Africa Internet Group (AIG) has announced the launch of classifieds portal Vendito in six African markets, aiming to create a classifieds culture across the continent.
Vendito is a consumer to consumer marketplace, allowing users to post products and services for sale across categories ranging from mobiles and electronics, to clothing, vehicles, and services. Posting listings is free.
Speaking to Disrupt Africa, Vendito chief executive officer (CEO) Sammy Ben Abla said localised Vendito platforms for Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda have been in a soft launch phase since March, allowing users to post item listings.
“As of today we have tens of thousands of buyers visiting each of the sites, and we have 100,000 listings,” Abla said.
“Today, we’re taking the next step to build the sites more aggressively,” he said, announcing the official launch of the sites.
According to Abla, creating a classifieds culture across Africa will be a “long term race”, however he says the platforms have already showed substantial activity.
“Compared to other more mature markets, we’ve seen high numbers of views. Our users are active already,” he said.
“Overall, the environment in Africa is great. We see this as a long term race across the continent. Across Africa, people are problem solvers. They’re using this kind of platform to advertise their products and services.”
In particular, Abla says West Africa has been very quick to adopt Vendito, although there is activity across all the markets.
Vendito is placing a focus on ensuring each website serves as a localised platform, tailored to the specific country.
“You cannot launch a marketplace for all African countries. Although there are some similarities in behaviours across the markets. We’re following a localised approach,” Abla said.
In the long run, Vendito plans to expand to every African market. However, for now, the startup will focus on creating the culture of classifieds in the six markets it currently operates in. Abla says even focusing on these six markets presents a significant population to target.
“Over the coming year, our main focus will be the countries where we’re live,” Abla said, adding that a team is in place monitoring and scoping for potential new markets.
“It’s about educating and developing a classifieds market. It’s a long journey,” he said.
“In Africa, internet penetration is relatively low, but we’re targeting a large population size. If you add up those numbers [with internet], it’s a serious population.”