Winston Taylor, founder of the relatively new startup, Gikko.net came by the office last week Friday for a short discussion about his startup. We are always excited about local startups of all shapes and sizes and quickly delved into his. To begin with, Gikko.net is a month old trading division of Rollout Ads. The company itself is less than a year old and is the one behind those ads/coupons (on the back of till slips) you’ve probably received from a Spar or TM Supermarket near you.
Winston was quite modest about his addition of an internet based platform to the mainly offline business. He set the tone by describing Gikko.net as an extension of the till slip coupons. The mission of the site is to help consumers save money by availing discount coupons which they can print out and use. Winston believes that local brands need to engage customers more and is very consistent about this.
Unlike the group buying craze that’s taken the world (in other words; Groupon) and Africa (rupu.co.ke, mycitydeals.co.za, dealdey.com ), Gikko.net is not a group buying site per se but a discount outlet. According to Winston the lack of online payment systems locally necessitated him to think out of the box; a typical consumer would log onto the site, find what they need/want and simply print it out.
This ease of use is a direct beneficiary of the till slips unit that’s equally simple to understand and use. Winston believes that local consumer dynamics are now changing as customers become more frugal. On this note he believes Gikko.net can empower small businesses by raising awareness and driving measurable traffic. On the other hand, which consumer wouldn’t want to pay less for more? Gikko.net’s value proposition in this regard is straight and simple.
Another interesting avenue Rollout Ads is pursuing is mobile marketing. To this effect he informed us that his company is now a spinoff of Zimbabwe’s first ICT venture capital firm; Matamba Anonaka Technology Holdings (MATHs). Through this alliance the Gikko brand will be rolled out to mobile phones through the distribution of local content and the coupon service. This will result in a holistic niche marketing platform that is able to attract a following across a wide consumer spectrum.
Techzim believes that more work needs to be done on refining the website and that the Gikko brand has continental potential. Africa’s middle class is exploding and so too are its homegrown retailers (Innscor, Shoprite , Nakumatt)
By combining the power of the mobile phone, good old trust factor of a till slip and a growing online base, Gikko.net could just scale the continent. Winston modestly played such ideas down as his focus is on building a functional and quality product for everyday Zimbabweans-for the meantime that is.
Winston urges local start-ups not to be scared to knock on doors. Furthermore; he believes that entrepreneurs should just go out there and do it, and to have ‘guts’ regardless of the situation.