The startups’ culture is now centre-stage in most developed nations. In fact, it’s one of the pivotal drivers to the growth of those economies. A startup is a business that’s started in pursuance of a reproducible business model that’s also scalable. It’s basically a business in its early stages of development. A business can actually be termed a startup for a period of up to 10 years. Locally the startup culture is steadily gaining traction but still has a long way to go. I believe one of the causes of that is lack of sustainable funding whilst the other one lies in lack of professionalism amongst most startup entrepreneurs. Anyways, let me discuss some exciting startups in Zimbabwe that wield the potential to become game changers.
This ride-hailing service was introduced locally last year in October. Just recently it was reported that at least 10 000 people have applied to be partners under the service. By partners I mean those that’ll be providing their rides for ride-hailing. This is a very remarkable feat but it still remains to be seen if actual ROIs are actually being realized. I’m made to say that owing to the fact that Uber recently had its IPO but is still operating at a loss. I recently highlighted in an article some of the interesting services that they are yet to roll out such Vaya Shuttle, Hooper and Club. So far the Vaya Lift service is what has taken off. Vaya is a potential game changer as it’s poised to disrupt the local mass transportation industry.
Hwindi is also a ride-hailing service that seeks to make strides in the mass transportation industry. It was started sometime in 2016; they also provide delivery and towing services. The startup caters for the Zimbabwean and also South African markets. Its inclusion is quite interesting because it means there will be a much-needed competition. Interestingly, there was even some public mention of how Vaya actually stole the idea from Hwindi. However, it, later on, emerged that both Vaya and Hwindi got their white label (customizable) online platforms from the same company.
Fresh In A Box
This is a startup that’s specializing in the delivery of vegetables, meat and grocery products. They receive orders from clients through their online platform (WhatsApp) then they source the orders from their wide network of produce sellers. They are leveraging on the relative affordability and widespread use of WhatsApp. Essentially, one makes an order through their WhatsApp number and can make payments in Ecocash. Alternatively, you can order through their site.
So it seems many businesses are now taking advantage of e-commerce to push their products. Nyama Farma has come onboard to become the first local online butchery shop. They provide meats in super, commercial and economy classes and deliver right at your doorstep. You just go their website and place your orders there. Payment methods are several including Ecocash and Telecash.
This yet another on-demand food delivery service where you can order a meal and get it delivered to your location. They have an app that you can download from the Google Play store and use it to place orders. Deliveries can only be done for about 14 residential areas in Harare but plans are underway to widen the delivery network. This startup has vast potential and I feel they should do more to market and refine their service.
This has been around since the mid-90s but only used to operate through a mobile call-in number people would use to place orders. This business provides delivery services for Simbisa Brands such as Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Steers, Rocomamas and Nandos. Now they have a mobile app that provides more convenience as opposed to calling in orders which can be expensive. You can get more details or even order on their website and also get links to download the mobile app on the Google Play store or iOS store.
I’ve often pointed out the importance of e-commerce even citing that some of the world’s richest billionaires (particularly Jeff Bezos who’s the richest man on earth) are e-commerce titans. So I’m super confident that anyone who can make a mark in e-commerce will make huge amounts of money. That’s why I have to mention 10ngah here which is an e-commerce startup that came onto the scene 6 years ago. Unfortunately, local mobile money payments are no longer available due to the local monetary policy instabilities. The only payment methods available which are relatively suited for our local scene are Standard Chartered bank account holders and the option of cash on delivery. Actually, the hurdle of all-inclusive payments for the local market is what’s hampering the progress of e-commerce growth in Zimbabwe. Otherwise, 10ngah has so much potential to become a local e-commerce giant.
These are 7 local startups that I believe are the future and will inculcate in people an appreciation for current and emerging global trends. The premising of more and more businesses online is where we are headed so it needs people to get acquainted and conditioned for that. The more we have startups like these emerging we will definitely become more attuned to the current trends in this tech age. There is a need for funding frameworks through venture capitalists, angel investors and business hubs, amongst others. One of the biggest impediments for most promising startups is the lack of sustainable funding.