Startup wants you to find a fundi with app

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 00:00 |
Sylvia Mwitumi co-founder Fundis. ABOVE: The homepage of the Fundis app. Photo/PD/HARRIET JAMES

Harriet James @harriet86jim

Finding a reliable handyworker (fundi) can be a nightmare. If they won’t come on time, they might never show up even after confirming they are on their way.

Some might not do a great job even after charging a high price. This is why in 2018, Liwali Kivumanyuki and Sylvia Mwitumi, came together to create Fundis, a mobile and web-based solution that connects users with competent, vetted and reliable technicians and craftsmen. 

The two met in campus in 2012 where they were taking a legal course together.

After graduating in 2015, they established their first start up Optimac Labour solutions, but it failed after a year.

Undeterred, they tried another start up named Chuuza Citadel, but they were only operational for a few months. In 2018, they started Fundi.

Through it, young people can find jobs in the gig economy and customers can get reliable handy workers. 

“Fundis is here to fix this problem. With the touch of a button you get a fast, reliable and vetted technician to do repairs as well as installations. We also offer three months warranty on jobs done,” says Sylvia.

Small percentage

Fundis comprises of two options; a business-to-consumer app that connects households to the technicians and business-to-business that connects SMEs to technicians.

Once the app is downloaded, the user accesses all services offered. When the request is made, the staff at Fundis receives it, and within seconds, clients are connected to a technician. 

The firm does a background check on every technician who joins the platform.

They are taken through training to test their skills.  If they pass, they are moved to the next step, where they are trained in soft skills. 

“Soft skills training is meant to enhance their communication with clients and the company.

We also carry out digital literacy training that enables them to connect with customers and enhance their social media skills.

This process, when complete, gives us reliable, competent and vetted technicians,” adds Sylvia.

Once the job is done, technicians are charged a small percentage once they are paid. 

The training comes with its own challenges. “Not all of them have decent formal education, so we have to tailor-make our training to suit every technician.

While starting the company, it was not easy finding the technicians as well. We had to find them physically and my team and I did a lot of hard work, walking around Nairobi, just to find them.

That was a bit challenging but so far so good,” she says.

The pandemic affected their orders as their services mostly include human interactions.

Consequently they had to first understand how to do business under Covid 19. 

However with training on taking correct precautions, they managed to earn trust of clients. 

Regional expansion

“We also had to provide masks and sanitisers to technicians, which added an extra cost, but it is always a joy doing so provided that we have clients. 

We also had to train our technicians online and we got a little bit of resistance from some, who lacked concentration as compared to face to face,” she says.

They have also trained the technicians on how to protect themselves while working and also how to ensure clients, too, are safe.

So far, they have trained 150 technicians  and have a client base of  approximately 700 customers. 

They want their application to reach most African countries, and be the one-stop shop for repairs, installation and maintenance on the continent.

 “Our goal is to be in about five countries in African in the next five years. We are also looking to digitise the offline gig economy, including the day to day manual labourers in the manufacturing industry and construction among others,” says Sylvia in conclusion.

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