In our earlier post, we introduced you to Courier City a Zimbabwean owned startup operating from Canada that is looking to disrupt the traditional shipping industry dominated by mega multinational companies like DHL, FedEx, and UPS.
We were able to get its CEO and Founder Mr. Strive Mazunga to explain the idea behind Courier City, what he’s aiming to achieve and just how it all works. Please find our Q&A with the CEO below:
TZ: What problem are you looking to solve with Courier City?
SM: As expats, we always want to stay connected with our families back home including being able to access Zimbabwean commodities that are not available in the diaspora (maybe expensive).
Whenever one wants to achieve this there is always the ache of how expensive it is to bring goods over using the typical courier services or how to know if there is someone in the community traveling whom you can use to deliver to or from Zimbabwe.
In this regard, Courier City was born to deliver value to the customers and to create a new shared economy that allows our travelers to earn money
TZ: What inspired you to develop it?
SM: Our inspiration is grounded on using technology to solve problems. We have access to advanced technology which we can utilize as a conduit to develop a new economy that is controlled by the people. Our target is to transform people’s lives and create a new connection channel with no bureaucracy.
TZ: What sort of business model are you using for your service?
SM: We are using a shared economy model where we are only a technology marketplace to connect travelers to customers. Our revenue comes from sharing the customers’ fees with the traveler.
TZ: How much traction have you made in the market so far?
SM: As we have been building our brand we have raised awareness and people have signed up and shown interest in being either a customer or a travel partner. We have a few hundred people who have signed up and specified their travel dates in 2016. For customers, we have engaged in several marketing campaigns including the Mafikizolo Show Informational Session on Oct 15 which was followed by our Invite Only Pre-Launch & Networking event that we hosted on Oct 28th.
During all these events we collected a lot of leads that include both travel partners and sending customers. We still have 2 more events that are coming up. We will be partnering with the Tuku Family Gospel Show on November 12th. Early December we are working on a public launch event for our public release of the platform
TZ: What sort of challenges have you faced so far?
SM: It’s been a rough ride from inception. Our biggest challenge that we have faced so far is people not believing in who we are and what we do. We have only had success when we get a chance to engage with people 1-1 and face to face. Because of that, we have planned more community engagement events.
No one will ever take you seriously until they see how serious you are. Technology has been a big challenge because our technical capabilities are very advanced and they have a lot of intricacies. The challenge of getting the right people who can bring “full stack” experience is very important to us as a startup as we have limited funding. We have definitely worked through this challenge and engaged people in our network circles to support us on a secondary or tertiary basis.
Regulation and red tape is something we are working through. Many major insurance companies, corporations, and government bodies are not willing to partner with us because we are still new on the scene with low revenue. These will be growing pains but as we grow our business and understand our market we will be able to command respect and prove our success.
TZ: What has been the feedback from users?
SM: The enthusiasm from the public for our platform is huge and overwhelming. We have a waiting list of customers and travelers are ready to get their hands on our platform to try it out to earn money and send their packages.
Since our market research campaign on social media, a lot of people have been volunteering information to us expressing their interest in being travel partners. I can disclose that for our one week market research campaign on Facebook received 150 leads volunteering their travel information for us to engage them once the platform is ready.
For those that are part of the pilot, we are getting 5-star ratings for user experience, ease of use(usability), the speed of service, pricing, and convenience. Even though the pilot testing is still going we are very encouraged with what the future holds.
Please leave a comment on what you think of this new Zimbabwean owned startup in the comment section below.