Sendy, a Kenyan transportation and marketing network, has entered Kisumu with its mobile technology platform that connects boda boda and taxi service providers to customers.
The firm’s new offering called Sendy RIDE adds to their parcel delivery services offered in Nairobi, Thika and Kisumu.
Sendy (with investment from Safaricom) diversified their transport services, adding boda boda and cab service providers to the marketplace.
They have already registered about 100 riders and taxis that pick up and drop people to the Kisumu International Airport, children to and from schools, deliver food from hotels to offices and homes and drugs from pharmacies to individuals, among other services.
Head of Logistics Don Okoth said the Sendy RIDE platform now connects users with affordable and friendly on-demand bicycle and cab services.
“We launched the platform two months ago in Kisumu in response to growing demand in the region. It’s a move to make Sendy a national platform connecting users and drivers across Kenya,” said Mr Okoth.
“We are growing quickly in the region and working hard to build brand awareness with users. We want to build a trusted transport network to match customer demand,” he added.
The company contracts riders and drivers and connects them to customers via a marketplace. Riders and drivers access the marketplace through an Android -Sendy Partner app, while customers access the platform though an iOS, Android, or web application. Sendy, as the intermediary, earns a fraction of the delivery and ride fees as commission from the riders and drivers for facilitating the sale.
“We have a strict and extensive vetting process to ensure we bring only the highest standard of service providers to the platform,” said Mr Okoth. “To ensure package and passenger safety and security, we enforce strict on-board rules around legal documents, tests, language skills, road behavior and attendance of weekly trainings.”
Since all Sendy partners are tracked in real-time through their Sendy Partner App, a user is able to see where their rider or driver is at all points throughout their order.
Upon delivery of an order, a rider or driver confirms inside their app that the order is complete, triggering an automatic SMS and email notification to the user with detailed metrics about the distance, duration, and price of that order.
For use of boda boda service, Sendy charges Sh90 base, inclusive of the first three kilometres and an additional Sh20 per extra kilometre.
Mr Okoth said the platform first launched with the Kisumu- based branches of their client companies in Nairobi.
Many new clients
“We’ve also recently signed up many new clients in Kisumu, including food joints and pharmacies,” he said.
The marketplace platform which was launched in September 2014 has over 1,000 company accounts in Nairobi and its environs.
Sendy, which seems to be growing fast beyond Nairobi is a major competitor to US- based taxi hailing service Uber.
Sendy expansion manager Jamie Murchison said they are currently recruiting more riders and drivers in Kisumu. “We will be hosting recruitment sessions for interested persons weekly.”
Sendy is also introducing their new product to Mombasa city.
But the challenge in recruitment has been the lack of smartphones and proper documentation among the boda boda riders and cab drivers, as these are compulsory requirements .
“Other than expanding the market, we are also focusing on improving the safety of riders. We educate riders on the importance of observing road safety regulations including using helmets and reflectors to protect them and their passengers,” said Mr Murchison
Last weekend, the company ran a promotion in the lakeside town to market Sendy RIDE, giving out free rides to Hippo Point on the shore of Lake Victoria
To redeem a free ride, one had to download the app, sign up and make a request for a boda boda ride.
On demand taxi and courier platforms have been growing in recent years, with several local and international companies gearing up to win customers by reducing the rates charged per kilometre.
While Uber, MaraMoja, Little Cabs, Mondo Ride, Teke Taxi and Kenya Taxi Cab are battlingforthe taxi space, Mondo Ride and MaraMoja were the only two ride-hailing platforms to date to offer boda boda services in the country, although this service seems to have disappeared from the apps of late, leaving Sendy as the only platform for boda boda rides.
Traditional industry operators have raised alarm that the new trend is eating big into their livelihood. However, experts say the reality that the technology is here to stay cannot be over emphasised.