It’s exciting to dream.
Back in 2017 when we first started Ayazona, we were a team of three junior developers; we were trying to figure out how to actually build things up, straight out of development school. For two years, our team has worked behind closed doors on what has been a significant progress and an amazing experience.
I want to share with you some of the details from our inception journey , and share the binding story behind the founding of Ayazona. Over the coming weeks and months, other members of the Ayazona team will share aspects of their journey too.
Along this journey we have worked in various fields, improving our engineering skills, understanding the business aspects, and a bit of machine learning — subjects that are well-researched within the area of modern-day software engineering. Indeed, Ayazona started as a side project but soon transitioned into a functioning, practical delivery platform.
This means that in addition to fine-tuning our team culture, we’ve had to develop software to:
- Allow users to order food from their favorite restaurants, and grocery stores, allowing them to track their order throughout the process.
- Predict the time it will take to prepare a meal, helping to streamline the delivery experience, so the deliveries show up just in time!. We intend to cut delivery time by 30%, meaning riders are able to complete more deliveries per hour and increase their earnings, restaurants are able to increase their sales, and — of course — customers get their food even faster.
- Intelligent data analysis to determine which cuisines will be popular in specific local areas — meaning restaurants grow faster and customers have a wider choice.
Taking a step back, one thing I have learnt is that you have to work really hard, pretty much to get anything in life. When you are young and ambitious, you sometimes find yourself looking around for inspirations and role models, y’know, you look for more experienced people and try to find someone whom you can look up to and say, “Okay I wanna be like that guy when I grow up”.
For me, these were the two key companies that an ambitious young guy like myself wanted to follow into and learn from.
And as expected of the millennial age, I had only spent a few couple of weeks experiencing the corporate world and I suddenly wanted to be at the standard of these companies, one of the stupidest thing, when you think about it, especially considering the years of experience these companies have had to put in, combining the individual experiences of their employees.
Back then I loved the idea of downloading the apps that I didn’t have direct access to, or were in one way restricted geographically, it always occurred to me that these apps were special and having them installed in my phone, well made me special. That’s pretty much how I first experienced Instacart, and I couldn’t stop thinking to myself how useful the app was, despite the fact that I couldn’t actually use it. I felt stuck in a moment of fantasy of having these cool services at the touch of my phone. I remember thinking that this experience is gonna change the lifestyle of the next generation around the world because as a consumer this is what I wanted. I wanted this seamless experience on a mobile device, where it’s super sleek, super simple, payment happens somewhere in the background and in the real world, I am able to get a better experience. And that ended up becoming the birth of Ayazona(ideally).
And coming back to Kenya in 2017, which is where I come from, I figured that there wasn’t so much disruptive tech happening in the startup scene, there were so many ideas floating around, but few actually went into the build phase.
And now getting into Ayazona. Okay, so Instacart-like experience, “this is gonna change the consumer experience” that’s where the thinking process began. One thing stood out to us, we had to put everything into the build.
There was a 4-stage strategy for this.
- We have to make a seamless experience for the user. So say if am walking in the street and I feel like getting a cup of coffee, getting a lunch on the go, or trying to prepare a quick dinner and I just realized that I ran out of onions and need a delivery right away it has to be a 5 seconds experience for a regular user.
- The second part is focussing on the merchant experience. We wanted to make the experience of getting an order through a mobile device to be easier than to handle a physical order in the restaurant and do this in the most cost-effective way.
- And the third part is the pre-order experience, one area that hasn’t evolved so much in the e-commerce industry, and our goal is to make it cost-effective for merchants to process pre-orders.
- And finally improve the restaurant accessibility, by helping bring favorite restaurants closer to the user. If you ever have been to Nairobi, you would realize that services are very geographically limited, that being at one end of the city, you’d not be able to access certain services which are only limited to the other end of the city, and our goal is to help change that, by understanding which cuisines are preferred by which location and bring more of those merchants in those areas through what we call Ayazona Ignite.
The way we look at things right now is that the food delivery industry is evolving, and our biggest vision is that, we want to be the interface of how we order food and eat out in Africa, and we believe that this interface is going to be on a mobile device.
Speaking of the user experience, out of all people that have had the chance to try out Ayazona in its early beta interface 90% can’t wait to officially start using the platform, which is a clear indication that we have achieved the key major area of our goal.
Some startups begin like running a sprint, throwing together a Minimum Viable Product in 3 months. For Ayazona it’s been more like a marathon — a large consistent effort is needed, but the end result brings huge benefits to the end-user. It’s been an exciting 2 years experience, engineering, experimenting, learning, and now we have come very close to our goal.
Robotic delivery is one of the world’s industries that has seen some technological disruption since the adoption of the drones. The team at Ayazona is on a quest to improve that, and part of our engineering advancement has focussed on the automobile delivery vessels. If we are going to beat the under 30 minutes delivery timeline, we are gonna need all the channels necessary.
Every day always feels like a new day, and we are just getting started and that’s what it is, we are just getting started and we can’t wait to discover the next mile, and we have never been happier with our achievements so far. Come follow our journey here and even better join our beta community.