Meka.ug is a web and mobile service designed to help buyers quickly find information about cost, availability and location of items that they are interested in. Meka is the largest product related database in Uganda that is freely accessible in Uganda and presents real-time information readily accessible to end users. Meka is Luganda for how much. Meka was launched at DEMO Africa in Nairobi on 26th October 2012 after being selected among the Top 40 Ventures in Africa.Here is what they told us.
What problem do you solve?
Time is one thing we can never have enough of. Yet as shopper we waste a lot of time moving up streets and shops/malls looking for particular products on our market or looking for a better price. Meka saves a buyer time and money by present all this information with ease. Instant price comparison, location identification as well as avail contact information of the store.
Basically when one wants to buy something, they can either visit our website and do a search where they will get information of where to buy or use their mobile phones. On mobile, Meka is accessible via SMS where a short text is sent to our short code and a reply with vendor, price and contact information is received in a flash or from our Android app available on Google play.
Are you doing only price comparison or are a full e-commerce portal?Right now the service we provide is Search and Find, as well as coupon on discounts on selected items. We are working on completing the whole process, where one will be able to search, find and buy. This will be possible in the near future
Take us through your features.From Meka one is able to search for a particular product and instantly get to know the price, the vendor as well as the location, one is able to get amazing discounts on a number of items whereby they receive a Unique code by SMS that they use to redeem their discounts at the vendor. This only does not save the planet by removing the use of print coupons, it is also very convenient. Meka has vanity URLs where by a store/vendor get a customized virtual store ex htchub.meka.ug from this store front, a user is able to browse items from that particular vendor alone.
How many platforms are you on -iOS Android etc.SMS for feature phones, Mobile site for an internet enabled phone and Android. We are currently working on the iOS app as well as the other platforms.
With only a couple of months in service, we already have some of the biggest stores and vendors in country listed on Meka. As of today, we have over 200 Vendors listed. These ranged from the small store down the road to the big upscale stores. What this means is on Meka you are able to find variety.
Any competition in Uganda?
There are a number of classified websites but these are not directly competition considering Meka works with only registered companies, vendors with physical location. This is to ensure that when a product is purchased through Meka the buyer is assure that they can always reach the vendor after the sale is done which is not the case with classifieds where a product is sold as is without any warranty.
Simply the difference is we work with companies not individuals and the vendor must have a fixed location where they can be found. Opening a vendor account on Meka is free but your account will not active until you have been verified.
The is still a challenge of accessibility to the internet in the region and this being an online service, this greatly affects us.
The other challenge is people have not yet caught up with online purchases, they are still used to touching something, pulling out money and making a purchase. But this changing with the more platforms that are coming up
Then there is an issue of online payments, apart from Banks like UBA and Crane Bank, getting a debit/credit card for making online transactions is a challenge but this too is changing.
Anything cooking?Yes, we will be rolling out a payment solution hence competing the process (Search, find and buy). We also be introducing a more features filled SMS service so that our users are able to enjoy the services like Discount coupons and more with ease.