Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am the CEO and co-founder of Fundis. I would describe myself as a collaborator, a creator of possibilities, and a catalyst for growth. I am keen on reading, I make sure to read at least 2 books in a week and I love football. Other than that I am busy building the company.
How long has your company been in operation and what inspired the idea of Fundis?
Fundis has been in operation for 2 years now, we celebrated our 2nd anniversary in May. Fundis is an app-based platform with over 1000 users. We are a team of 6 employees. The idea of Fundis came about in 2016 right after my graduation. I had friends working in construction companies at the time. They all complained that it was difficult to find skilled, reliable laborers to work in construction sites. My co-founder and I decided to come up with a platform that offers competent, vetted, and reliable casual workers. We wanted to provide an alternative way to find the right skills set that you need for big projects like construction or even at home when you need a plumber.
Let’s date back to 2 years ago. You and your co-founder realized that there is a gap. What happened next?
The first thing that we did after we launched Fundis in 2018 was to enrol for a one-year accelerator program in one of the hubs in Nairobi. We needed to learn the skills to run a business successfully. It was important to fully plug into the startup ecosystem and be part of a community. Through the accelerator program, we found our third co-founder and the right people to be part of our team.
How did you raise your first round of funding for your business?
During our acceleration program, we were able to connect with a pre-seed investor and that is how we raised the initial capital. Other than that our mantra at Fundis has always been that sales fix everything. From day one we have been very focused on sales and looking for ways to increase our sales and making the product better. We were lucky enough because when we started the business, there was a market available so this helped us a lot.
How do you acquire casual workers for Fundis?
We invite the public with different skill sets to either apply or recommend someone they know to apply. Once they reach out to us we assess and ascertain that they have the skill. After that, we do a background check to learn more about the person, their relatives, and the people close to them. After this, they do a practical assessment that is supervised by a lead technician, and once we are convinced that they are the right person for the job they sign a one-year fixer agreement with us. New fixers are subjected to a 6 month probation period. As they do the job we collect feedback from the clients. After all this is done, then the person becomes a full time Fundis fixer.
What are some of the key lessons that you have learned throughout your entrepreneurship journey?
Three things have stood out for me;
- Start with the ‘why’. A clear enough why makes things easy because then your goals become very clear.
- Resilience. There is no such thing as Overnight success. You have to work hard and keep going even when things get tough.
- Collaboration. The best decision I ever made was signing up for the 1-year accelerator program. You need a support system. Other people have been where you are, they have gone through what you are going through. What better way to learn than from the people who have been there before you.
Where do you see yourself as a business in the next 3 years?
To grow to over 20,000 active users on the Fundis platform from the current 600 and expand to at least 5 African countries that are; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. Our goal is to redefine how work gets done in the informal sector by making it easy for casual laborers to find jobs. More and more people are using smartphones and the internet. As Fundis, we want to create a platform where people can come and find jobs.