TechInAfrica – Meet Boi Rasmussen, MyFoodness founder – MyFoodness is an award-winning ordering and delivery app for Botswana. It enables you to order goods from merchants in Gaborone, for Pick up or Delivery.
First of all, can you pitch us your company in just a few sentences?
MyFoodness leverages mobile internet to help people fulfil their everyday ordering needs.
Can you tell us more about yourself, your personal background, your experience and how you went to this journey?
I have a background in marketing and innovation where I spent several years in the industry at global companies in Africa and Europe. The journey of MyFoodness began with me as an African in the diaspora wanting to order things and send to my family, but frustrated because there was absolutely no online platform to order anything locally.
Can you tell us more about Botswana ? Why this market?
For us, Botswana is really a pilot market. We have the freedom to safely experiment and perfect our blue print before taking it to other markets in Africa which we have set our sights on. We are now ready for that part of the journey.
What are the main issues you have been facing with My Foodness in Botswana ?
The gig economy is not really a thing in Botswana. So, when we introduced ‘freelance work’ for Riders last year, we had a bit of a struggle in the beginning. Policies haven’t caught up with eCommerce yet, so sometimes we encounter issues relating to compliance. Data remains super expensive, especially for our Riders who need to use our rider-app. So, we have had to innovate around that. Those are just some of the issues we encounter.
Who are your main competitors around? And outside of the country, who are your inspiration?
Indirectly, our competitors would be merchants who do their own deliveries. Generally, we are inspired by startups which are using technology to empower people and society, not necessarily only in our field.
What is your point of view, as a startup founder, about Botswana ?
The startup ecosystem in Botswana is yet to develop. So, it can be quite hard as a Startup to get support locally. We also know that it is a small market, though high net worth. Hence, our focus has always been to have it as a safe experimentation market and then scale outwards from there. This doesn’t mean one cannot realise profits within this market, especially for repeat purchase industries like ours.
Is it hard to find investors there?
Yes, it is very hard to find local investors in Botswana. Equally, it is hard to find outside investors fully interested in Botswana. There are many reasons for this, i.e. small market, non-vibrant nor visible startup ecosystem, etc. However, I find that there’s interest once you have a one-on-one with investors and share the complete vision/scaleup plans and traction. So, this simply means Botswana is not top of mind for investors, generally.
What do you think is lacking to Botswana to develop it more? What are the main barriers to develop a startup there?
My view is that local startups need to be supported first by the local ecosystem, particularly from a funding point of view. With this, local startups can scale and show great traction, which will in turn catch the attention of outside investors. We have seen this happen in other markets. However, in Botswana, you’re pretty much all on your own as a startup.
What is your perspective for the next years on Botswana and more regionally on Africa?
Botswana still has a long way to go in building a robust local startup ecosystem, which fully supports local startups. None of the current hundreds of millions of foreign investment on Startups is going into Botswana. Local investment is not going into startups either, as the few funders locally seem to be a bit more traditional with their investments. In time, this will change. We hope to be one such example of how a Botswana startup can attract foreign investment into the country and scale exponentially across the region.
As you know, we are always on the look of great startups, new products and amazing entrepreneurs, could you name a few locally or regionally in Botswana ?
Regionally, some of the great startups to look out for are: Schoolap in the DRC, Cowtribe in Ghana, Bluewave in Kenya…to mention but a few. They happen to be fellow Seedstars winners, but great nonetheless.