5 African Companies that have Successfully Pivoted
Pivoting means changing the direction of your business.
While pivoting a business might give a failing company new vitality, to some, it requires you to start over and forsake all past investments. Pivoting means changing the direction of your business. This change, however, can be total or partial. The primary purpose of pivoting is to assist your business to survive or improve revenue.
If you think about pivoting your business, you should know about some African companies that successfully made a shift.
Gokada, a bike hailing company, shifted to logistics and transportation following the ban on commercial motorcycles in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. Gokada initially launched in 2018 as a ride-hailing service in Lagos but pivoted to offering logistics (Gsend) and food delivery services (GShop) after the State government pulled the plug on bike-hailing businesses.
Speaking on the launch of its new services, Nikhil Goel, the CEO of Gokada says, “In September and October, we launched GShop, the food delivery platform for Gokada. We realised from our customers that while they were using the Gsend and GShop separately, they came to us asking if we could put them together. So doing this is more like a transition from other things we were doing and making it easier for our customers to have all our services in one platform and create a super app”.
Since it pivoted, Gokada has recorded over 1 million deliveries in 2021, and about 40% have been food deliveries.
Gloo, a Nigerian startup, pivoted from e-commerce grocery services to B2B e-procurement that supplies large and medium corporates everything from desks to toilet papers. The company changed its brand name to Gloopro.
According to Gloopro CEO D.O Olusanya, pivoting from Gloo in 2016 was necessitated by the economic downturn at the time. Then, an e-procurement request by Unilever, an old client of Gloo cemented the pivoting idea in 2017.
“When the recession hit, it affected all consumer e-commerce negatively. We saw it was going to take a longer time to get to sustainability and profitability”. The request from Unilever made the company realise that the economics of e-procurement was far better than consumer e-commerce grocery”, Olusanya said.
RideLink, Uganda’s business-to-customer (B2C), pivoted to business-to-business (B2B). Daniel Mukisa, the founder and head of operations, said this has helped grow the new business revenue.
He said, “When we, however, pivoted into a B2B model and focused on small and medium enterprises, we found an almost virgin market that was at times under-served or not served at all. We were able to acquire many customers quickly, standing out for our reliability and professionalism”.
Ghanaian startup, Swoove pivoted from website building to logistics services. The CEO, Kwaku Tabiri, says in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa’s e-commerce industry became highly competitive, resulting in increased demand for logistics.
The initial company product, Curiashops, was a website building platform that allowed small businesses to create a free website in five minutes with only a phone number. After clocking a year, the company realised that last-mile delivery was a significant problem for Ghanaian SMEs. Hence, the need for it to pivot.
“Our technology also enables the delivery companies to be efficient and do more deliveries on the go, while businesses get more affordable deliveries. Everyone wins,” Tabiri adds.
Through the use of the web, app, USSD and API, the platform connects e-commerce with delivery services. With algorithms and batching, customers can schedule delivery ahead of time with 50% less for delivery.
Wallettec, a South African mobile wallet integration company that provides mobile payment solutions in more than 14 African countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, and South Africa, pivoted to focus its attention on the sports betting industry.
Wallettec’s sports betting is designed to cover the player, bookmaker and regulators. It considers the needs of betting customers and creates tools and APIs to meet those needs. Its API allows quick integration and gives bookmakers access to a wide range of payment options for collections and disbursements.
Johan Meyer, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Wallettec says he’s driven by providing tailored-made solutions wherever he finds a significant problem.
He says, “In my 20 years working in the mobile payment space, I have always been driven by the idea of providing solutions where they are needed the most. I strongly believe that as African entrepreneurs we carry our own solutions as we are very familiar with our problems.
“This belief is the reason I have always sought to partner with local entrepreneurs in each country where Wallettec is operating. Working with our gaming clients and our local partners within each country, we develop custom tools and payment channels that can help our gaming providers grow their business quickly and successfully.”
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