The online delivery startup Gulivery, has announced it has expanded its services to include the capital Mogadishu. Previously, the service was only available in Hargesia.
Gulivery says it is further eyeing to expand further into the East African region in a few years’ time.
How Gulivery works
To use the ‘courier service,’ a user only needs to take out their smartphone and launch the Gulivery app and make orders for meals or groceries from a supermarket or restaurant of their choice.
Gulivery came about after man, and wife Deeq Mohamed Hassan and Sado Ali Baroot relocated to Hargeisa from London. They then realized the stack difference between the two regions; while in London, there were a plethora of e-commerce services, Hargeisa had none to speak of, and the infrastructure to put up such system were quite bared.
“We had to buy lots of stuff for the house and sometimes needed delivery people ourselves, but we could not find any company that covered the last mile,” lamented Deeq.
“Usually, trusted taxi drivers run such errands, but they are too expensive, and you don’t always get exactly what you ordered. So we decided to do a quick assessment, and we realized that we were not the only ones that wanted such a service and were ready to pay for it. That’s when my wife said ‘maybe we should start a delivery company,’ and the rest is history.”
When the husband and wife launched Gulivery, they soon discovered so many people needed the service than they had previously imagined. The startup was funded from the family savings but started getting funding from local VCs after about a month of operation. Once it began receiving backing, Gulivery went ahead to build its first mobile app and go to the next level.
“We never expected the demand to be this high. We’ve made over 700 deliveries in the first 10 weeks alone in Hargeisa. After one month, we started receiving lots of calls from Mogadishu, from people that wanted us to come there as well.”
When launching in Mogadishu, Gulivery had no competition to talk about. However, about six months after beginning, several competitors (copycats) started cropping up. Deeq says they have managed to stay ahead of their competition by remaining innovative and providing great customer service.
The platform now boasts of over 1,200 registered users, 7% of whom do make orders at least twice in every month. Though they do charge for making the deliveries, Gulivery is not expecting any profits this year as much of its revenue will be ploughed back to into expanding the business.
Lack of riders biggest challenge for Gulivery
They say every business has its ups and downs, and for Gulivery, the downs include lack of enough experienced motorbike riders.
“We launched first in Hargeisa, and Hargeisa is not really a motorcycle city. You hardly see motorcycles driving around, and the amount of people that know how to ride a motorcycle is really small.
Also, motorcycles are really expensive, which discourages people from buying them in the first place.”
Gulivery is currently stretched with the Somalia market, but Deeq says they plan to scale their services and expand into other countries in the East Africa region.
“My vision for Gulivery is to become the number one partner for moving packages door-to-door in East Africa in the next five years, with operations in all the main cities in East Africa.”