KENYA – Kenyan food delivery startup Ayazona is working to make food delivery more affordable and is in the process of raising a funding round to expand its operations.

Self-funded, Ayazone is raising a seed round to speed this growth. Ayazona co-founder and Chief Technological Officer (CTO) Samson Larsson Otieno said the startup was looking to secure US$250,000 and was in discussions with a handful of VC firms around a raise in the second quarter of 2020.

Any investment would also be used to expand into new markets.

By working with more local restaurants, the startup also offers more affordable prices to local customers via its on-demand app, which allows users to discover restaurants within their local area, place an order, and have it delivered. This level of affordability is how it differentiates from the competition.

“We realised that the current on-demand food delivery platforms – Jumia Foods, UberEats, and Yum – are not affordable for the average African user. They mostly mark up prices, making the consumer pay more than the food actually costs at the restaurant,” Otieno said.

“The market is slowly being engulfed by international players, leaving no room for local innovation and growth. We saw the need to offer a locally founded alternative making it more affordable for the average user.

“The number of families that go to bed without dinner is very high in Africa, and that’s why we are working to ensure that everyone can afford food, especially when they need it most, while ensuring that no food goes to waste.”

With this in mind, another service offered by the startup, Ayazona Ignite, sees it work closely with merchants to make available any surplus food that would otherwise have been wasted to users at a discounted price.

The statup has around 30 – mostly local – restaurants available on its platform, with a fleet of 10 riders. It also has more than 260 users signed up.

“When we launched our first beta to the public, we saw a high demand through the signups for the service, with most users impressed by how well designed and easy to use the platform is,” Otieno said.

“Being a locally-founded solution offering more affordable prices for food items sold through our platforms, we have seen steady growth. We are slowly capturing the users who tended to shy away from on-demand delivery services, perceiving them as a luxury.”

Ayazona makes money by charging a commission of 15 per cent on every delivery order completed through the platform, or 10 per cent in the event of a pickup order.

“The low commission enables the team to onboard more restaurants and allows us to offer the most affordable prices in the market,” said Otieno.

“Beyond the commission, we also offer our logistics API to any merchant out there who would like to consume it directly into their platform, taking advantage of our reliable system and fleet. For this we charge a monthly or yearly subscription fee.”

Ayazona is currently operating in Nairobi, and actively onboarding merchants in Mombasa and Kisumu. It has plans to launch in four more countries within the next 12 months, that is Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Zambia.

Launched in mid-2019 after its team spent 18 months building and testing the product, Ayazona aims to empower small local restaurants and generate relevant market data to help them expand, grow and open more local branches in relevant regions.