Africa is ripe for e-commerce, but Lanre Oyedotun, co-founder and CEO Delivery Science says it needs to be localized to the nature of the market.
According to Oyedotun, the opportunity still remains but the biggest challenges to e-commerce need to be addressed. That’s what Delivery Science is up to.
It’s hard for e-commerce to thrive without trust and finding a compromise solution to cash-on-delivery are rare but with the unveilling of Delivery Science, firm’s can built on its platform to address this. Another major challenge is logistics/Delivery Management at-scale and understanding local peculiarities (e.g. setting up “fitting shops” a la Bonobos or Warby Parker in which people can come try things on before placing the online order.) Delivery Science has set up shop to solve all this.
Delivery Science is a business formed to make it easier for businesses to manage delivery of their goods and services.
Speaking to TechMoran, Oyedotun said,”We are concerned with using data science and technology to ease the optimization of delivery of goods and services. Delivery and Science together, hence why the name Delivery Science.”
Oyedotun, who ran a petroleum products tanker distribution firm which unfortunately went under due major problems with driver trust, visibility into deliveries, and information to better optimize his services. Motivated with his company’s sinking, Oyedotun teamed up with his friend Chuka Ofili to help others make it where he had failed.
The two had numerous interviews with potential customers who validated the pain point they had identified.
His friend, Chuka, the team lead and architect had built several platforms and was on the lookout for an interesting business he could settle down on and build.
“We had worked together on other client engagements in the past and developed a mutual appreciation for each other’s talents, so when I pitched him on the idea of Delivery Science, he was all for it,” says Oyedotun. “We also have two other extremely accomplished members of the kitchen cabinet.”
The cabinet includes Ezra Olubi, a former CTO of Jobberman.com and the country’s top-5 developer in Nigeria. An ex- GTB banker Toyin Oshinowo, a Computer Sci Ph.D leading the firm’s data science and growth strategies.
“Delivery confirmation automation is still a black hole for information in Nigeria (and the rest of Africa as far as we have learned), especially because we have a lot of “3rd world” problems “1st world” solutions don’t come close to solving, says Oyedotun. “We believe a talented tech team, made up of veterans who are on their second or third go at building a startup in the Nigeria market, will be able to practicalize the lessons learned previously to build a genuine world-class technology business. We are all developers, and carry a developer ethos into all our dealings.”
The Lagos-based firm says it’s current target is Nigeria, but has plans to expand quickly across the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa within the next 6 months to offer it’s enterprise-focused service.
The firm currently has five clients, wth approximately another 40 in the pipeline. The enterprise-focused service doesn’t focuson the number of clients but rather number of users within those clients, as its typical client has upwards of 500 users.
The firm’s business model is mostly SaaS. It charges a flat fee of $120 per field user per month for use of its automated proof-of-delivery, intelligent transportation management, and inventory management applications. There are further additions and customizations for enterprise clients. Delivery Science underwrites 100% of the hardware costs, and include the hardware, device management, and data subscription as part of its offering which gives extreme visibility on the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to enterprises.
Though there are substitute offerings in the market such as tracking services, Excel, and a South African firm called Nerve Data which does smart device business optimization but Delivery Science says it Nerve Data lacks a focus on consumer goods deliveries like it does.
There’s no one offering that same level of end-to-end solving of the delivery management problem that the firm does. Delivery Science promises its clients a comprehensive solution integrated fully into client ERP’s (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics) to help them solve the pain point of having the information and insight needed to plan a consumer goods company’s order-to-cash and order-to-sales process.
“We take what is a lot of moving parts and complexity, and abstract away all of that. Other competitors offer tools that the enterprise can purchase, but either can’t or don’t offer the level of integration we do. As discerning companies know, those integrations into how the company does business are usually the key difference between implementation success and failure,” Oyedotun told TechMoran.
At the moment, the firm aims to take the Nigeria market and within the next 6 months have established a beachhead in other major sub-Saharan markets. Then expand into North Africa and the Middle East.