Kenyan social e-commerce startup expanding to Nigeria, Tanzania

February 3, 2016
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A Kenyan tech startup, which has found a way of linking social media and e-commerce, is now expanding to Nigeria and Tanzania, just four months after launching in Nairobi.

Mookh is making its entrance in Nigeria this month and will be accessible in Tanzania in March. Small businesses in these countries will join Kenyan merchants who are now selling their products to clients directly through their social media pages.

Launched in September 2015, mookh provides an e-commerce solution for businesses that have a social media presence. Customers can buy physical products or digital products like music, videos, photos, e-books, tickets on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Eric Thimba, CEO and Co-Founder of Mookh, says the application gives merchants a credible and easy way to monetize their social media fan base. Thimba adds that though the start-up had pan-African ambitions from the beginning, they didn’t expect to expand to other countries this soon.

“The expansion into these markets has been prompted by certain merchants in Nigeria and Tanzania that have requested us to set up shop there much earlier than we expected. So even as we enter into these markets we already have businesses that we will be rolling out with which is great,” Thimba told CapitalFM.

Nigeria presents a huge opportunity for mookh, with 15 million active Facebook users compared to Kenya’s 4.5 million. However, Thimba is alive to the fact that mookh may encounter unique challenges in the populous nation but he is confident the talented team is up for the challenge.

Mookh, which is short for mukwanja (money), was developed after Thimba encountered the challenges of trying to close sells on a heat patch product for period pains he was selling some time back.

“A significant amount of my marketing was on Facebook and I was getting a number of queries regarding my product with people asking how they could get it, how much it was etc. It bothered me that I had to keep referring people to the retail outlets because when I would try to ask them to M-PESA me or to give me their delivery address so I could deliver the item, the communication would go cold,” says Thimba.

Thimba, and his partners, knew they had to come up with a solution that would make it easier and cheaper for merchants to use, and one that customers would trust. Four months down the line, mookh has facilitated 3,200 transactions and serviced over 52 merchants.

“There are no barriers to entry, no set up costs… It literally takes 5 minutes or less and you have a store on your Facebook fan page, Instagram or Twitter page that can take payments (mobile money and card) and we also, through the system, organize for delivery of physical products,” expounds Thimba.

Mookh charges per transaction, taking 8 percent for products and tickets, 5 percent for donations and 15 percent for digital content.

The team, which has now grown to seven, had an initial angel investor whose investment helped the idea get off the ground but since then, it has been “blood, sweat and tears”, as Thimba puts it. However, Mookh has received significant interest from investors and they are hoping to secure funding in March.

One of the key strategic goals the team set out to fulfill, and which Thimba advises every techpreneur should pick, is the need to build solutions that go beyond the city or country.

“I have noticed that a number of tech solutions are local solutions but I would challenge techpreneurs to imagine pan-african and even global solutions. We have the energy and ambition to conceptualize and actualize global solutions. Africa is the future meaning that I truly believe that the great brands of tomorrow will be African brands,” argues Thimba.

Through the platform, the team hopes to create stories of people that became millionaires using mookh.

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