Mauritian tech startup Bongéni has launched an online platform where individuals and businesses who seek moving and home delivery services can be matched with relevant transportation options provided by a fleet of independent drivers.
Bongéni was formed in August 2019, but only rolled out its service in June of this year, offering an Uber-style transportation marketplace dedicated exclusively to apartment moving and delivery of goods, using all types of vehicles.
Director Philipp Demidoff told Disrupt Africa Bongéni was initially B2B-oriented, but is using its mobile apps to cover the delivery and shipping needs of individuals as well.
“We were positively surprised by the diversity of platform use. People are ordering everything: from lunch and flower delivery to apartment and furniture moving,” he said.
Demidoff said Bongéni was launched in response to its team’s deep-felt belief in the future of the sharing economy.
“This new type of economic relations, which was made possible by the wide adoption of GPS-enabled smartphones, has the potential to improve the lives of people, help reduce wealth distribution disparities, and at the same time have a positive impact on the environment,” he said.
For the self-funded Bongéni, moreover, Mauritius was the perfect place to launch, given its “impressive” economic advancements but also the fact it remains to a great extent a developing country with its economy based on agriculture, exports, financial services, and tourism.
“Modern business trends, such as the digital economy and online marketplaces, are now starting to emerge, and we considered that many local businesses will be focusing on meeting their customers’ demand for fast delivery service,” Demidoff said.
“So we decided that it may be a right moment to try to reshape the local shipping and express delivery sector by introducing a scalable technological solution to serve this emerging digital sector as well as a more traditional part of the economy.”
Thus Bongéni was born. Initial uptake has been relatively slow, which Demidoff puts down to the usual challenges around launching a double-sided marketplace in addition to the current turbulent and fragile economical situation caused by COVID-19.
“However, we are not looking for immediate wins and are ready for the months of hard work to prove the viability of our concept,” he said.
The startup’s strategy is to concentrate on retention.
“From this perspective, the project introduction phase was quite successful,” Demidoff said. “After each completed order we send a review request to our users and we are inspired by currently having an average monthly NPS of 9.7.”
Bongéni is for now focusing exclusively in Mauritius, a small and difficult market the startup’s team nonetheless knows well and considers to be an interesting opportunity. Currently, it does not have any plans for geographical expansion.
“Of course, we may look for such opportunities once we see that the flywheel is getting the momentum, but for the moment we invest all our resources in the development of the product and building our market presence,” Demidoff said.