Ejenzi Africa is an online marketplace that brings together manufacturers and suppliers of construction materials and related products on the same platform for convenience and ease of access by buyers.
Seth Mundhe got to experience first hand the challenges in procuring building materials in the right quantity, quality and having them delivered on time, while working on various projects as a construction manager. The prices would also vary a lot, making it difficult for him to budget. These inefficiencies always proved costly to a project.
“While living in the US, i would shop on Amazon a lot. I was impressed with how efficient their system was and I contemplated how a similar solution could be customized for the construction industry back home.” Says Seth
During his research, Mudhe realized that building material vendors were an equally frustrated lot. They too needed an easier way of selling. He therefore teamed up with Ken Anam, his business partner and came up with Ejenzi Africa Limited.
Unlike most marketplaces, Ejenzi is a niche ecommerce platform specializing in building and construction materials. Vendors registered on the platform can list, add, manage and track their inventory through their vendor accounts. Buyers, on the other hand, are able to choose from the various options available on www.ejenzi.co.ke, make orders and pay securely online.
Customers also have the option to pick up goods from stores or have them delivered to their preferred sites hence a simpler and hassle free procurement process.
Since launching in January, the number of unique visitors to their platform has quadrupled. They have also experienced a rapid increase in the number of diaspora users who find the platform convenient since they are able to purchase building materials from wherever they are and have them delivered to their preferred locations. This has enabled them to proceed with their construction project without having to be physically present in the country, therefore saving them valuable time and money.
Currently operating in Nairobi County and its environs, Ejenzi gets about 100 to 200 unique daily users, 10 % of which result into conversions.
Their main focus at the moment is developing partnerships with vendors and suppliers, resulting in lower pricing and a wider variety of products on their platform. So far, they have partnered with VassayTiles, a leading supplier of building and construction among other companies.
"At Ejenzi, our policy is to treat the customer like we would want to be treated. We got this inspiration from the book of Matthew 22:39(Love your neighbor as you love yourself)." Says Mundhe.
He continues to say, "we instituted this culture because we believe that treating customers the way we would want to be treated makes us empathetic to their needs, hence strengthening our customer centric approach to business."
Before starting Ejenzi Africa, Seth used to travel to china to buy goods for sale back in Kenya. However, that venture didn’t work out as expected. It took him some time before venturing back into business, but the lessons he learnt, have been vital in Ejenzi’s success today.
He says,“the biggest lesson for me is that when you have an idea, you have to demonstrate your belief in yourself by taking action, however small, before expecting other people to believe in your idea.”
Seth believes that talent development is essential for the continued success of Ejenzi Africa. He therefore endeavor to understand the specific needs, goals and motivations of individuals who comprise the team and how these can be aligned with the organization's long term goals and objectives.
He also put a lot of emphasis on the value of learning. For instance, when someone completes an assignment, they celebrate both the outcome and the learning even if it wasn’t completed as perfectly as everyone would have liked.
“One thing that stands out about our team is the hunger and desire to be the best at what we do. Our passion is what keeps us going even when we are experiencing some tough times.” Says Mundhe
In the next few years, they are planning to have operations in all of Eastern Africa. They also plan to develop a wide distribution network, making it possible for building materials to be delivered to every corner.
Ejenzi Africa is one of the startups in the cohort II of Traction Camp, an accelerator program that connects digital startups from across East Africa with the knowledge, capital, and access to markets they need to grow.
The program is backed by the World Bank Group’s infoDev programand supported by the governments of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Kenya.
To learn more about Ejenzi Africa, visit their websitewww.ejenzi.co.keor you can follow them on twitter @ejenziafrica.