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Courier firm rides to success on ‘crowd sourced’ model




Andrew Miller Muturi, founder of GetBoda, a delivery company based in Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY 

When he decided to quit his job as a product manager at a local research company and start his own business in November last year, little did he know that just a year into the venture, he would be making a huge difference in solving logistics issues for individuals, businesses and companies.

And in the process Andrew Muturi Miller, 28, is reaping big as the founder of GetBoda, a delivery company that currently has eight staff members based in Nairobi with majority having tech, logistics and e-commerce background. They are looking at Uganda and Nigeria as their next market come 2019.

The company offers a smart on-demand logistics platform where industries or firms in need of courier services get access to over 100 five to 15 tonne trucks, vans as well as 300 motorbikes registered and vetted on their platform, meaning that companies do not have to invest in buying transportation vehicles.

GetBoda uses a crowd sourced model which connects multiple boda boda riders, track and van drivers, with third party logistics companies into a single network that is accessible using mobile phone and web application called GetBoda.

The application allows you to request a courier at the tap of a button. Once your request is received, you will be connected to nearby couriers, matching your demands with their pricing based on distance and delivery time.

“For a customer to use this service they have to download the application. When you request for a service you get an option of a boda boda or a van, depending on the goods you want delivered.

“You are also asked where the pickup station and delivery points are for you to get connected to the nearest driver. If he accepts, he will go to the pickup point, get the luggage and take it where you want,” says Mr Muturi.

Having over 300 registered boda boda riders, conditions and safety measures are tight. For instance the rider must be married and at be least 35 years of age and above.

“If you want a truck, your application goes to our networks and the job is placed where there is a fixed price and a truck driver can see the orders. There is however room for negotiation through bidding leading to price reduction,” he says.

This method, he says, reduces the time a client would take to get this service under normal circumstances.

“It is also cheaper. For instance it would cost a client between Sh20,000 and Sh30, 000 to transport goods from Nairobi to Thika using other firms, whereas our service costs Sh 5,000,” he adds.

What gives them a niche is their package tracking and insurance cover for goods in transit, which ensures their safety. Also, their distance -based pricing is a plus as there is transparency.

“The most interesting part is that truck drivers can bid on jobs that show on the platform.

“For instance, a truck driver X in Nairobi gets a job to transport goods to Mombasa. The truck has to come back to Nairobi anyway. While in Mombasa, a job may pop up to transport goods to Nairobi and all the truck drivers in Mombasa will see this job. This is where the bidding starts and the truck driver X may choose to transport the goods at a lower price since he has nothing to lose. It becomes a win- win situation for both parties (the truck driver and the firm),” says Mr Muturi.

Apart from this, they also offer pick-up hubs and sorting centres in Nairobi’s city centre. “We offer storage from third party partners around the country, as well as in our own warehousing in the central business district in Nairobi. Customers come for their items from our pick up centres located in commercial areas of the city,” says Mr Muturi.

So how does this work. “If a customer has ordered packages from, let us say Jumia, we go to the company’s warehouse, get and transport it to our station on Kimathi Street. Here we scan it using the barcode system for the client’s details like name and contacts. The customer meanwhile automatically gets an sms notification telling them to come and pick up their parcel,” says Mr Muturi.

And to say the company’s star is shining bright would be an understatement considering that within this short period of its existence, it has successfully delivered over 100,000 items, handling up to 5,000 parcels a month and over Sh100 million in cash delivered for its clients.

“We in the process usually take 30 percent of the payment,’ adds Mr Muturi.

And the list of high profile companies that have sought theirs services is impressive. “GetBoda currently has contracts with, and not limited to Jumia, Uber Eats, Mall For Africa and KFC in Nairobi.”

Since the company is still young, they only handle deliveries within Nairobi and its outskirts, while their truck services have expanded as far as Mombasa. This is as the company plans on starting a food delivery service come next year.