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Tanda Rolls Out Its Services after Four Months of Piloting

Tanda is a Nairobi based platform that makes it easier for shop owners to make an order of all their shop products. It also allows them to sell digital financial services. Examples of services are banking and insurance services, KPLC tokens, airtime and other products. The platform has finally been launched after four months of piloting. It carried out piloting with 200 kiosks found in Kawangware, Kariobangi and Kayole. The three are among the most densely populated estates in Nairobi, Kenya. The platform launched out of beta after acquiring undisclosed seed round funding from White Rhino Ventures. During its piloting period, the platform worked with five different wholesalers who have a large customer base in Nairobi.

According to Tanda’s founder and CEO Geoffrey Mulley, the platform offers a wide range of products. He added that Tanda is the fastest online inventory delivery platform globally. The platform makes its deliveries in less than an hour. Additionally, it is the first platform to develop an automated credit facility.  According to him, Tanda is the first delivery platform to offer the retailer a chance to vend digital financial services. A shop owner can use the platform to order all the needed goods for the kiosk and receive free delivery on the same day. The owners get an added benefit of selling digital financial services like Airtime.

The platform draws it inspirations on the need to offer solutions to some of the recurring inventory challenges. These challenges that are specifically faced by small retailers. Mulei spent the larger part of his childhood working at a kiosk. He is well vast with some of the challenges faced by micro-retailers when sourcing for inventory and operating their business. He used his passion for technology and offering solutions to design solution that could make the running of kiosk easier. Currently, the Tanda App is designed with the features below.

Inventory management

Owners of shops in most cases do not know how much inventory they have at a specific time until they run short of stock. The app offers them a simple way to record all their sales giving them a chance to know how much they are stocking from anywhere at a specific time. The app alerts the shop owners and requests them to make orders once they are almost out of a product.

Ordering

In most cases, shop owners usually make not less than five calls before getting the products they want. Mulei designed a simple way that links Tanda’s chain of suppliers allowing them to receive the ordered goods in less than an hour.

Inventory Credit

In many cases, a lot of shop owners lack money making orders when they run out of stock. The platform allows retailers to order goods on credit. However, this is based on their historical purchasing statistics.

Tanda Wallet

The wallet makes a kiosk to be a one-stop shop for renowned digital financial services. Customers can have all digital financial services from Tanda Agent.

Mulei first launched Inkisha startup before coming up with Tanda. Inkisha deals in environmentally friendly packaging. Mulei led a campaign to do out with plastic packaging in Kenya. The campaign lasted for three years earning him many major international and local awards. Mulei is currently among the top 12 most influential figures in Africa. Additionally, he was recently named among the top 40 Under 40 men in Kenya courtesy of Business Daily. There are over 10 million informal shops selling goods worth more than $180 billion each year in African cities. The shops usually run out of stock despite their role in the economy. They also lack proper business management policies and have limited access to financial services. These problems are what Tanda targets to end. Tanda only deducts a commission from its network of suppliers from each good ordered by retailers.

There is low penetration of smartphones among micro-retailers.  Therefore the platform pilot pioneers are given free smartphones for a start. After piloting the platform has partnered with LipaLater, a micro-lending company to provide shop owners with smartphones that they can pay in installments for two years. Mulei said that their Kenyan market has more than 100,000 semi-formal stores. The platform will accommodate all shop owners from kiosks to mini-marts. He added that Tanda is special to him since he has always been passionate about solving problems and technology. Initially, he only had an opportunity to pursue one, but after developing Tanda, he is now in a position to pursue both. He said that he cannot assure people that Tanda is his last project. However, he assures people that he will be in business for a long time.

Apart from being backed by White Rhino Venture, the platform partners with Ddaas, Surf, Demand Mobile, Pesa Point, and Google MB. Mulei says he withdraws his inspirations from the likes of Jack Ma of Alibaba, Elon Musk of Tesla and JeffBezos of Amazon. He has taken his time to study their footsteps and inculcated some of their principles in his ventures. For instance, the larger part of his platform’s supply chain was developed around aggregation model of Alibaba. Mulei is planning to visit the HQ of Alibaba within this month to strike a partnership that will help them expand its services throughout Africa. The platform aims to use the funding from White Rhino Venture to roll out its services across Kenya in the coming months. Additionally, it plans to expand into four more countries in the third quarter of 2019 after its round of Series A funding.

Retailers in marginalized areas who cannot access 2G, 3G or 4G internet Tanda offers them a simple version of its services on USSD platform that is currently under test. The platform has 8 full-time workers in its HQ in Westlands Nairobi and 50 other employees spread across the country. The platform plans to offer users a small loan or renew their health insurance policy at a kiosk within a few seconds. Tanda kiosks will be an access point for the community for essential digital financial services that people require. One can have their goods bought from Masoko or Jumia delivered on their local Tanda shops. Furthermore, emails will also be delivered to the shops. One can join Tanda through the following procedure.

First, they sign up

One should enter their details on the registration form. Thereafter they should wait for notification within 24 hours to confirm the set up of their Tanda account.

The second step is to download

One should then download and install the Tanda app on their devices. Immediately they get the platform’s notification they should log into their accounts.

Setting up Tanda Account

One has to adjust their inventory to match with their shops thereafter top up their wallet using their new Mpesa Paybill number.

Start making sells

One is now in a position to make orders and grow their businesses by making more money through sales.

The Tanda partners have different roles in the running of the platform. Pesapoint is the main provider of the wallet it aggregates digital financial services and process payments. Ddass business data marketing and analytics provider extracts and assists unlock the value of the platform’s data. Ddass is based in London. On Demand, Mobil manages the platform’s retail and wholesale Interface Accounts. It also does inventory management within Tanda’s supply chain. Surf converts Tanda Kiosks into WiFi access point. Google MB is the platform’s core partner for monthly area meetups. It helps to equip retailers with vital digital skills and improve consumer’s access to Tanda outlets.

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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on dennis@techinafrica.com and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
Denis the Tech guru

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