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Gauteng-based retail distribution startup Vuleka plans nationwide expansion in next 12 months

Gauteng-based retail distribution startup Vuleka plans nationwide expansion in next 12 months

The Gauteng-based retail distribution startup Vuleka plans to expand across South Africa in the next 12 months and into other African countries within the next three years. 

BY TOM JACKSON 

Founded in 2017, Vuleka provides a route-to-market solution through its mobile app that facilitates bulk-buying, warehousing and distribution of FMCG goods into informal stores – called Spaza shops. 

Essentially, the startup works with the big FMCG companies as well as smaller local manufacturers to give them a route-to-market solution via its large network of informal business owners, while a team of youth marketers on the ground promote manufacturer products to these markets. Through the Vuleka App, they collect raw unfiltered information about their products and their customers. 

They can also trace and track where their products are going to in the informal markets, track quantities sold and in which area. Spaza shops provide vital goods and services to informal settlement residents, as well as stimulate economic growth by circulating money within the community. Yet often shop owners have insufficient bargaining power or business knowledge to effectively negotiate discounts, which puts them at a disadvantage. 

There is also little existing collaboration or communication between these businesses, and they rarely have opportunities to learn from or support each other. It is precisely for this reason that these kinds of business owners should make use of quality new innovations and technologies. Technologies like Vuleka, which is in theory able to access the around 40 per cent of South Africa’s more than 155,000 informal traders who own smartphones and are able to place orders online. 

Their specific market is the most formalised Spaza shops, and fish and chip shops, that have a bit of formal structure. They currently have a live database of 6,000 Spaza shop owners that fall within this classification. They are however only servicing 1,200, with a view to in five years of servicing up to 10,000. To facilitate this, the bootstrapped Vuleka, which is in talks around securing funding, is planning on expanding beyond its Gauteng base within the next year. It also has plans to launch in other African countries, through partnerships, in the next two or three years. 

The company has a host of revenue streams including adding a margin, delivery fees, listing fees, success fees, and advertising charges, and also collects sales data which it sells back to manufacturers. 

Revenues are growing at around 50 per cent year-on-year. 

For more information on the app and the services they offer Spaza Store Owners, visit www.vuleka.com . 

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