Tanzanian startup FixChap, a digital platform that gives home and office owners access to trained and vetted handymen for repair, maintenance and installation services, has rapidly expanded the number of verticals in which it operates after seeing a positive response from the market.
Founded in 2017, FixChap went live in June last year with five services, and has continued adding new lines as it learnt more about customer preferences. It now has 12 service categories, including electrical maintenance, plumbing, laptop repair, air conditioning, car servicing, and carpentry.
The startup allows customers to identify the relevant professional, arrange the job, make payment via mobile money, and rate and review the handymen. In its first year of operations, FixChap has signed up over 300 professionals – all of whom have their abilities assessed and receive training in customer service – and completed more than 3,000 jobs. In April, meanwhile, it rolled out the beta version of its Android app, designed to offer customers more convenience.
Co-founder Prince Tillya told Disrupt Africa the company was founded based on having experienced issues with accessing repair and maintenance services in Dar es Salaam.
“There was a gap in the market not only in terms of access to handymen, but also with customers looking for a solution that offered more convenience and control in terms of pricing, service delivery and guarantee,” he said.
“Handymen were also looking into how they can generate value for their work and achieve inclusion in the sense of their work being recognised, which opens up furtther opportunities such as access to financial products and social security.”
FixChap has clearly been well-received, and the growth it has seen so far has come in spite of the startup having bootstrapped its product and spent very little money on marketing. Tillya said it has been able to access small amounts of grant funding but is now planning to open a seed round to scale locally.
“We have plans of extending to other major cities in Tanzania, such as Arusha, Mwanza and Dodoma,” he said. “We also have expansion plans beyond Tanzania. After rolling out to the major local cities we will head for Nairobi, Kampala and Kigali.”
The startup’s primary revenue model is commission charges from every service completed.
“In our first year we have managed to complete services worth more than US$35,000. We are yet to reach profitability yet as we are still investing in different aspects of our company,” said Tillya.