There has already been a different start-up named Dariro (we covered it here), which provided platform for local pages (in the sense of Facebook Pages) and included a section for song lyrics for local music. That venture however reportedly went bust towards the end of 2011, and differs from the new Dariro.com.
Last year we reviewed a local start-up Ndiringe, an online platform for Zimbabwean professionals and artists to showcase their portfolios. The website provides an opportunity for self-promotion and currently, services that use Dariro include acclaimed Photoshop guru David Zinyama.
Kudakwashe Gore, the founder, has rebranded his start-up and the new name is Dariro (website: dariro.com.)
How does Dariro work?
Think of it as a LinkedIn for local artists, developers, designers, and other experts. The idea is that the platform will allow artists and other creative professionals to showcase their (mostly visual) work online, without having to manage a website. Behance, the Adobe-owned company, uses a similar model.
According to founder Kudakwashe Gore, Dariro’s plan is to expand – and that includes an extension to include literary works online. “The big picture is to end up with sub-sites for story writers and poets,” explained Gore, adding that the site would use the multimedia tools that incorporate audio, text, and images. While the multimedia extension is still in the pipeline, Gore said, “the first phase which is now live is for developers, graphic designers and photographers since we already had existing users from Ndiringe.”
The impressive bits about Dariro.com
A big plus for Dariro is the newly-done website, which is well designed, colorful (visual appeal is how any online portfolio gets noticed or creates traction for its owner.) The site is also very user-friendly: categories are listed near at the header-level of the page, and next to them are panels for the useful search and filter engines. So far, the four categories listed are Websites, Photography, Mobile Apps, and Graphic Designs.
Although some publishers have incomplete profiles – the lack of a company website being the most common omission – visitors to the site can proceed to the web pages for the listed product or service in a straightforward way. For example, the Dariro page for Jobs Zimbabwe describes its product as“a job search app that works 24/7” and then links to the Apple App Store page where the free app can be downloaded.
Yet another cool bit about the new Dariro is the power that the site is trying into the hands of publishers. According to Gore:
“Dariro upgraded from Ndiringe with a lot of useful features to help publishers analyse their posts better. The UX is now being continuously worked on. [We] added Gmail and Facebook login to attract more publishers. For each activity that happens on a post, we are gathering useful data that will feature in the analytics section of the publisher’s dashboard.”
Gore explained that as soon the site hits its target number of followers, the analytics reports will be published.
What lies ahead
One year after launch, Dariro has been experiencing slow growth. (The entrepreneurs behind — Gore and his team — have attributed this to the lack of an aggressive marketing push of their brand. “The site was just there, but no-one was promoting it,” Gore said, noting that a lot of current publishers just “discovered the site on their own.” Another consequence of minimal promoting has been the traffic volumes to the site, which at an average of 125 visits per day are only a fraction of what the site has potential to muster.
Fortunately, the start-up is heading into a season of aggressive marketing, and they’re refreshingly not narrow-focused. They are plotting a regional expansion of their services and according to Gore, the advertising campaigns they are launching will target artists and other publishers from Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa.
With the work ahead cut out for them, and the positive changes Gore and his team are promising, it looks like Dariro (formerly Ndiringe) is finally on its way to realizing its vast potential.