Startups: SokoText changing lives of small and medium enterprises via SMS


After featuring Olivine Technologies, a Kenyan Startup that specializes in the design and development of software solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), today TechTrendsKE turns its focus on SokoText, a Startup aimed at solving Africa’s food insecurity.

SokoText was founded by Suraj Gudka, Sofia Zab, Carolina Medina, Verena Liedgens and Jonah Brotman in 2013 specifically to focus on small-scale vegetable retailers.

The platform gives small-scale vegetable sellers and kiosk owners’ ability to pre-order food stuff a day earlier before they go to sell them than buying them every morning.

Sokotext is a mobile micro franchised food logistics management system that connects urban centres dwellers to rural farmers through an SMS.

SokoText

Each week farmers text which type of foods they want and are ready for the market, Sokotext then aggregates all this in a database and texts on a daily basis to all registered users. Thanks to the aggregated users in the slums, they receive the foods in whole sale prices and can as well pay with through M-Pesa.

Sokotext is not only a cloud solution but also a social enterprise solution that is used to disrupt the distribution processes on the ground today. For instance today in slums, the supply chain relays on a series of middle men who each take their cut and by the time they reach the end user they are too expensive. Well Sokotext eliminates middlemen by employing existing transporters to carry food from farmers to a central facility next to the slum where Sokotext network franchise will redistribute the local orders to sokotext rebranded kiosks. The micro franchisee starts their own enterprise as pick up points for the fresh produce.

SokoText is a smart solution with a big idea to make food affordable for everyone through the use of  messaging to aggregate demand for food and unlock wholesale prices for small entrepreneurs in urban slums.

It uses the power of mobile phones to aggregate demand in the slums and unlock wholesale prices for micro-entrepreneurs.

Results of the research proved their basic food insecurity theory right and the team decided to run a pilot scheme with five women from Mathare slums. At the end of the day, each mama mboga would send a text message in Kiswahili explaining the produce she planned to buy the next day and the quantity. Each of the orders were aggregated according to produce and the Soko Text, ensuring that the produce would reach mama mboga before 9am the following morning.

During a presentation made by the CEO of SokoText at the National ICT innovation Forum, Suraj pointed out that up to date they had made Kshs. 3 million in terms of revenue and had two main outlets serving 65 clients in Kenya.

Last year, the start-up received ($8,000) Ksh.730, 000 from the London School of economics and equity-free seed capital $40,000 (Ksh3.5million) from Start-Up Chile in a quest to make food insecurity in Africa history.

 

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Nixon Kanali

Nixon is a Trained Journalist interested in all things Tech, Business, and Public Relations (PR). Also Founder and editor of TechTrendsKE. E-Mail: nickcanali@gmail.com/nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke Phone: +254 727 503 198

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