Founder Series: Meet the uncap techpreneurs
Article by: Uncap
Being in business is rarely ever a straightforward journey and entrepreneurs can tell you that their brands constantly undergo major transformation. 2020 spared no one as we all battled the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We sat down with two founders in the tech space who gained from the first round of investment from Uncap to find out how they’ve shaped their businesses over the years.
Annabel Angwenyi – Co-Founder Ziada
Ziada is a platform that enables you to find and book trusted service and business suppliers within your area.
1. What inspired you to start your business?
We came up with the idea in late 2016. The reason was twofold, one was that we ourselves are small business owners that we’re struggling to match with prospective clients, and became privy to business opportunities once they had lapsed. We wanted to remedy that. Secondly, we kept finding ourselves in need of service providers, and though sure of their existence, didn’t know how or where to find them for the transactions to occur. These scenarios led us on the path to creating Ziada.
2. How long have you been in business & if you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Our first version went live in 2017 but we took a break very quickly after. Firstly, because our team was not ready but the market was also green. Interestingly, the few users we had in that version were the ones to alert us to the market readiness. They kept reaching out asking when we were coming back and that their peers were looking for a solution like Ziada. We did a market assessment and decided to relaunch in 2020 and the market was indeed ready and our traction shows it.
If we were to start again, we’d include a technical co-founder. This would have saved us a lot of time and money.
3. How did Covid-19 change your business priorities or force you to pivot?
We had very grand plans for field campaigns to re-introduce ourselves to the market. All these plans continue to be shelved due to the pandemic.
Social media and digital ads have had to compensate for the lack of physical interaction with our users and though they fall short in some ways, they have been a good source of conversion and growth for us and we’ve learned how to optimize these resources in a way that we might not have.
We’re part of the share of start-ups that have reaped some benefits from Covid-19 as it forced businesses to go online. We were perfectly placed for the businesses to take advantage of to have a semblance of continuity with such a huge business disruption.
4. How has the Uncap investment impacted your business?
Uncap did one big thing for us and that was to expedite our app development process. Before we were only paying for what we could afford to get done each month which was very frustrating. The investment helped get dedicated hours to our project that got us to market in the knick of time.
Uncap has gone beyond an investor and has introduced us to their extended network and even nominated us to other programs that have been greatly beneficial to Ziada. Our cohort of investees has a group where we share wins and losses, share opportunities, and cheer each other on. This comradery is a benefit of being a part of Uncap, extras to being an investee that is invaluable.
5. What advice would you give an entrepreneur who is thinking of applying for investment at Uncap?
Uncap goes beyond an investor and the benefits to investees are much larger than the monetary amount that Uncap puts in the entrepreneurs they believe in.