This short series of 6 articles will cover the profiles of each of the six finalists that made it into the finals of this year’s ZOL Jumpstart Challenge to be held this Friday, 14 September.
Startup: Lost and Found
Year founded: April 2012
Team: Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi & Philip Samudzimu
Lost & Found is an SMS application by Hansole Investments. The value proposition of the product is founded on the fact that a lot of lost or stolen items actually get found but never reach their owners. If you were to lose an important document such as a national id and a stranger were to find it, that document would likely find its way on a pin board at a supermarket, on a kombi window or some other location.
Lost & Found has partnered with the Zimbabwe Republic Police and local mobile operators to deploy its application. Users of the application begin by registering identification numbers such as national id information and product serial numbers on www.lostandfound.org.zw. When a particular item is lost, the owner will simply need to SMS their first name, last name, and ID number/Item number with key LOST to 36363. Provided the item is in the database, an sms response will be received with information on the police station at which the item can be collected.
While Lost & Found cannot guarantee that all lost items will be recovered, it certainly reduces the pain point of looking for missing items. According to Jacob Mutisi (CEO of Hansole Investments), during their research they have noted that lost items like TVs, DVDs, radios, computers, laptops, microwaves, title deeds, company registration certificate, school/college/university Certificates, ID cards, driver’s licence, passports, certificates, and many other items are rarely recovered. Yet they are handed over and kept at Kombi windows, supermarkets, bars, restaurants, hotels, Registration Offices, Post-offices, City Council offices, schools, Churches, Police Stations in and around the country.
Jacob went on to state that “the simplicity and reach of an ordinary sms is often underestimated, with rising mobile penetration and compatibility for any type of phone, our solution is well poised to make a difference in people’s lives”.
To succeed the startup will need to grow its database by driving awareness. It will also have to play a proactive role of encouraging people who find missing items to take them to police stations within their reach. On monetisation, lost & found will generate revenue through premium sms payouts. The company is currently bringing more stakeholders such as media houses to the table.