[Interview] Teddy Kimani, CEO, vukaplus.com, Kenya
Teddy Kimani is the CEO and Founder of Vukaplus, a Kenyan-based classified ads company that provides an online platform for users to place ads for properties, cars, job vacancies, businesses and services. Vukaplus is run by Teddy and Japheth Mutai, who is the business partner. The platform has so far registered over 300,000 users. Africa Business Communities engages Teddy in this interview:
Please introduce your company to us
Vukaplus is a classified ads company. The listing website www.vukaplus.com, provides an online platform for users to place ads of properties, cars, job vacancies, businesses and services for as low as 2 dollars a day to 18 dollars a month.
What motivated you to start Vukaplus?
Several things motivated me. First, to bridge the digital gap between businesses and the public/market. The idea came about when my friend and I visited a property developer who kept complaining during our conversation that he couldn’t find a good website to list his properties, after sometime of research and experience I realized the need is bigger than it is assumed. The other thing that drove me is being brought up in poverty and in high school I started noticing that my dad’s friend was rich because he was an entrepreneur with numerous sources of income in a day as opposed to my dad who is a farmer and used to get income at the end of the year when he shelled and sold bags of maize. Those experiences stirred up my ambitions to venture into business.
Why should one list on Vukaplus and not any other platform?
Vukaplus.com is where you should place ads to generate leads and sales because it’s the best place to be found online by your potential clients.Vukaplus is fast, reliable and scalable, it responds quickly to millions of requests as it is hosted by the renowned Microsoft azure. Finally vukaplus is simple and very to use, the steps to signing up, creating profile and placing ads are very simple and straight forward. The platform is automated you create ads, edit and activate them all by yourself.
How has the market responded to your services?
The number of users keep increasing daily and people are placing ads on Vukaplus which is pretty good for progress that some revenue is now being realized. We have so far registered over 300,000 users on the platform.
Who are your clients?
Property Managers, agents and sellers
Car hires and sellers
HR Managers and Recruiting agents
Business owners and service providers
What would you say gives your company the competitive edge?
The ability to provide everyone an opportunity to advertise big or small. The automation enables users to place ads and activate them by themselves anytime of the day or night. The user experience is also very simple, easy and ready to use. We have also scaled down our categories to property, vehicles, businesses, and job listings. This has helped define our market very clearly, making it possible to give 100% attention. The other thing that gives us a competitive edge is that unlike many other listing platforms, Vukaplus.com is a clean website that does not allow pop up ads, we like our customers and our potential customers to enjoy a smooth experience, without distractions.
As an online business, what disruptive technologies should markets look out for in 2021?
There are several but I would say Artificial Intelligence, Escrow e-Commerce with online shops and Big data. These innovations are now defining how businesses are funtioning, they are the now and the future. If you are in business and are not applying any disruptive technologies, you may not make it too far.
What is the current threat to your business and industry?
That would be lack of capital and funding for technological innovations. In Africa, case in point Kenya, people especially from previous generations have had this false belief that technology comes from Europe and America and that we cannot produce technology here. Africa's capital has been tied to tangible things. African investors rarely invest in technology as opposed to other continents where it is investors money that drives innovation and production of technology by investing in the ideas of the youth like Facebook or Twitter. I'm hopeful though that there's a brighter future ahead, it may be inevitable, actually.
What does your company need to grow and prosper?
Enough financial investment to facilitate aquisition of human resources ,unlimited marketing budgets and global expansion programs. The vision of Vukaplus is to become as big as Facebook or Google in half a decade.
What is your opinion of the current state of property, vehicles, jobs and business listing in Kenya?
I believe we have not scratched the surface, we estimate to grow up to 150,000 monthly listings in kenya alone and about 3 million monthly listings globably within 24 months.
What is the latest news from your company?
The Company is looking to introduce priority advertising category for big advertisers like governments and large corporations/organizations. Vukaplus is also currently working on a web and mobile application which will increase efficiency on functionality and improve user experience exponentially. We are also working on a marketing software that will enable marketing agents to hire themselves on vukaplus.com work anywhere in the world anytime and get paid 25% commission for each listing placed through their accounts. This updated is expected to solve unemployment issues and change work culture enormously.
What are the ambitions of the company going forward?
The ambitions for the company would be to grow globally and have all businesses in the world done on vukaplus.com especially when we introduce escrow e-Commerce with virtual shops in a few years.
…your parting shot
The world has changed, the world is shifting to digital space fast and vukaplus is here to assist you digitize, transform your business and move you forward. Sign up today at www.vukaplus.com/account/signup and most importantly place your ads on www.vukaplus.com it is the best website to place ads right now. We are also looking for an investor to invest 20%-30% of the company.