Name: Deeq Mohamed Afrika
Company Name: Gulivery
Date Launched: October 2017
1. How did you come up with your idea and what was the inspiration behind it?
The idea for Gulivery actually came from my wife. Right after we moved to Hargeisa, we realised that there were no delivery companies here at all. It was even more apparent, since we lived in Masalaha, which is near the airport and far from almost everything. We realised that we were spending a lot of money on taxi’s to get stuff delivered to us or constantly driving up and down for our groceries and food, which wasn’t ideal. One day, my wife said, “maybe we should start a delivery company, since there are none out here, let’s set one up here in Hargeisa ” and that’s where Gulivery started.
2. What is your elevator pitch (your business in a snapshot)?
Gulivery provides third party delivery services to restaurants, groceries, shops and e-commerce platforms. Gulivery enables individuals and small businesses to trade and connect with our drivers to request on-demand or scheduled delivery.
3. How did you know there was a market for your product?
After we moved to Hargeisa, we, ourselves realised that we would definitely pay for such service, we asked around our friends and family living in Hargeisa and Mogadishu both and they all said that they would definitely pay for such service. So, based on that we build initial concept and tested it out for 1 month, delivering to friends and family in Masalaha area in Hargeisa. Based on this trial, we’ve realised that there is definitely a demand for last-mile services.
4. Describe your business model – how do you make money?
We partner with the best restaurants, groceries, shops and e-commerce platforms (be it big or small) and get their products on our platform for our customers to order from, we use motorcycles to delivery within 60mins and we charge customers delivery fee based on their distance from the business they ordered from.
5. When did you launch and tell us a bit about the challenges of getting started?
We wanted to launch in June 2017 before the summer high season in Somaliland. However, we had to redesign our app, we finally launched 9th of October 2017.
6. How did you finance your start-up?
We financed our startup with our own savings initially and then received seed money from a Burco based Angel Investor.
7. To date, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?
Since the beginning, we knew that our main target groups were on social media, so we kept trying different ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, that gave us the right exposure we needed. Later, we’ve added word-of-mouth through social media, which has been the most successful form of marketing for us to date. Right now, we’re exploring other forms of marketing for the high/summer season Insha Allah.
8. What have been the key challenges to date?
Alhamdulilaah, so far, all the challenges we have come across, have only made us increase our bottom line. However, we have come across some interesting challenges, such as; making businesses understand the value you are bringing to them, finding the right talent to work with. Even though, there are many young unemployed graduates available, we have had issues finding the right fit for us. Some of the key and important positions we need are talented motorcycle drivers, which is also a challenge finding sometimes. Furthermore, in Mogadishu, some of the challenges are the sudden road closers for security reasons, but luckily our drivers continue finding short cuts and solutions.
9. Tell us about your biggest mistake and what you’ve learned from it?
When starting a business, you always make some mistakes and we surely have made some mistakes along the way, but alhamdulilaah, we’ve learned a lot from all our mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes we’ve made initially was underestimating the power of word of mouth and heavily relying social media only.
10. Tell us about your future vision for the company and where you see yourself in 5 years?
My vision for Gulivery is to make it the number one partner for moving packages door-to-door in East Africa in the next 5 years, with operations in all main cities in East Africa.
11. What are your plans for ‘giving back to the community’?
My business partner and I believe in giving back to the community. We have both decided to allocate percentage of our annual profit to good causes and big chunk of that to orphans Insha Allah.
This is the first in our series profiling startups in Somaliland so stay tuned for the newest updates. If you have ideas for other startups we could potentially include then contact us and our team will have a look.
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