James Munyeria set out to sell honey online and did set up an e-commerce platform for his venture.
He enrolled several women groups dealing in honey production and for a while enjoyed considerable traffic on his nascent site. However, sooner than later he experienced a new hurdle when no one delivered paid orders while it took long to receive payment for delivered goods.
”I lost money when I closed my young business but saw a new opportunity in handling payments and deliveries for local firms,” he says.
He started toying with the idea of coming up with a platform that will cure such delays in payments. This delays, he adds, has brought down many a young business.
He also desired to create a system that would ensure that payment is only made when goods have been delivered. He had in mind a system that would ensure that “money paid for a product is not released to a dealer until a product has been delivered to a customer.”
While still smarting from the heavy losses incurred when his first online business shut its doors, Mr Munyeria started gradually picking up the pieces by handling web development consultancy jobs.
He painstakingly saved what he earned from these jobs. It is these savings that he used to once more establish a new platform known as mzizzi.com. He set up the platform as a joint venture with his longtime friend Dayvee Ngugi, a fintech expert specialising in customer relationship management systems.
”I set up web and mobile phone-based portals for logistic firms as I clearly understand what they go through. I have added (to the system) payment solutions from mobile phone-based, card-based and direct bank to bank transfer-based payments,” he says.
Mr Munyeria and Mr Ngugi also set up a company, Paytree Group Ltd that runs the platform.
The duo have been doing quite well, and their innovation has started receiving the attention of experts. The company was declared this year’s winner in the just concluded Connected ICT Kenya Summit held in Nairobi last week.
Mzizzi.com emerged as the best manufacturing sector platform that endeared itself to the judges for its ‘Just-in-Time’ capabilities where manufacturers can link their warehouses to their distributors’ networks for automated payments and deliveries.
Mr Ngugi says distributors could send payments for goods, and schedule deliveries from the manufacturer when they deplete their stocks. This ensures no cash is held while no debt remains unpaid for long periods.
”Manufacturers now prefer instant payments and our platform ensures no goods will be released to a client before payments are made,” he says.
“We earn a 4.5 per cent commission that includes pickup and charge for onward deliveries to a client.”
Mzizzi.com, he says, has integrated a pick-and-deliver service to ensure orders received and paid for are delivered within set timelines with Nairobi customers receiving day deliveries and upcountry orders see deliveries made overnight.
The platform also allows traders to open their own portals where customers can log in to view products on offer at a client’s shop but payment is made via Paytree Group to safeguard the interests of the customers and traders.
The Connected Kenya ICT competition sought entries from competitors with solutions that fast-track implement of the government’s Big 4 agenda items of manufacturing, healthcare, housing and food security.