How South Africa’s Uber of parcels, Sendr, is improving courier services - CNBC Africa

How South Africa’s Uber of parcels, Sendr, is improving courier services

Southern Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

S.Africa's first on-demand parcel delivery service is leveraging motorcyles.

It cut the cost of delivery by increasing speed and along the way creating much needed employment in an economy facing rising youth unemployment.  This is the business of South Africa’s on-demand parcel delivery start-up using motorcycles, Sendr.

[READ: The "Uber" of motorcycles - CNBC Africa] 

“We have created an app available on iOS and android that allows an individual or company to order a courier service on demand,” says George Sibotshiwe, the company’s chief technology and innovations officer.

“We are digitising the process and making it seamless and putting the power into the consumer’s hands. If you went to a traditional courier you would have to fill the form then follow a long structured process but with our product only one click facilitates delivery within an hour.”

[READ: 12 African startups to watch in 2016]

Sendr, still in its infancy, is poised to compete with global giants for the local market share such as UPS, FedEx and DHL.

Sibotshiwe says, unlike these giants, his company for now is competing with local courier companies.

“We will not compete with DHL on parcel delivery from Johannesburg to Cape Town, our focus is parcel delivery within metropolitan areas,” says Sibotshiwe.

The start-up that was established in 2015 is now operational in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

“Our customers are happy with the speed; this is made possible by the use of our dedicated motorcycles,” he says.

Sibotshiwe says entrepreneurship and innovation should be at the centre of driving Africa’s future growth and employment creation.

“We have to start reorienting our school system for the new world economy. We shouldn’t educate our children for an economy that no longer exist; we have to leverage technology to create jobs,” he warns.

“We have to look at innovation from a holistic lifestyle of an African and how we can improve his or her life through innovation.”

Sibotshiwe says, every time when there is inefficiency on the part of the state that presents an opportunity for innovation and a new economy.

“Service delivery is one area that is waiting for young South Africans to enter, for example if one has to queue to pay for an electricity bill at a municipal office that calls for disruptive innovators.”

Sibotshiwe has another problem his company is helping to solve.

“The pace at which unemployment is growing means that the only way to arrest this development is to increase innovative entrepreneurship and guarantee refocused entrepreneurship,” he says.

He added that something has to fundamentally change as far as the jobs' question is concerned. African countries cannot continue relying on public service for job creation.

“A technology like Sendr helps demonstrate how to leverage technology for mass employment. Our drivers only require a driver’s licence, and we train them on customer service and how to use our technology and thereafter they are employed.”