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Zing Zimbabwe raises $15 million in funding

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ZiNG ZW, the local company that is unrolling over 1,000 electronic vending booths around Zimbabwe over a year and aiming to create around 10,000 jobs in the process, is breaking new ground in other ways.

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ZiNG has managed to line up foreign direct investment (FDI) into its venture to the tune of $15 million, managing director Bill Gonyora told Techzim.

This is despite the prevailing challenges are normally cited as hindrances by local companies and entrepreneurs, such as Western economic sanctions against Zimbabwe, and scant foreign appetite for local investment opportunities.

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While FBC Bank have been confirmed as  ZiNG’s local financial partner, according to ZiNG, the sensitive nature of the company’s ongoing fundraising efforts outside Zimbabwe means the identity of the source of the $15 injection cannot be revealed just yet, at least for the next couple of months

Infrastructure investments

Zing is trying to create a booth with the highest possible quality, using imported polythene and metal casing.

For each kiosk, the company is forking out about $3,000, according to the manager, who said the oddly high investment was to ensure that each vendor inhabits an environment with the highest quality and offering maximum comfort.

zing-booth-woman

“When it’s too hot outside, it will be room temperature inside the kiosk,” Gonyora explained, “And when it’s freezing out there, the booth will be warm inside.” The booths will also come with a great deal of security, but even more pertinent to the high investment being put in, will house first-grade technology.

A lot of the expenses are also going towards the technology that ZiNG ZW is using on its platform, acquired from the South African company Blazingchilli.

While highly sophisticated inside, the technology will have so great a user-interface that anyone – even an unsophisticated vendor in, say, Mbare – can use it.

“It’s all click, click, click, – for the vendor. Simple as that,” Gonyora said.

Outlook

ZiNG looks very impressive right now, even as they are entering the increasingly competitive space of voucher vending.

Some concerns remain, especially whether a booth merits the kind of investment being made. $3,000, no matter the explanation given, sounds like a little too much to erect a kiosk, even a fashionable or high-grade kiosk. In Zimbabwe, this is the sort of money someone can use to buy a small, nice car.

But once the infrastructure is in place, ZiNG’s reliance on established distribution networks that have strong social ties gluing the members together, looks like a winner of a business model. It creates widespread employment and minimizes a myriad of agent costs.

This is definitely one to watch.


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24 thoughts on “Zing Zimbabwe raises $15 million in funding

  1. Techzim is infested by the zim mentality. all we seem to think about are Toyota raums and exJaps.

    1. I agree… They should put the costs of Ecocash booths as a comparison, instead of comparing a booth to an ex-jap car. If they bought small cars instead, then what? They aren’t taxi company, neither would you trust someone vending from a car…

      1. Techzim do try – but on this one they have dropped the call by bringing in the ex Jap comparison.It may be a fact that it can buy an ex Jap but that is the mindset killing Zimbabwe.Car is loses value the moment you drive it out of the showroom.Forget the inflated re-sale values in zimbabwe- a brand new car loses value every kilometer its driven what more an ex jap with mileage you cant even verify.Yet these kiosks if distributed as network or franchise can be a genuine business venture

      1. Laugh as much as you want, but tell us Mr. Kabweza, how much does an EcoCash booth cost? You must use valid comparisons, instead comparing apples and oranges. There is no link there. FYI, they are solar powered, climate controlled booths, not the ones you are used to.

    2. I think techzim’s comparison is valid because most people can EASILY RELATE to the cost of acquiring an ex-jap more than that of an ecocash booth.
      I can bet my last dollar that >99% of techzim readers know something about ex-japs and absolutely nothing about ecocash booths costwise. #BushStatistics

  2. will they be able to recoupe their investment on the $3000 per kiosk, if internet access improves or econet starts providing a ussd or in app way to buy eelectricity what happens to their business model. how about their margins in zim economy. i am impressed that they raised that sort of money, thats big money in any economy

    1. You can’t progress in life with a “what if” mentality. Even if Econet supposedly provides a USSD “app” to sell electricity, remember that not everyone uses Econet, and even of those that do, not everyone is on Ecocash. You want Econet to do everything, then call them a monopoly later.

  3. Eish – vanhu vanongopiwa 15 million vasina zvavakaita? Coz the other thing from them that I know, that Zing chat thing – was a monumental flop! I don’t know a SINGLE PERSON who installed that thing. Yet someone still willing to back them? Chikwambo chavo chine simba shuwa – they must be feeding it ZVIHUTA! It ain’t about a fancy booth – econet don’t even give ecocash agents so much as a T-SHIRT! $3000 for a booth just suggests they are OUT OF TOUCH! Nobody is gonna care about a fancy air conditioned kiosk: they want something that available ipapo ipapo. These guys are trying to differentiate themselves with something that the customer won’t care about, and spending a fortune doing it – here comes another fail!

    1. . may have met certain operational. targets and the company to rotproved their case to investors. 3000 is a lot but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. hopefully they not some crooks hoping to siphon as much money but over charging and then leaving the company to rot.
      plus having a credible institution such as FBC Bank does help their case.

