What is your background, what is your name and where did you get the idea for your start-up?
My name is Neil Sango, I studied computer science, I have a computer science degree at the university in Makerere, Kampala and after that I worked in ICT for a company named Cyber for two years.
Then I started my own business in South Sudan. As (…) we had to bring IT equipment from overseas: servers, computers, peripherals and because of that, I immediately saw the problem. I thought “they export a lot in this sector” while here there is no communication, things do not happen … So, in my search for solutions to our problems in IT, I understood that c was everyone’s problem!
That’s how I got into logistics, to solve our personal problems, and I thought “if I can figure this out for myself, I could actually solve everyone’s problem” this that led me to do this.
My name is Bonny, I started studying economics at university after that I did accounting and it was after graduation that I got to know Neil.
You were already in the same company?
Yes, we started our business there and after three years we said to ourselves, “Let’s go back to Uganda. ”
So you were in South Sudan?
Yes, and after three years we wanted to go back to Uganda to start something new, and that’s how we discovered the world of logistics. So we got into logistics, but we already had an IT company in Uganda, so we were doing both at the same time. Until the end of 2014-2015 when we said to ourselves “Hey, let’s devote ourselves entirely to logistics. ”
Because the need was already there?
Yes. The opportunities are bigger here, let’s not just focus on that and register our own company called Internship UG, and that was our kick-off.
How many are you in your startup now?
Two co-founders and one employee?
What are your employee’s goals? What are your roles?
Me and Bonny are the CEOs, Bonny takes care of the administration but especially the accounting because we have a lot of payments to process, transactions.
The main role of our employee is sales: he is in charge of product monitoring and has a good understanding of the market because he has been in a similar company (a more informal logistics company, so he already understands the customs operations, etc.).
For the logistics part, do you have other partners?
Yes we have several.
What exactly do they do and how do you interact with them, to better understand how you function internally?
What we do: we’re going to find delivery companies (we don’t deliver ourselves) and we buy a lot of freight. We do not want to compete with delivery companies, we seek to collaborate with them.
The consumer cannot usually get good prices because of the freight, so we buy ourselves at a large volume.
So you are the interface between suppliers and consumers.
Exactly! Our partners are in the delivery. And these already have overseas warehouses.
In the United States and the United Kingdom. So we act as an interface between warehouses, delivery and our partners.
What state is the market in now? Do you have a lot of competition?
Yes, many unofficially: individuals from the diaspora who import and distribute their products themselves. Formally, we have no competitors in our region.
Do you have a website or mobile app for your customers? How is it going ?
We have a website with the minimum, to reduce costs where we can submit orders, do checkups and follow the whole process.
How do you find your consumers? Is it your employee who brings them?
It’s very organic. You can come and contact us or we see offers through social networks (Facebook, etc.) but we do not have funds dedicated to advertising.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing now with your startup and how can it help you? What do you need ?
How would we make everyone aware of this product? Some people know the product but not enough. There is a huge market, aware of this problem. So we want to tell them what to do
And how do you plan to make yourself known in East Africa exactly?
Like an infantry soldier, approach consumers one by one and chat face to face.
What means of communication do you think would work best, because you said earlier that the market is very large? The radio ? Television? The cellphone ? How do you plan to reach them, technically?
We will use all means of dissemination first then we will analyze their respective impact, these are the ones with the most impact that we will use.
How would you tackle the payment problem? When they want to do business with you, how do you manage that?
We make the price low
How can Seedstar World help you?
It’s a good exposure to the general public, it allows people to realize our legitimacy. These cases require confidence. People have to trust us.
Anything else you would like to add? Any advice for other entrepreneurs?
If you really believe in your ideas, and you know that it can solve major problems, you have to give everything. There is no perfect time to start. Many say to themselves “if I aim to do this job, I will be ready in (…) years! ” It takes conviction.