It’s like Uber, but for goods, not people. New e-hailing service Droppa allows you to book a small bakkie or truck to pick up and deliver that fridge that needs moving, or those chairs required at a wedding, or to take home that dinner table you just bought.
Droppa is the brainchild of 31-year-old founder and director Khathu Mufamadi.
Mufamadi matriculated in Limpopo in 2004, and completed a BSc in computer science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He worked as a computer programmer in the banking industry from 2009 to 2016, at which point he decided to dedicate his time to the development of Droppa.
“In 2012 my sister had a business that rented out chairs and tables for events. However, there were always problems with the collection of the goods, so we acquired the services of a driver and a small truck to make these deliveries,” says Mufamadi.
“In 2015, one of my colleagues in the banking industry went abroad. He came back and told me about Uber. I researched this model, and using the experience gained from my sister’s business, I decided to leave the corporate world and build Droppa.”
In June 2016, Mufamadi joined the Softstart Business and Technology Incubator, funded by government.
By September 2016, he had a prototype of the delivery app.
In 2016, in another milestone, mLab Southern Africa – a mobile technology accelerator that supports new startups with the aim to unlock the mobile apps economy – provided Droppa with funding.
“We used the funding to build a minimum viable product, which was finished in June 2017,” says Mufamadi.
A further funding boost came from IDF Capital’s ‘I’m In’ programme, which gives start-up entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their ideas to a group of high-net-worth investors.
Entrepreneurs with an exceptional business concept, who have an early stage market-viable product or service, are invited to apply to participate in the programme.
‘I’m In’ provided funding to Droppa, to aid Mufamadi in commercialising the business.
In 2017, Droppa was also part of Google Launchpad. This is a global acceleration programme that helps startups build and scale their products.
More funding arrived in the form of a R2-million investment in November this year by Rain co-founder and former MTN chief technology officer, Phumlani Moholi.
Today, Droppa has 150 vehicles in Gauteng and 1 000 registered users.
Users can access the service via mobile app or the Droppa website.
Business users can make use of Droppa Retail, which is an online platform where they can book a truck or bakkie to do multiple deliveries to their customers, allowing their customers to track the driver once the delivery is dispatched.
Droppa is for use by private individuals, as well as small businesses, which do not want to get “stuck into long-term logistics contracts”, explains Mufamadi.
Similar to Uber, Droppa does not own any vehicles.
The owner-drivers register their vehicles with Droppa, which then performs background checks on both vehicle and driver.
If the driver is accepted, he or she receives training on being a Droppa service provider.
Drivers must have no criminal record and the vehicle must be roadworthy. The vehicle must also not be older than ten years, and have less than 180 000 km on the clock.
The driver is responsible for not overloading the vehicle.
The vehicles available are half-ton bakkies, one-ton bakkies, 1.5 t Kia and Hyundai bakkies and 4 t trucks.
When booking a vehicle, the user provides the information on what kind of truck or bakkie is required, also indicating if an extra pair of hands is required to help with the loading process.
The user receives a reference number, which can be used to track the vehicle up to delivery.
A load can be scheduled immediately, or in a few days’ time.
Other than Uber, however, Droppa does not house any financial data, and each load must be paid once off via debit or credit card, or PayU.
“It’s like booking a flight,” says Mufamadi.
“Each load also receives insurance of up to R100 000.”
Moving a load on a half-ton bakkie for a 10 km journey costs around R300. This includes fuel and loading.
Mufamadi says Droppa is not yet profitable.
“It is not easy to get funding as a young entrepreneur,” he surmises.
“I would advise other young entrepreneurs to not lose their vision as they seek finance.
“Sometimes getting too much money too soon is not good,” he adds. “You may find that you give up your vision to consultants. Sometimes you are simply more agile with less funding.”
Droppa aims to expand to Cape Town and Durban next year, with future launches also planned for Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg.
The company currently employs six people.
“We are still raising money and hope to have concluded another round of funding by June,” says Mufamadi.