Finding a service onn the fly that is conveniently located to oneself can be a painstaking process. This is a problem Kenyan-based startup Patika is set to tackle.Patika is an app that enables SMEs to list their businesses and service by location and enables users to find the ones conveniently located around them. Patika team spoke to TechMoran so far about their journey so far and their plans for the future of the company.
Tell us about yourselves; your team, your educational and professional backgrounds
We run Patika as a primary team of 5 with a group of 15 daily sales people on contract.
Founded by two University of Nairobi Students – Sidney Rema (5th Year Medicine & Surgery) and Phelix Juma (5th Year Electrical Engineering) initially as a food-ordering platform called MealTime, we pivoted our MealTime platform that was initially focusing only on food ordering services to Patika that could not only enable clients to order food from great restaurants to around them, but also find, negotiate and request quotations for basic services around them like booking doctors, salons, barber services, photography, repair services for mobile, computers etc. , home services like plumbing, electrical services among several others.
At the onset of the pivot, we teamed up with Michael Sindani (A tech business guru and investor formally head of Operations at Huawei Kenya) who left Huawei to join Patika as the head of business. Michael was an initial investor in MealTime and was key at helping us grow our MealTime business model.
We also later teamed up with a local marketing executive called Victoria Okello to help us handle our go to market strategies.
Before Patika, the team has started and run 4 other startups before including an interactive platform for people with similar interests called VoSpine that grew to 80,000+ users where we had big entrepreneur names like Equity Bank CEO, James Mwangi and OLX Country Manager, Peter Ndiangu’i mentoring us.
How would you best describe Patika, what does it do?
Patika is basically a marketplace for basic services. With Patika, we wanted to change how SMEs across Kenya access the market and how users access basic services around them so we created a marketplace that enables basic service providers like mobile/computer repair technicians, repair, salonists, barbers, plumbers, electricians, etc can be able to set up their businesses on Patika and start receiving quotation requests, bookings and appointments from clients who are able to easily search and find their services, view their portfolios and ratings and very easily order, request quotation or appointments.
What market gap did you spot that motivated you to start this company?
-Finding basic services and trustable service providers around you is one hustle everyone goes through multiple times. Even just finding a local electronics technician you can trust.
-Access to market is a hustle for basic service providers and SMEs in general. Be it local businesses, local skilled personnel or even recent graduates in contractible skills like lawyers, auditors, accountants etc.
Patika is a good solution for both service providers and seekers as it creates a marketplace that widens the market for SMEs while also connecting common mwananchi to nearby verified, rated and trusted providers of whatever services they require.
Who is your target market?
Local services providers – local businesses, local skilled people, recent graduates etc.
Middle-Income Kenyans between ages 20yrs – 45yrs
How does your company make money?
We have three primary revenue models:
Commissions – We take a 10% for every service offered that has been facilitated through Patika
Subscription – We have various subscription packages for local businesses for our local management system, verification badges and mini-websites for the local businesses within Patika
Advertising – Being a platform that gives local businesses an opportunity to widen their market digitally, the competition by the businesses offering similar services for clients strengthens our advertising model for the businesses, that enables them to get preference in the listing of their services to targeted users within users.
In 2 months so far we have;
Total users – 10, 252
Total service providers (Verified Businesses Mostly) – 1,938
Total services requested through Patika – 1146
Successful services – 321
Total Revenue so far – Ksh. 384,000 (From Commissions Model ONLY. We are currently testing our advertising and subscription models)
Who would you say is your major competition in this space at the moment?
Locally – We have competitors on some services provided through Patika. For instance on Home Services, we have 1 competitor called Lynk.
Otherwise, on connecting the common mwanachi to the rated and verified providers of all basic services around them, we do not have a direct competitor locally. However, we have Yelp in the USA.
What is your vision for the company in the next 5 years?
Patika is looking at completely easing our access to basic services around us.
Within the next 5 Years, Patika is focusing on enabling users to not only easily find rated and verified providers of the services they require, but to also have a wider range of providers to choose from – Be it businesses, local skilled people or even recent graduates who are able to sell their expertise through Patika as individuals businesses.
By giving local skilled people and recent graduates this opportunity to operate as businesses that can be sub-contracted, Patika will also significantly ease self-employment.
We are looking at expanding into specific countries in Africa like South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria within the next 5 years.
What advice would you give upcoming entrepreneurs?
“Start. Just Start. And never give up”
I, Sidney, have started 5 companies within the last 5 years since my first year at the University Of Nairobi. One key thing I have learned over that time is that if you see a market opportunity and you have a solution for it, just get started and figure out the rest as you go. It’s not guaranteed whether everything will work out definitely, testing models that can work are what define entrepreneurship and so long as you’re solving a real problem, you’ll attract the right energy to scale it.