Kenya’s SwiftAide matches freelance labour with local demand

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Kenyan startup SwiftAide is allowing consumers to find immediate help with everyday tasks, including cleaning, moving, deliveries and handyman work, via its mobile marketplace.

“It’s like an Uber for these and many more services,” co-founder George Karimi told Disrupt Africa.

Karimi launched SwiftAide alongside his wife Winnie Njeri in the middle of 2017, after struggling to get hold of their cleaning lady. The startup’s platform is a two-sided marketplace that connects customers with “aides”, a network of pre-approved and background-checked individuals with the time and skills needed to complete listed tasks.

“It allows people to outsource small jobs and tasks to others in their locality,” Karimi said.

SwiftAide has several categories of aides, including messengers, carpenters, deliveries, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and nannies.

“We are basically tapping into the opportunities that exist in the informal sector, bearing in mind it controls like 70 per cent of the job market in Kenya,” said Karimi.

“Plus, people are demanding the freedom of flexible work environments. SwiftAide seeks to become a lifeline for the unemployed workforce. It wants to create an on-tap workforce without sacrificing the stability and benefits of traditional employment. The modern economy is evolving beyond the constraints of traditional work models. SwiftAide gives you a level of autonomy that was once considered too good to be true. Instead of working nine-to-five for a single employer, you can leverage the advantages of the gig economy to make earning money more relaxed and enjoyable.”

The startup – which receives a commission on every completed job, is self-funded and not looking to raise any capital until it has improved its app’s user experience, but has already seen decent uptake. It currently has around 300 listed aides and 500 clients, with around 100 successful transactions having been made through the app.

“Uptake has been quite good as we are getting people signing up from as far as Wajir and Bungoma. Kenyans are quite fast in embracing technology and seizing opportunities,” said Karimi.

“We are in most major towns in the country, but Nairobi tops in users and bookings. We are planning to be fully entrenched in most major towns in the country in the next one year and expanding to the East African market in the next five years. We are planning to expand to Rwanda after we stabilise our operations in Kenya.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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