This week we are with Fundi App startup. Fundi App is a handyman on demand services that uses digital application connecting vetted handymen with clients for both domestic and commercial needs. Whether you are in need for installation, repair and maintenance needs Fundi App has got you covered.
They were established since June of 2019 with three co-founders Paul Mpokwa, Godfrey Kilimwomeshi and Christopher Shoo. Their slogan states that, “Maisha ni Rahisi na Fundi App.” Meaning Fundi App provides you with convenience, quality and affordability when it comes to their services making your life simple. Tech & Media Convergency (TMC) sat down with Paul Mpokwa in an interview and he shared in detail about their application and services. They are located at Upanga East, in Dar es Salaam.
The Attended Problem and Inspiration
To find a reliable handyman on your own can be risky, expensive and time consuming. Fundi App mentioned that the problem they are trying to solve to their customers is getting handymen who prioritize affordability, quality and reliability when delivering their services, also ensuring their Service Providers are well vetted. The Fundi App has managed to secure professional handymen overtime and they look forward to build the most trusted network of informal service providers.
Paul speaks of what inspired the establishment of Fundi App, “I have been on the receiving end of the problem for a really long time, when I did an initial market research and talked to friends and family I realized it is a very common pain point.
“So I decided to do a deeper market research with my fellow co-founders to understand the root of the problem, this time we spoke to the service providers and the receivers of such services, it was evidently consistent that this is a problem that needed addressing so that inspired us to start Fundi App with one goal in mind to connect skilled, vetted handymen and the customers.” He adds
Investing on the Idea
“What we had we invested into our business, including a set of our complimentary skills, I can say it was a good start and lucky enough in that very same year we won a Dar to Change Tanzania, it was a Start Up tournament that was hosted by Digital Opportunity Trust, the pre-seed fund that was awarded to us helped in the registration of our business and setting up the operations.” Say Paul
They have attracted investors both internally and externally, in the year 2020 they won the Von Seidels Brand Protection Prize during the Africa cup and were able to raise 5000 dollars; in 2021 they were named the top 20 solutions in Africa, hosted by the Africa Development Bank and were able to raise 20,000 Dollars.
How the Services Work
With the mobile app, the customer has to register then set your location afterwards the app uses your location to find you the nearest Fundi in your area, then once the Fundi is located all the handyman’s detail will be displayed and you can request him or her, the payment can be done through the mobile app or in cash once the Fundi has completed his or her task. This service is usually targeted to their type one customers that are homeowners
The second type of their targeted customers are the business to business (B2B).The web application is more effective with their corporate partners, for they work with people in construction, infrastructures and renewable energy so once they have an interest, Fundi App supplies them with their workforce, then they log in the web app, speak of their interest and go in a series of negotiations and at the end come into an agreement.
The Marketing Approach with Fundi App uses both traditional and digital marketing when it comes to their services. Paul tells the use of traditional development process is more effective to their corporate customers as it is through referrals while the digital marketing is effective to the household customers since they use social media and advertisement to reach them.
The Eco-System Positioning and Achievements
“Regardless of the existence of other similar initiatives, Fundi App has a wider market compared to the others, our Fundi’s are reliable and offer quality services, the target customers from other initiatives are usually homeowners, while we have integrated further to businesses dealing with the infrastructure sectors, the renewable energy and mining sectors, also we provide you with insurance protection which covers property damage or rare theft.” Says Paul
They have managed to partner with one of the leading companies in distributing solar power in East and West Africa while providing them with installation, repair maintenance services in the Eastern zone. The awards won are, the Dare to Change Tanzania awards hosted by Digital Opportunity Trust in 2019, The Von Seidels Brand Protection Prize in 2020 and being announced as the top 20 solutions by the Africa Development Bank in 2021 all the awards came with the funding that helped in running their operations. They have also managed to build a data base of over 1000 certified service providers and 700 household have been serviced by the Fundi App.
Paul says, “I wouldn’t have waited to have a perfect product in order to launch and I think it’s the obsession that most people have but the best of the product are never finished and that’s why even with our mobile apps we update them every once in a while because there is new features that have been added, so I do believe you do not have to wait for perfection if you have a working prototype just take it to the market, at the end of the day the product isn’t as important as the service that you would be providing.”
The Covid-19 Pandemic Impact
When asked about what impact their platform encountered during the pandemic outbreak Paul said “The Covid-19 pandemic breakout affected our operations tremendously especially during its peak time in the mid-2020, by that time many households had questions as to how are they going to protect their families and whether these handymen were taking enough precautions to protect themselves and their customers from getting affected.”
He adds “With lives at stake we had two groups to attend to; one group fearing their families’ safety and others fearing their job security, with this we had to think of a way to make sure we attend to both groups in a manner that neither of them will be at risk.”
They opted to change the way their services were delivered from direct handymen services to business-to-business handymen services. By doing so they managed to stay afloat and attended to their users’ needs.
Paul’s thoughts on the Tech ecosystem
Paul addressed the gender gap that’s within the tech-industry and pleads with the Government and society for new reforms, “There is a stigma that the tech-industry is suited for men rather than females, I think it’s time we change the narrative and partner with technical institutions, send out a message and say this is a work that females can get involved in as well and it can also bring an entirely different perspective when we have females doing technical works, I believe females can be as crafty if not more when working with their hands.”
Fundi App hopes to build more and scale up their digital solutions beyond Tanzania for the problem they are solving is massive and exists in other Eastern African countries as well.
For further details about Fundi App visit Tech & Media Convergency (TMC) you tube channel, like, share and subscribe for more insightful stories, one can also access the online conversation about Fundi App across all social media platforms using the hash tag #ImpactTechTZ
To read more about our reports featuring Startups in Tanzania https://bit.ly/ImpactTechTZ2021-Report