Zambian blog TechTrends reports that Rocket Internet’s Zambian classifieds site, Kaymu, was shut down recently. People at the local operation told the blog the closure is because of some “macroeconomic reasons”. We notice on the Wayback Machine that as recently as 22 September, the site was up. The Zambian operation had run for about a year. We’ve written to Rocket for the reasons of the closure and we’ll update when we hear back.
Other Rocket Internet marketplace properties in Zambia, Carmudi, their car classifieds, and Lamudi, Real Estate, are still up and running, which makes you wonder how much substance there is to the macroeconomic reasons.
A report by another blog, Manic Zambia, shows there’s no strong alternative providing a regular classifieds website in Zambia but that there are startups using social media platforms like Facebook as a marketplace. One such operation is Ama Sampo.
On why Kaymu failed, Manic attributed it to the company not finding ways to work with local sellers to ensure that buyers would have their transactions fulfilled. “The biggest mistake Kaymu made was not partnering with existing local retailers like local clothing boutiques. This gap is what led to the lack of stock when a buyer actually purchased an item on the Kaymu website,” the blog noted.
Techtrends also lists a number of reasons including outsourced logistics, an unbanked population and no offline brand building in addition to the weak relationship with sellers.
According to the global Kaymu website, the classifieds startup is still active in 16 African markets including Mozambique, Angola, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and other countries.
Here’s a screenshot of the old website.