Viral Kirtesh left a successful farming venture to start an e-commerce entity, Findit.ke. One year on, he is thriving in the crowded online shopping market. How does one move from farmer to tech?
How did the idea of starting Findit.ke come about?
We started developing Findit.ke in February 2018. I was practising farming but with some interest in the e-commerce industry after realising missing gaps with those doing it. The idea was born after running another platform called ‘Sokompare’, which used to give customers an opportunity to choose from a variety of a products when shopping online. Sokompare helped customer compare prices and quality before choosing. In 2018, we re-named ‘Sokompare’ to ‘Find It’ to make it more global. This is when I left farming to manage the firm.
Why did you choose to get into e-commerce when it is getting crowded by the day?
I decided to join the competitive online shopping market because of the gap I identified. Other platforms sell products on behalf of other businesses. ‘Findit.ke’ gives the client an opportunity to sell their products themselves to the clients.
Also by offering a wide variety of the same product from different manufacturers, clients get the opportunity to compare prices and get the best deal.
Have you been previously engaged in e-commerce in any way?
I have been engaged in farming since leaving consultancy, which I practised after studying business administration in the UK and came back to Kenya.
How can a business or supplier join Findit.ke?
One has to register their business first,then choose the category of your business. We have the Bronze category, which is free but has a limited number of products of up to 20 listings. Silver where one pays Sh5,000 to list up to 50 products and Gold where you pay Sh12,000 for unlimited listings.
How many clients have subscribed to Findit.ke?
About 340 clients had signed up with us by last year December, a few months after we went online. Currently, we have more than 1,500 businesses that have signed up with us and we expect more after the official launch.
Are these businesses getting value for their money now that they have joined Findit.ke?
Yes they are. We have a monthly user base of more than 200,000 clients. This is a selling point for many businesses that sign up with us.
Technology is a key component to running a successful e-commerce business. Which one are you applying to give your Findit.ke clients value for their money?
We are investing much in the artificial intelligence systems. This is helping us know what people are looking out for out here. With this, we advise businesses accordingly on what clients are looking out for.
Any notable brand you have signed up in the Kenyan market?
Saj Ceramics, Numatic Africa, and Nairobi Sports House among many others. Some of the top businesses we have signed up sell kitchen appliances, tiles and players in the hospitality industry.
Which challenge can you single out as largely affecting the e-commerce industry?
Kenyans are used to the traditional ways of shopping. One sees a billboard, then they physically look for the product.
It is a challenge bringing the older generation who do shopping traditionally in spite of the fact that they are the ones with the buying power. How big is your workforce?
We have eight employees who are working on a permanent basis and 30 sales agents.
What is that one thing people don’t know about online shopping?
Many are not aware that some products have more than 100 suppliers from who they can do a comparison and get the best deal for the product they are looking for.
Any future plans for ‘Findit.ke’?
We are developing an app which will enable customers chat directly with sellers.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.