in go-to-market, growth, international operations, consulting, software, Internet, and/or media industries, or early-stage companies
- Proven ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment
- Experience leading complex operational and strategic initiatives
- Demonstrated track record of cross-functional stakeholder management and leadership through influence
- Distinctive project management, problem-solving, and analysis skills, combined with business judgment and top communication skills
- Experience working in broadband Internet or other consumer product industries
- Master’s degree in management, engineering, or supply chain
SpaceX added it would prioritise applicants with a current right to work in Kenya.
They must also be willing to travel approximately 50% of the time and work extended hours and over weekends as needed.
It also stressed it does not have regional offices everywhere in the world and the candidate might not work from a SpaceX office.
No clarity on South African rollout
Many tech companies operate their Sub-Saharan Africa offices out of South Africa because the country is among the most well-developed on the continent.
However, Starlink’s estimated rollout date in South Africa has remained “unknown”, whereas the service has already been available in Kenya for four months.
Six other Sub-Saharan African countries — Benin, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia — have also launched Starlink.
In addition, the company has given estimated rollout dates for the vast majority of the other countries in the region before the end of 2024.
Aside from South Africa, the only four countries that don’t yet have a planned launch date are Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mali, and South Sudan.
SpaceX’s enterprise director Phillip van Essen previously told Mining Weekly that the company prioritised countries that made it easy to get approval for Starlink.
It is possible that the role of the growth manager could include expanding the service into countries where Starlink has not passed the necessary legal hurdles.
In South Africa, Starlink requires an electronic communications services (ECS) licence to sell its service directly to customers.
It would also need an electronic communications network services (ECNS) licence to roll out ground stations to improve the service’s performance.
To acquire these licences, the Electronic Communications Act determines that SpaceX — or its local subsidiary or partner — must be 30% owned by historically disadvantaged groups — including black people, women, youth, or disabled people.
Complicating matters further is that the licence will have to be acquired “second hand” from a willing seller, as South Africa’s telecoms regulator — Icasa — is not currently accepting applications for new licences.
It recently emerged that even government-owned fibre network operator Broadband Infraco cannot apply for an ECS licence.
Icasa has not explained why it has not published a new invitation to apply for these licences in more than a decade.
Alternatively, SpaceX could work with a local partner that already meets the requirements.
However, this could make its subscription more expensive as the partner would have to take a cut to make such an arrangement financially sensible.
Although several companies have already confirmed distribution agreements with SpaceX, they have shied away from mentioning availability in South Africa in the near future.
Despite no official local rollout, over 4,000 South Africans are using imported Starlink kits with a regional or global roaming subscription to access the Internet.
Two Internet service providers (ISPs) that specialise in importing and managing Starlink on behalf of end-users — Starsat Africa and IcasaSePush — recently reduced their subscription prices substantially.