3 Replies Latest reply on Dec 12, 2017 9:53 AM by Joseph Semuju

    Sendy and the purchase - delivery Future of East Africa.

    Joseph Semuju


      Sendy is a platform for on-demand, door-to-door, and package delivery services. Schedule a delivery in minutes with the Sendy app. No sitting in traffic or standing in long lines.

      In Kenya, there exists traditional courier companies that might do overnight or same-day delivery, but they don't do immediate delivery, and they might not go residential. This calls for the likes of Sendy Kenya to grasp such an immediate mobility related market gap.

      Sendy initially worked with motorbike riders - known popularly in Kenya as boda bodas - but has expanded to include pick-up trucks, large vans and cyclists.

      These are all crowd-sourced riders. Sendy does not physically own any of the vehicles or the bicycles, and all the riders, cyclists and drivers work for themselves on the Sendy Kenya platform.

      The platform operates in a way that would be familiar to any user of Uber - a user enters the required delivery route, and is given a price quote. Once the pick-up is requested, users can track the rider, and then follow a package to its point of delivery.

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      Payment is made through a pre-registered credit card, or using the popular M-Pesa mobile money transfer platform.

      How Sendy Solves Mobility Issues in Kenya and the future

      Sendy started by using very simple technology that worked with basic phones, using SMS and USSD technology and GPS trackers on bikes. But as the price of smartphones come down day by day, the company rolled out a hybrid app that also works on riders' smartphones.

      It solves a mobility issue/problem using existing assets and people. Users/Clients are not required to buy fancy expensive gadgets to use the service.

      Since it launched its first product in April 2014, Sendy has completed over 20,000 deliveries averaging between 200 and 300 per day, and has over 60 active riders on the platform, all of whom are vetted first for a placement.

      On regulations, Sendy ensures its riders have full insurance policies for their motorcycles. It also takes two weeks to vet the motorcycle riders, know their homes and health and criminal history if any. Once a rider enlists on the Sendy system, his location can be monitored to protect both him and the cargo or parcel. The geo-location protects Sendy, the riders as well as Sendy customers’ property.

      For every Sendy rider, reliability of work is a key attraction on the platform. Riders take away 80% of each delivery fee, which starts at a base amount of KES240 ($2.40; £1.60) for the first 7km.

      Riders are always sure in a day they will get work because there are so many customers on the Sendy platform. When a rider on Sendy, they are sure at the end of the day they will have something in their pockets, something like a take home.

      In fact over 75% of daily deliveries are done for corporate business accounts/clients and the rest for individuals.

      Sendy works with businesses including e-commerce firms dispatching purchased goods around the bustling Kenyan capital, food companies offering home delivery, and pharmacies moving medicine to patients.

      The company continuously hopes to launch investment rounds having successfully attracted funding from corporate and tech investment funds, as well as local angels, in an earlier investment in 2014.

      The Initiative indeed is eager to expand to new cities both within Kenya and beyond using hoped for funding in the next/future investment rounds.

      I think their big challenge is really scaling it to get as many people as possible onto the service before some big international player checks into the market, which potentially could compromise the opportunity to grow.

      Already in Kenya, there are other on-demand service providers like EasyTaxi and Uber doing well in their own areas of mobility work.

      Increasingly, I could see such providers moving into markets like Mombasa and Nakuru. I think Sendy do have the same potential, but the question at the end of the day is really whether they have the resources to expand.

      Sendy as a company also hopes that the service will help to offer solutions to some basic mobility infrastructural problems that are common in the East African region generally.

      Traffic is a huge issue, infrastructure of roads is an issue, quality of data on a map is an issue, addressing is an issue, actually having a house number is an issue, street naming is an issue too.

      As Sendy provides such on demand services, it also improves a lot of the base infrastructure. For example it can collect data on all clients’ addresses, to save these addresses and understand residential locations.

      Sendy capitalizes on the fact that it can beat the traffic by using individuals on two wheels, cyclists or riders. These are real challenges as well as opportunities for Sendy to extend alternative mobility solutions.

      Sendy does not do shopping or tasks for anyone.  It does deliveries only.


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      Joseph Semuju, Community Manager, African Mobilities Observatory (AMO), Uganda.