      1. I would not read much into the involvement of FBC. Here is why:
        1.
        From experiences with such deals in Zim…the financing partner is roped in to ensure that the market can afford the product. Here is how it will work, IN PRINCIPLE:
        (1) Mr X will “buy” the kiosk for $Y on credit…(2)FBC will provide the $Y cash to zing… (3) Mr X will be left to service a $Y loan with FBC.
        A good example will be econet selling its products on credit in partnership with Steward bank.
        FBC’s role is that of any bank which just wants to grow their loan book. Nothing more.
        2.
        Potential funders will require zing-zw to prove that the market can afford the product. So the zing-zw ropes in FBC to support the credit sales and ensure timely cashflows to the company. Very good, on paper.

        The “credibility” will lie in the identity of the guy who invests US$15 million. It will show someone “credible” believes the project can fly and zing-zw is a worthy custodian of US$15 million.

  4. Comparing to Ex Japs is another thing but I do agree with Techzim on this thing; $3k sounds like too much for a booth in Zim. 3 quick questions:
    1. What traction have these guys made that warrants $15M worth of investments.
    2. Is this investment in exchange for equity or It was convertible debt.
    3. What’s the exact value of the company right now? The facts show that $15M is just a fraction of the actual value. What’s the value based on? Buildings, equipment, ideas or future revenue projections? Otherwise it was over-valued?

    1. ZiNG have said they will divulge more details about the funding sources, etc, and the structure of the deal they signed, in a timed fashion.. the case is supposedly sensitive “due to sanctions” among other things. The details will be published as they come.

    2. $3000 is too much for fo an ex jap car . That’s the mindset we need to change .why can zimbos who are not full employed …vari kungo kiya kiya- pay $3000 for a car with over 100,000 miles but think investing $3000 in a small portable business premises is too risky.We need to wake up that most growth in emerging markets starts with small businesses. if someone currently runs a tuck shop (kema pango ) – and migrates to this – there a chance they can get more business(I for one find most tuck shops too shabby to buy anything more than air time and chewing gum) , by taking out finance from FBC , the owner has joined the formal sector and is creating a credit history for himself and can go to bigger things if he expands or diversify . FBC grows its book as has already been said , both can create more jobs, the kiosks are now registered pvt ltd , can pay tax to the fiscus, FBC pays more tax from bigger profits (potentially); prices may go down as manufacturese such as coca cola , Dairiboard, nestle etc will be in a position to offer genuine wholesale prices or offer distribution if the Kiosks organise themselves as a network.Lets see the big picture kwete kungo funga kuti $3000 inotenga ka ex jap!

  5. $3,000 x 1,000 booths is $3m, how was the other $12m spent? Lets assume $3m on network, sortware, hardware and related infrastructure. That would leave us at $9m. Still something is not adding up? I really doubt that figure of $15m. And worse the fact that techzim would run an article without doing some research but just take this at face value is alarming. They pretty much are just giving Zing free advertising with the belief that Zing is a big player who just spent $15m. Guys $15m USD is a lot of money not to be mistaken with $15m ZWD! Did the Zimbabwe Investment Authority confirm such investment into the country?

    Come on Techzim try to be a serious and professional outfit!

    1. You can express your skepticism about issues raised in the article without attacking Techzim. You have killed any desire to engage you and share more facts.

    2. plus funding like that works in ways such as you get 20% of full amount upfront and the difference is paid when you meet specific targets.

  6. “…it looks like a winner of a business model…blah blah blah” .

    I would imagine that the zing-zw investment decision is based on the perceived increase in informal traders both in the recent past and foreseeable future basing on the political and economic outlook for Zimbabwe.
    My opinion is that zing’s competitiveness and ability to gain traction on the local market will come down to the pricing structure. Remember, demand is both willingness and ability… Your average vendor will never be ABLE to afford at the indicative price. The company may attempt to come through with a credit platform that has monthly payments of about $100 over say 4-5 years…but who would want to be obligated for that long over a “kiosk”.
    The closest example I can think of is the issue of low cost housing in Zimbabwe. The (oh so many) homeless are definitely willing…but will never own/buy a house unless/until a market offering with the right pricing structure creates that ability. Look at CABS Budiriro houses with a US$350pm payment x20 years for a 2-room structure. Seriously?
    My prediction is that the model may be good on paper but the situation on the ground is starkly different. I predict that the guys will struggle to push their product…just like the CABS guys.

  7. To people who really understand business this is a winner. Many businesses will reach out to their customers using these booths the same way it’s happening in Post offices around the country . Uber has just introduced cash payments, maybe Netflix will need a representative in Zim because as pessimists tinoda kushandisa cash musvo all the time. I remember when Econet introduced booties, many Zimbos where very pessimistic about their success.
    Most Zimbas love criticising ideas. vamwe Havana kanakutomboverenga. $15 m is peanuts to serious businessmen .That’s majapanese are exporting second hand cars to us, because if anyone akati anoda kugadzira mota muno muZim anoshaudhiwa .Wake up fellow countrymen.

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