Okumhlope is using a hybrid technology approach to provide inclusive e-commerce for townships and technologically underserved communities while fostering local empowerment programs for their youth.

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Investing in Okumhlophe is a unique opportunity to create social impact while generating returns. Townships in Africa have long been overlooked and underdeveloped, but Okumhlophe is committed to changing that. The founders have a deep understanding of the challenges faced by these communities, having lived in townships themselves, and have been working on this problem for five years.

The potential for scalability is immense, as major brands and companies are beginning to realize the importance of reaching these underrepresented markets. Okumhlophe's unique approach to solving this difficult problem is poised to disrupt the market and create a more inclusive business landscape.

We are confident in the founders' ability to execute their vision and bring positive change to underserved communities in Africa.

As impact-driven investors, we are excited to support their journey and witness the transformational impact they will have on the lives of millions of people in underserved communities.

South Africa

Masibulele Nocanda

The Problem

In South Africa, the issue of efficient last-mile fulfilment processes for township residents remains a major challenge. Due to the complex nature of the township areas, getting goods and services delivered to residents has been a problem for many years. The lack of infrastructure, limited access to technology, and limited investment in these areas make it difficult for businesses to provide timely and efficient delivery services.

The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that many of these residents rely on informal marketplaces for their daily needs, which often operate outside of formal logistics channels. This makes it difficult for businesses to reach these customers and ensure that their orders are delivered on time. Additionally, many township residents do not have the means to travel long distances to access essential goods and services, which places additional pressure on delivery services to reach them in a timely and efficient manner.

Okumhlope, or OKP, as we fondly call them, is focusing on specific challenges faced by both customers and E-commerce retailers

For Customers

  • Township customers use friends and fools addresses in more affluent areas outside of the townships to have their e-commerce purchases dropped off for them. This is inconvenient, incurs needless charges and exposed to risk of theft.
  • High data costs in accessing the internet hinders e-commerce activity for low-income households
  • It's difficult to return goods purchased from e-commerce retailers because of lack of a direct access to the vendor

For E-commerce retailers

  • Difficulty in fulfilling orders to township customers who aren't at home
  • Local crime deters courier companies from fulfilling township orders
  • Township customers lack trust in e-commerce retailers
  • Township residential addresses are not properly structured and are sometimes ailed with poor road networks

Their Solution

OKP is building a network of integrated locations within townships and underserved areas for the purchase, collection and return of e-commerce products. The locations will provide customers a hybrid experience of a digital showroom of products that they can interact with and build trust for the products before purchasing them.

OKP's model will provide customers in rural and township locations with the following value propositions:

  • Assist them to shop online in a safe and trustworthy environment
  • Customers would be updated at every stage of the delivery process
  • Customers would have a centralised, safe and convenient location to collect their purchases.
  • Facilitate quick and easy returns of purchased products for unsatisfied customers

Their Traction so far

  • Pilot location launched at Khayelitsha mall, Cape Town
  • Onboarded large e-commerce retailers and emerging e-commerce retailers such as Takealot, Superbalist, Jack Lemkus & MyRunwaySale
  • Potential reach of +/- 30 000 people per day per location
  • 15 walk-in inquiries every day from customers showing interest in purchasing
  • Average basket value of R1283 ($70)
  • Most expensive item sold valued at R8300
  • Most purchased item valued at R2599
  • 26% average Week-on-week growth