Zimbabwe’s Thumeza, which provides small-scale transporters with immediately accessible working capital, is planning on expanding across the SADC region after impressive early growth and the validation of being accepted into two major accelerator programmes.
Thumeza was founded in April 2018 by Gugulethu Siso as a peer-to-peer last mile service provider with the goal of becoming the e-commerce logistics backbone. However, it has since shifted its focus to be largely a B2B freight platform.
Siso has a proven track record, having co-founded and exited a VC-backed firm in Namibia that provided B2B services to retailers like Pick n Pay Namibia, Shoprite Checkers Namibia, and Woolworths, to name a few.Thumeza has a strong team around her, but she admits that when the first lockdowns as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic hit last year, the startup was unprepared for the cash flow implications.
Thumeza decided to focus the majority of its efforts on offering a solution to inaccessible working capital facilities for small scale transporters after successful research and a prototype run to prove its hypothesis.
Thumeza has offered services for large enterprises such as TM Pick’n’Pay Zimbabwe and SPAR, which Siso claimed had “proved our mettle” as a B2B-targeted business, with revenue funded with soft loans from family and friends wherever needed. It also has excellent accelerator backing, having participated in the Google for Startups Africa Accelerator last year and the Startupbootcamp AfriTech program this year. It is now being tested in Zimbabwe, but it has wider plans.
Thumeza’s revenue model is based on collecting a commission for every transaction that takes place on its platform.