[R] Startup19 - Assets

Sendy: AWS Startup Stories Notes from Founders Vol1

Amazon Web Services Resources EMEA

Issue link: https://emea-resources.awscloud.com/i/1146508

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3 STARTUP STORIES Notes from Founders: Sendy 'At first, it was hard getting people on board' Sendy arrived before Uber hit the market in Kenya so we had massive challenges getting people to use their phones to book and trust a service. You're basically asking a community of people who've never used apps for convenience and efficiency to install and use Sendy. People here are used to making phone calls where they negotiate prices and haggle. When Uber came to the market, it helped us immensely. Uber taught people to trust apps on their phones, so once Uber was on the scene, we could go to talk to people and say: 'Have you ever used Uber? We are just like Uber, but we move packages rather than people.' 'We're changing the way companies do business in Nairobi' Sendy is solving a massive infrastructural limitation of developing countries. We're building data on maps and giving people access to affordable delivery drivers. Much like Uber, we go through a vetting process with the drivers we work with. We move all types of goods from an envelope to a container of cement, and charge by the type of vehicle used rather than by the weight of the delivery. Now that Sendy is around, companies can lose the cost of maintaining an in-house fleet or the hassle of finding a random driver on the corner. 'There are difficult moments every week and every day' Access to funding in Africa is really difficult, and when you do get funding, the amounts are a lot less than if you were starting a business in a developed country. Africa is considered 'risky', which means investors are willing to invest less, and want to see your company reach profitability faster. The reins are much tighter on local startups like ours. It's harder to expand if you're tight on funds. Our first investment round was $600,000, then there was a bridge round, and we recently did a $2 million round, so in total, we've injected just $3 million in 3.5 years. In the United States or another developed country, that would have been $50-100 million at this point. 'We manage to make it work with minimal funding' One benefit of running a company out of Kenya is that operating costs are cheaper and you have less competition. There's no one else here who does what we do. Plus, the problem is so big that if you solve a little bit of it, you'll make money and keep customers happy. We have more in terms of funding now, but I should also say that money doesn't solve everything. We have more money, but the scope of our problems is much larger because now we have thousands of customers and do thousands of deliveries every day. We would love to move even faster though. If we were in the US, we wouldn't have to worry about problems with un- addressed locations, connectivity or access to decent smartphones. Here people often have budget smartphones without much space so they have to pick and choose which apps they'll install. Most people just want Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

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