Yanaya is arguably one of the hottest Zimbabwean startups of the year. Imagine my surprise therefore when I was about to start this article and realised we had not yet covered them here at Techzim! I don’t know how such a thing happened but the aim of this article is to correct it. We are quite proud of our extensive knowledge of the local startups landscape and how we have our ears to the ground.
Yanaya as you probably know bills itself as “A healthy lifestyle” startup and their delivery and online ordering service has been the subject of many a social media campaign. Their social media strategy has been quite impressive and in a short space of a year, they have managed to garner unparalleled attention.
The company was founded by a young lady called Nyaradzo Dhliwayo who lost a beloved friend to cancer. Towards the end of his life, Nyaradzo’s friend was told to go on a plant-based diet but it seems there were not a lot of good options for those on-plant based diets in Zimbabwe. Seeing an opportunity and as she tells it, with a startup capital of US$50, Yanaya was born.
The enthusiasm and optimism of its founder seem to infuse everything that Yanaya does including its clever marketing strategy. These guys are taking shunned traditional foods like boabab, wild berries, sugar plums (mazhanje), nyii and masawu and turning them into hot-selling smoothies. It’s the sort of food the rich and well to do often waved away as “rural food.” Yet here they are imbibing these smoothies by the gallon and paying hefty prices for the priviledge.
Yanaya doing something amazing here by taking everyday resources that were out of fashion, adding value to them by repackaging them in ways that appeal to Zimbabwe’s powerful urban population and making a profit.
Yanaya’s latest splash with CIMAS
I have been harping on and gushing on about Yanaya’s social media marketing and their latest campaign is just an example of how well thought out it has been. They have partnered with CIMAS-that health angle is not just a gimmick. Under the partnership, those with CIMAS membership are getting discounts at Yanaya.
A vibrant online store
This being Techzim, we are always interested in the tech angle of things. Again Yanaya does well here. Their site uses WordPress and WooCommerce but they have done such a good job of customising and streamlining things you wouldn’t be able to tell. Their cart uses PesePay which supports Ecocash and OneMoney for local payments. For international payments, the same gateway processes Visa and MasterCard. Sadly PayPal and ZIPIT are not supported.
This article is starting to sound sponsored but it’s not. That’s just how good Yanaya’s strategy has been. I prefer my wild fruits in natural form as God intended them to be eaten but for the urban youth even the not so young, Yanaya’s products offer a healthy choice compared to the fast-food grease pushed that dominates the food delivery industry.