Growing Kenyan consumer base creates opportunities for startups

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The economic growth of Kenya over the last decade and the resultant emergence of a segment of society with growing spending power creates an opportunity for startups looking to service these people, according to Arnaud Foubert, managing director of hellofood Kenya.

Africa Internet Group (AIG)-owned online and mobile food delivery startup hellofood went live in Nairobi in 2012, with Foubert telling Disrupt Africa the country offered a huge opportunity for companies such as his due to its rising consumerism.

“Kenya’s steady economic growth observed in the past 10 years has confirmed its status as a regional economic hub. This not only attracted a growing number of international firms, but also translated into the emergence of a middle class who is eager to consume more products and services in line with modern-life constraints,” he said.

“hellofood’s service both brings consumers the convenience they need and helps them save their precious time. This explains the amazing growth we are experiencing and will keep supporting it for a long time.”

Foubert said the success of e-commerce companies such as​ Jumia and others shows how accepted online shopping was becoming in Africa.

“Kenya is among the leading markets in this ongoing trend and it is a very exciting industry to be part of. Some obstacles remain, but we are definitely in the right place at the right time and with the right offer,” he said.

He admitted that the lack of an addressing system in Nairobi remained one of the main obstacles faced by hellofood.

“We have of course implemented tools and practices allowing us to efficiently deliver within Nairobi county – and others in the future – and constantly explore new ways to improve. Traffic congestion may be seen as another one, but it actually reinforces the interest of our service, which allows people to avoid the hassle of wasting time in traffic,” he said.

“Deliveries are a challenge in essence but with the right set of techniques, technologies and people, we have been able to develop an expertise that we are proud to offer to our restaurants partners and customers.”

Foubert said the hellofood model was perfectly adapted to emerging markets and that the company had developed its expertise in 40 countries, meaning little adaptation was needed besides in the way it is marketed.

“On the other hand, we believe there is always room for improvement so we regularly bring changes to provide more satisfaction to customers entrusting us with their food ordering and delivery,” he said.

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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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