Thursday, June 30, 2022
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Home Startups How Nigeria’s Selbolt wants to be Africa’s biggest marketplace for errands and logistic services

How Nigeria’s Selbolt wants to be Africa’s biggest marketplace for errands and logistic services

by Milcah Lukhanyu
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Selbolt is a decentralized peer-peer errand service platform that allows users access errand services to support them with their daily tasks.

The marketplace and community matches errand services with local demand. This means that a group of trained freelance taskers can make extra income by providing errand and logistic services to customers in need. You could find someone to do your shopping at the local market, pick up a document or deliver some goods. Beyond services at a local level, the redefined distant errand service platform is cutting across different geographical locations to facilitate transactions with clients while simultaneously saving time, effort and resources.

For example, A user based in Nigeria can easily have his or her admission application process done easily and quickly in Rwanda, Egypt, or any other country, by simply outsourcing the errand task to a trusted tasker already living within that exact town or locality in Rwanda or Egypt where the institution is located, instead of the user traveling all the way from Nigeria to Rwanda to have it done herself. . This type of flexible, on demand network of freelance, professional and vetted “taskers”  allows customers to manage tasks and errands across every town, city, state and country all over the world. Selbolt is redefining the logistics, and errand outsourcing  industry by pushing errands and logistic services towards individual people and building a globally connected world.

TechMoran talked to Ifeoluwa Jayeola, the CEO and of Head of Business at Selbolt and this is what she told us!

When was it founded and what inspired it’s creation?

Selbolt was launched on the 21st of October. Prior to that time, effort had gone into the ideation process to understand the potential of what we are building. Selbolt’s sole inspiration is the hustle and bustle inbuilt in the average man’s daily life. Everyone could do with getting some extra hands to run our errands and relieve us of another task. With digitization at our side, Selbolt is building a mobile marketplace to meet the needs of the average busyman while simultaneously creating jobs for the trusted taskers.

Who are the founders and what have they worked on before?

Selbolt’s team consists of Ifeoluwa Jayeola, CEO and Head of Business; Emmanuel Uduebholo, the Founder of Selbolt and Head of Partnerships (also the Founder of Meeula and Mentorships.ng, which is set to rebrand and relaunch this November as Mentor Bolt ), Timilehin Komolafe, Daniel Adama, Ikpemi Agweda, Faith Obakpolor and Damilare; Heads of Operations, Data & Machine Learning, Head of Product, Head of Content and Head of Growth respectively.

Some of us had our fair share of growth, failures and wins right from the Covenant University Campus, when the Digital Cref Magazine App launched in 2017, and when Mentorships.ng launched in 2019 through till late 2020.

How sustainable is this venture and what is your business model?

In the course of our vetting process, most of our taskers agreed on one thing – “Having a platform like Selbolt is long overdue.”

Beyond the validation that comes with having a platform that resonates with our users, we also do believe that a platform like this is long overdue. Selbolt serves as the physical task version of digital task platforms like Fiverr or Freelancer by sharing its market amongst the excessive and unending logistics and transportation market combined. There will always be work to be done in a distant location and people will always have tasks and errands to outsource to trusted people in locations far away. This is because people cannot be everywhere at the same time to get things done. The sustainability of the model is hinged upon the needs within the highlighted marketplace. With Selbolt, you can get any errand task done for you in your desired distant location.

Selbolt’s business model: Selbolt operates the commision based classic marketplace model. Similar to the chicken and egg problem where you need the chicken to get the eggs. It facilitates transactions between two groups, after which the platform takes a percentage on each completed task. We went ahead with onboarding taskers first on the platform, before getting users and clients of the platforms. On one end, we have the tasker who goes about the outsourced errand task. On the other end, we have the client who outsources the task to the tasker. Payment is done through the platform on an hourly rate depending on the nature of the task. The tasker goes about the task, gets rated and reviewed by the client, and gets paid an 80% percentage commission based on his workmanship rate. 

Do you have any competition and how unique are you from them?

In recent times, there has been a rise in businesses focused on meeting  supply chain needs at a minor and major scale. However, these systems are still highly fragmented and operate on a small scale. A peer-peer platform like Selbolt connects those independent fragmented parts into a single strong ecosystem enabling us to save time, reduce transportation cost, and provide on-demand services for users at both local and international level.

Selbolt also goes beyond building a stronger logistics system to meeting certain kinds of everyday tasks and errands that logistic services can not go about. For instance, Amaka, a busy entrepreneur based in Delta state, who has to physically submit some paper documents at a University in Abuja would simply outsource the task digitally to a trusted tasker already staying in Abuja to get it done for her. A far better option compared to traveling all the way to Abuja just to submit those documents. The tasker is also paid for their service and everyone leaves happy. That goes beyond what a regular logistics provider can do.

How big is the market you are addressing across Africa?

The logistics market is one of the fastest growing industries in Nigeria with a market valuation of over $696 million dollars in Nigeria  and $344.2 billion dollars in Africa and this is expected to increase in coming years.

Is Nigeria and Africa ready for such innovation like yours? Where do you see yourselves in two years?

Increase in internet connectivity, digitalization, and the sharing economy penetration has allowed the evolution of Africa’s logistic landscape. In recent times, sharing economy pioneers like Uber and Bolt have redefined previously existing industries by creating new marketplaces where access to services or products is on demand. A new culture is being formed where connectivity and sharing is the norm.

Increase in online businesses and their supply chain needs has also redefined the commerce landscape. More people are growing to trust online systems focused on providing goods and services to meet their needs. The average person is more receptive to trusting a vendor across his smartphone without even meeting or talking to each other. This evolving culture has prepared the market for a disruptive innovation such as this.

In the next two years, we would be focused on developing our presence in other geographical locations and allow better connectivity. Currently, with a reach in other geographical locations like Egypt, Ghana, UK, US, Selbolt is going further to disperse the market across a wider range so tasks can be done at a larger scale with no limitation of distance or location.

Tell us about the challenges that entrepreneurs face in Africa and what efforts you have put in place to solve them?

With businesses like this, the challenge  of trust and security is usually just beneath the surface. With this in mind, Selbolt has kept in place a strong legal verification system and a thorough vetting process, thanks to the compulsory NIN implementation in the country at this point in time and the proof of address system. We also have an algorithm and rating  system in place for new users to know how a tasker has performed over time.

Are you raising venture capital or are bootstrapping?

Selbolt has operated fully bootstrapped to this point. However, to achieve the extent of reach we are looking forward to, we have considered other options of funding between this year and next.

What advice would you give to upcoming entrepreneurs?

Step out. There are diverse untapped opportunities to innovate new processes, transform the dynamics of already existing industries and solve problems in Africa and beyond.

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