Nigerian startup Taja hopes to encourage more local businesses to adopt technology solutions, by providing a low-cost, easy-to-use cloud powered retail platform for merchants.
In an interview with Disrupt Africa, Adedoyin Olabode, co-founder of Taja, said the cost and complexity of tech-based solutions is keeping many of Nigeria’s merchants from reaping the benefits that technology can bring to a business, such as efficient sales and inventory management, and customer engagement.
“There is huge gap in the use of technology by local retailers – especially here in Nigeria. This is usually caused by the humongous costs and the complexity of available solutions,” Olabode said.
According to Olabode, Taja is also unique in that it can be accessed via mobile, and mobile web – mediums that small-scale local merchants are familiar with.
“Very few of the available platforms allow the user to rely on mobile platforms and the web as a means of powering their business,” he said.
“Taja allows merchants to manage their sales, customers, and inventory seamlessly. It involves an Android based application and a cloud based monitoring backend.”
Charging US$50 per month per outlet, Taja is targeting businesses ranging from small retailers to larger companies with multiple outlets. Olabode says the solutions is suitable for anyone that requires “a means to monitor their sales and and get business intelligence”.
In a further bid to encourage more merchants to implement tech solutions, Taja also offers a support service, both telephonic and on the ground support.
“We typically provide support in two ways. We do support calls over the phone for clients who don’t have needs that require a support person present. In some other cases we have clients who require a a support personnel present. In such cases we fix an appointment and a support person shows up at their stores,” Olabode said.
Disrupt Africa reported in November Taja was one of nine startups selected to participate in the 440.ng accelerator programme, and received investment by the 440.ng fund – although Taja said it can not reveal how much the funding was.
According to Olabode, the accelerator provided a great opportunity to be “exposed” to the world of entrepreneurship, with mentors and industry experts on hand to “give sound advice on how to operate as a start-up in Nigeria”.
The programme completed, and Taja now operational, Olabode says despite the myriad of obstacles facing a startup in Nigeria, entrepreneurship is also very rewarding.
“Wow! Everything wants to kill you! Power, transportations, customers […laughs]. If one learns to look beyond the obstacles though it turns out to be a really rewarding experience as the Nigerian market is really huge and there’s lots of opportunities to make money.”