One Kiosk Africa is an Instacart for the Continent, using a marketplace approach to aggregate local and medium scale retailers across various communities leveraging on Geolocation and Machine Learning to connect customers with sellers based on their location and preference. This helps the Startup to achieve efficient delivery circle of one-hour to a user for direct shopping while their open market list service achieves same day delivery.
One Kiosk Africa, thus, use the data generated from the system to provide access to finance for Small Businesses. Over 14,000 SMBs have benefited from this service which is available on Web and mobile app. One Kiosk Africa is among the 10 Startups fully sponsored by the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) to exhibit at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) 2020 edition. The Co-founder and CEO of One Kiosk Africa, Adeshina Adewumi in this interview with the Editor of TechEconomy.ng, Peter Oluka, speaks generally on eCommerce in Africa and how the company’s plan for $500,000 seed fund round.
Tell us about One Kiosk Africa
Adesina: One Kiosk Africa is basically an online marketplace that connects sellers to buyers based on their location. This, obviously helps us to achieve one-hour delivery time. We have been able to support over 14,000 retailers and shop owners which translates to over $630,000 in transaction volumes as at October 2020.
Q: Before the establishment of One Kiosk Africa you have been actively involved in the Nigerian startup ecosystem. What have been your experience overtime?
Adesina: The ecosystem is fast-growing. For us, we believe in the potentials. However, there are still some key things that must be put in place to enable the ecosystem develop more. The most critical is the policy instrument to support the startups and the budding entrepreneurs that are emerging by the day. We could actually have something close to what exists in Tunisia where Startups are encouraged to beat those dark-days when most of them shutdown. It is also key for us to grown our talents – there are still huge gaps even though we know that a lot of resources and investments have gone into developing tech talents and all that. But it’s a work in progress and we should push harder to support the existing solutions locally. The support could be infrastructural facilities.
Q: When you say One Kiosk Africa connects sellers to buyers based on their location, how do you achieve that?
Adesina: One Kiosk was built with Geo-location feature embedded in the technology. Therefore, when a user goes with the app it automatically pulls the location and shows you retail outlets around you. However, if a user finds him/herself in a location where no stores exists, then you can decide to change the location which increases the longitude and latitude, maybe to 20 kilometers or thereabout. That will enable the user to see stores closest to him/her.
When an order is placed, sellers do not have to stress themselves because we also have an embedded last-mile delivery flow in our system whereby independent, trained and verified delivery agents and logistics companies are hooked up to make deliveries. This is based on their availability in that location.
Q: What was your experience during the COVID-19 lockdown?
Adesina: For us, COVID-19 a blessing in disguise even though we are saddened by the deaths; the lives lost during this period. However, it made a lot of Nigerians, and indeed Africans to adopt technology. This led to excess demands that we could actually meet up with. There was breach in the supply as a result of issues around the delivery flow. In some places restrictions affected delivery time. But we were able to maximize this period to jump our numbers. Our numbers grew in the month of April by over 500% and from then till now our services have grown by nothing less than 200% Month-to-Month.
Q: Are you confident that post-COVID these numbers (of buyers online or users) will maintain their interest in online marketplace?
Adesina: What the Pandemic has done, especially in the Northern Nigeria, is that, it made people to gradually build a culture; now they have realized they can relax at home and shop conveniently from their homes and have the item(s) delivered seamlessly.
Q: Does it address the reputational or trust issue associated with eCommerce in Nigeria?
Adesina: We have been able to work around the issue of trust through a loyal customer base; these are people, based on their experience shopping online can now use the word of mouth to refer others. They have become our self-appointed ambassadors; sharing positive experience based on their customer journey. That is very key to us because it is part of what we are addressing. If you also look at it, there is always a touch point, either on the app or webpage where users can give instant feedback on experience. And because we do not offer Pay-On-Delivery, we assure our customers that if they do not get quality service they can get a refund. These, overtime, have built trust and helped users to even safe up to 25% of their spent from month-to-month.
Q: On delivery, are you going to put bikes on the road?
Adesina: For us at One Kiosk we model our operations to be lean on spending, especially in our CAPEX. So, our model is like that of Uber that have cars on the road but actually do not own a car. We work with individuals who own bikes or vehicles, take them through a training process and they can begin to pick-up items for delivery based on their location.
On the other hand, we have strategically extended handshake to GoKada and Bolt who also do our delivery based on the size of something.
Q: If an order is not delivered as when expected, who should the buyer approach for redress? One Kiosk, the seller or deliveryman?
Adesina: Obviously, the buyer will come to us because we are the intermediates. However, the way we operate, there is no way an order will be pending for 24-hours. Speed delivery is very critical in e-commerce business. As expectant buyer, you can track the delivery process. For us, we monitor when a delivery moves from green light to red light, which implies that the delivery is getting late. We take action immediately.
Q: Let’s talk about GITEX: What One Kiosk Africa’s target?
Adesina: Currently, we have been able to build trust locally. We have been able to also pull investments locally. However, we are trying to close-up $500,000 seed fund. Within the few days at GITEX, we saw a lot of people who are interested; both partners and investors. We are actually looking to consolidate on that to close the funding round within the next few weeks; maximum Q1 2021. The fund is at a pre-money valuation of $2.3 million which we looking to translate to 11-15% equity exchange.
Q: Where do you see eCommerce in Africa in the next five years?
Adesina: Within the next five years, I actually do not see ecommerce to be something we are still saying is the future. It is going to be a norm; something that has become part of our life. eCommerce will grow to a level people will not view it as a new technology rather it will become necessary part of our daily lives.
If you really look at it, this is quite strategic. The pandemic came just before the adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) whereby a lot of Unions and Associations like the African Union and a lot of individuals and organisations are championing for the adoption of digital economy. I think, eCommerce value chain has a lot of contribute towards the realization of AfCTA goals. That is actually a great means to facilitate free-trade and digital growth of the economy. So, I believe eCommerce has come to stay and according to Boston Consulting Group by 2025 eCommerce has the potential to create three million new jobs. We are already on track towards contributing our quarter.
Q: How can I use One Kiosk Africa solution?
Adesina: All you have to do is just visit the Google Play Store or Apple Store and type: One Kiosk. The app will appear readily for download and you start using it.
Q: How heavy or light is the app?
Adesina: The app on Android is actually less than 20MB and for iOS we all know the power of the iPhone and it can accommodate very well.