Founded this year by Iliana Björling Lindeberg and a friend, Uganda’s Done Deal , a Groupon-like daily deals site aims to be the market leading deal site in Uganda and two more countries in the region in less than two years and is currently in the process of bringing onboard investors to up its product and expand.
Speaking to TechMoran, Iliana says Done Deal is doing everything to be the leading daily deals site in the country apart from just looking at raising funds.
“We are currently setting up a team of investors, board members and strategic advisors, that will bring extensive knowledge and support to the business. The current skills within this group of people includes extensive experience in the e-commerce and start-up scene, regional expertise and venture building in Africa, CRM management and product development, just to mention a few.”
With a background in business development and start-up coaching, Iliana initially came to Uganda working as the Country Manager for a business accelerator (Global Business Labs) and before Uganda, she was working with start-ups in Botswana as well as Sweden. Now fully based in Uganda, with her friend and co-founder back in Sweden, Iliana says Uganda is ripe for e-commerce.
“Yes. Done Deal
, together with a few more ventures are currently setting the foundation for the e-commerce sector in Uganda. It’s hard work, but I believe the timing is perfect,” she told TechMoran. “When I came to Uganda 1.5 years ago there were very few online ventures, and mainly local ones. But the last since then a number of ventures has efficiently taken place in the space and a number of general e-tail platforms started to pop up.”
At the moment, Done Deal
has one or two competitors in the market but with much broader focus and less attractive offers. Done Deal
uniqueness lies in the fact that it hand picks its merchants based on requests from its users. It also aims to further build long-term relationships with the merchants and guide them in the process of generating more customers.
And just why daily deals?
Iliana says she was following the market development in Sub-Sahara and strategically looking into the development that has taken place in Europe and other parts of the world. With this in mind the two assumed that the development naturally would move towards more niched ventures, and that was one of the reasons to why they decided on a deal site, but the going has not been all smooth.
“As any startup, we have had a number of challenges, especially related to the technical bits,” Iliana told TechMoran. “But right now one of our biggest challenges is to educate the market how Done Deal works, and that it actually works. People seem to think that it’s almost to good to be true, and hence assume that it is some kind of scam. So we are coming up with strategies for how to tackle that.”
On why there are few Internet success stories in the region, Iliana says her experience from working as a start-up coach with an office at Makerere University’s IT college taught her something.
“I saw so many good ideas and innovations go to waste because of one simple reason – lack of business skills in the start-up teams. Tech start-ups here tend to have a core team of great developers, but no business people. They can spend months on developing a product but not even one day on doing a market survey beforehand. I believe this is one factor that holds back the sector in the region,” said Iliana and added, “Another one is the investor focus on social enterprises and innovations that limits the opportunities for other ventures. Personally I believe the number one social impact you can and should strive for in this region is job creation. And as far as innovations goes I don’t see why everyone has to reinvent the wheal, innovations are high-risk. Our business model is already proven in a number of markets, more attention and investment should be channeled for proven business models in a market this virgin.”