Startup snapshot: Somaliland delivery business on what it would do with a $1m investment

Somaliland-based Gulivery provides third-party delivery service for restaurants, grocers, shops and e-commerce companies. As of now, the service is available to request on-demand or scheduled delivery both in Hargeisa and Mogadishu.

The founders, Deeq Mohamd Hassan and Sado Milgo Baroot, a husband-and-wife team, told How we made it in Africa how they took a huge risk in getting the company off the ground.

1. How did you finance your start-up?

Initially, we used our savings to start the company and later got seed money from a local investor.

2. If you were given US$1m to invest in your company now, where would it go?

  • We would put that money into further developing our platform;
  • Improve our fleet for greater reach and offer better services for our customers;
  • Bring and offer our services to Somali farmers to connect them directly their customers;
  • Expand and build a solid team with a good and healthy runway (net monthly loss) of/for at least 24 months;
  • And expand into other cities

3. What risks does your business face?

  • Not enough runway
  • Attracting the right talent to further develop our platform – because doing it outside Somalia would cost us an arm and a leg
  • The usual risks of operating in Mogadishu

4. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

Social media marketing has been our main and most successful way to reach our main target groups so far.

5. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

When we realised that we could not find drivers with their own bikes/cars to work with us, we took a huge risk and put all our money into buying our own bikes and cars. That was a huge risk and also very exciting moment for both my wife and I.

6. What has been your biggest mistake, and what have you learnt from it?

One of the early mistakes we made was, assuming businesses would immediately see and understand the value our platform would bring to them. The first couple of businesses signed up because they were just nice, but did not really see the value. And we realised that they were not really working with us as much as we wanted from them. So we had to go back in and really explain and show them the real value we were bringing, which really made a huge difference straight away.