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Our Story - Building Africa's showroom

In the beginning...

Ndunyu started off as a family affair, with my brother and I teaming up to start a software development firm: The Kenya App Experts. Through this firm we got to interact with a wide variety of clients, and thus acquired unique insight into the kenyan business scene. Most of our customer base consisted of young internet-savvy entrepreneurs ready to take on the world. Developing e-commerce solutions for such budding businesses soon became the core of our consultancy.

Our core users

One market segment stood out the most for us: Creators of African crafts and fashion products, who traditionally sell at informal ‘Maasai markets’ with tourists as their primary target. Many such clients faced capital constraints, making it difficult to achieve their dreams of growth by expanding their physical premises. Some were itinerant traders and did not even have fixed premises to start with. So they would come to us seeking an online store, we would give them a quotation,then.....crickets.

On follow-up, we learnt that the cost of designing, hosting and maintaining a fully functional e-commerce website was way beyond their reach. Some were nevertheless so eager to modernize their business model that they were willing to offer us a share of their business for us to become partners and take care of the technical aspects of an online presence.

Custom online stores

After much brainstorming and soul-searching about the direction we wanted to take as a company, we decided to pivot from general consultancy and focus on building a platform that can onboard African-creators and micro-enterprises.We thus set up the first iteration of Ndunyu, in which we set up separate stalls for each of our vendors, which they would run independently. While this model provided a significant visibility boost to them, many of the vendors were not ready to handle some of the back-end responsibility of an online store, such as handling the logistics and formulating a digital media marketing campaign.

Africa's showroom

In order to allow our vendors to focus on producing creative and high quality items, we decided to step in and handle all the business aspects, including marketing and product delivery. We evolved into a hybrid between a marketplace and our previous stall model, providing greater market reach while still allowing vendors space to set themselves apart.Our goal is to empower them not only to achieve financial success but also to be the vanguard of authentic African cultural exports to the world.

- Gaciri Waweru, Founder @ Ndunyu