This Ugandan startup is pursuing a partnership model to sell meat online

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The butchering business is not one you often come across in Startup Land, but a Ugandan e-commerce startup is pursuing a partnership model to help it scale.

Founded in November 2018, The Online Butchery is, concept-wise, quite simple. An online meat store, the startup delivers fresh, quality meat to its clients by connecting verified suppliers with demand via its platform.

“We guarantee quality by partnering with vetted meat suppliers who have to adhere to strict quality control checks in order to ensure that the meat is of good quality and fresh before it is delivered to our clients,” chief executive officer (CEO) Tony Ayebare told Disrupt Africa.

So far, so simple. Yet The Online Butchery has secured a number of other key partnerships to help it grow, such as with logistics startup SafeBoda, which handles deliveries. It has also started working with Sausage King, one of the biggest meat suppliers in Uganda, and now sells over two tonnes of meat weekly.

The startup is even benefitting from the COVID-19 outbreak, securing new customers as the country locks down to prevent its spread. Food delivery startups, however, can still operate, which is good news for The Online Butchery.

Indeed, the platform actually has its roots in another bad news story from two years ago.

“Businesses and people were looking for a reliable and fast way to order meat that they could trust right after the February 2018 scandal where local butcheries were caught using chemicals to preserve meat,” Ayebare said.

That said, securing uptake was tough for the self-funded startup at first. However, after employing an aggressive marketing strategy it saw an increase in usage, and now has over 300 app downloads with 150 active users. Ayebare said it is growing in the B2C space, and also expanding outside of Kampala.

“We have started expanding into the other major districts, like Wakiso. We also have plans to expand into neighbouring countries in East Africa, like Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.”

The Online Butchery earns a 20 per cent commission on every order made through its platform.

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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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