Kenya has been lauded as the continent’s startup hub thanks to the youthful, tech-savvy, and creative population in the country. Many have gone into entrepreneurship not only to make money but offer solutions for everyday problems. Additionally, the high unemployment rate has led people to think outside the box in order to earn a living.
Delivering packages on motorbikes wasn’t what Robert Mwalugha and Kennedy Okiya expected after graduating from the university. Like many Kenyans, they struggled to secure a job which inspired them to seek other income revenues. Little did they know that their side gig would lead to a bigger and better venture. For two years, the two friends and now business partners delivered packages all over Nairobi on motorbikes. Through this experience, they were able to identify problems online businesses faced in terms of delivery. This led them to form a logistics startup called Pick Up Mtaani.
Pick Up Mtaani offers door-to-door delivery services for small, online businesses across Nairobi. The founders realized that online businesses suffered losses as delivery costs made their products more expensive compared to businesses with physical shops. They then stepped in to provide places where such businesses can drop off small parcels for collection at an affordable rate.
This method of delivery is not only cheaper but also it’s reliable and convenient. Shoppers get their parcels without having to travel to the vendor’s location. Additionally, business owners can guarantee a secure delivery to their customers as they have physical pick-up points.
The service has increased in popularity during the pandemic due to lockdown restrictions and social distancing rules which have forced many businesses to close their physical locations. Pick Up Mtaani has helped businesses mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic by delivering products to clients’ doorstep on behalf of these businesses.
According to Robert Mwalugha, the business has been booming during the pandemic. They have seen a spike in demand for their services and in turn, has partnered with over 50 small businesses, where their premises serve as drop-off and pick-up locations in different residential areas of Nairobi. This includes Donholm, Rongai, South C, Ruaka, Karen, Kilimani, and many more. They also deliver over 500 packages on a daily basis.
However, their journey has not been without challenges. They had difficulty in finding appropriate storage bags to facilitate delivery during their initial stage but thanks to Ygap, an organization that offers support to startup businesses, they were able to overcome such challenges. They were also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since fewer people purchased things online.
Nonetheless, the founders have been able to overcome such challenges and have even created employment through their startup. Pick Up Mtaani currently employs 12 people including riders, social media marketers, and office support. They plan on expanding to other parts of the country and are currently setting up a platform where buyers and sellers can build trust and support e-commerce. The app will allow buyers to track their orders thus guaranteeing a safe delivery. They also plan on integrating mobile payment services on the app.