We enable rural families in Kenya to buy affordable modern goods delivered to their doors

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What We Do

Bidhaa Sasa means “Products now!” in Swahili. We deliver quality household goods to our clients in Kenya’s rural heartlands, for whom we provide in-house credit, making modern products accessible and affordable.

The Problem

Life for rural families in Kenya is no joke. The irony is that many suitable goods and technologies already exist that would ease their daily chores but they are not easily accessible to our clients. So, why do these goods often fail to reach those who need them?

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The Promise

We offer opportunities for every rural family to improve their quality of life by getting modern goods to them and their neighbours. We spread the cost in monthly instalments, teach clients how to get the best out of their purchase and look after the goods when they are in place to build long lasting relationships with our clients. So, what makes us different from others?

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The Plan

As a start-up, we are flexible and innovative, enabling us to build a profitable sales model in an uncertain market. We work closely with our clients and partners to discover and adapt our business model. So, why do we think we can succeed?

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The Problem

Most families use tiny kerosene lamps to light their homes at night. People travel long distances on foot to charge their phones in a shop. Women have little choice but to cook on the ground outdoors, with firewood they collected from ever-dwindling sources. Mothers and daughters walk long distances to fetch water, often several times a day.

However, in recent years, there have been many technological advances: solar systems that light homes and charge phones, efficient cook stoves that reduce the wood needed and smoke produced, filters that produce clean water. All specifically made for rural life, and readily available, if you live in an urban area.

Rural families don’t have access to them. Most manufacturers and suppliers do not reach as far as the “last mile” and consumer loans are not available to families who live off the land.

Bidhaa Sasa was founded to serve these rural families. We want to make it easy for them to get products that will improve their lives.

The Promise

Bidhaa Sasa uniquely combines the financing and distribution of products in a one-stop-shop, offering quality goods and after-sales services. We are product-neutral and offer a range of life-improving household items tailored to our customers’ preferences and desires.

Currently, we sell solutions to lighting, cooking, and communication, such as solar lamps, solar home systems, and efficient cook stoves. These products have come a long way in design, performance and reliability – now, we make them accessible by delivering and installing them at our clients’ homes, and allowing customers to pay in affordable instalments.

We educate our clients on product use, manage product warranties, and provide services to repair products that have broken.

We launched in Western Kenya with a dense rural population of smallholder farmers, which provides a fertile ground for growth. We sell through groups of clients to reduce our operating expenses and that social cohesion helps to manage financial risk. Also, the ubiquitous mobile phone and mobile payment services are opening new ways of financing and communicating with our clients.

The Plan

According to the decades-old formula, you write a business plan, pitch it to investors, assemble a team, introduce a product, and start selling as hard as you can. And somewhere in this sequence of events, you’ll probably suffer a fatal setback.” Steve Blank

Bidhaa Sasa follows the Lean Start-Up® and Customer Development® theory developed by two guys in Silicon Valley (Eric Ries and Steve Blank). We employ lean thinking and validated learning to achieve this vision and deal with the uncertainty of being a start-up.

Lean thinking is tremendously client focused, with the ultimate goal being the creation of value for the customer. So is Bidhaa Sasa. We don’t bring a solution – we search for and develop a business model by testing our business hypotheses through iterations and pivots. We test, and learn from our customers.

Currently, we’re working on a repeatable and scalable sales process. Based on these finding we are planning a strategy for growth to cross the chasm from early adopters to mainstream clients.
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The Team

Meet the people behind Bidhaa Sasa.

David

David Disch

Co-founder and Director

David manages all day-to-day operational activities, including the sales process, staff development and supervision, stock and logistics management, and supplier relations. He set up the office in Webuye, trains staff, and generally ensures that things are going smoothly. But most importantly, he’s trying to learn as much as he can from our clients, based on the Lean Start-up methodology of validated learning though constant customer feedback. (Why they make certain decisions in favour or against our products or services and bring these learnings into the company’s decisions).

He’s also a part-time driver and cook for the rest of the team, as well as generally a rather Unreasonable Fellow.

David spent four years at GVEP – an NGO funded by the World Bank, EU, the Swedish government, and USAID, amongst others – implementing programmes to improve energy access in Kenya and Rwanda. He set up GVEP’s Rwanda country office, recruiting and managing a growing team of dedicated local staff to work closely with government ministries to support local energy enterprises – from solar phone charging entrepreneurs to international hydropower projects.

When he’s not at work you’ll find him on top of the nearest mountain: he was brought up in the Alps – he simply can’t resist them.

rocio-alt

Rocío Pérez Ochoa

Co-founder and Director

Rocío is responsible for managing the holding company in the UK, which has been set up to facilitate investments coming in, and supporting David in Kenya. She manages our financial matters, including our accounts, fund-raising and our back-end client data analysis. She ensures we’re not running out of cash and analyses everything from client data, repayment patterns, sales processes to our P&L or burn rate with nuclear precision (She’s got a PhD in particle physics!).

Rocío most recently set up and ran the financial arm of BBOXX, a manufacturer and distributor of solar systems, which has subsidiaries in the UK, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. Prior to working with BBOXX, she consulted with other green start-ups in emerging markets.

She is also an angel investor with interests in companies involved in solar energy, biomass energy, sustainable forestry, mini-hydro projects, and social bonds. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, she worked for the UK Government as climate change policy adviser and spent almost a decade working in the City of London in hedge funds (and now making up for it).

Part-time she’s managing her other start-up that includes the near impossible task of aligning interests of husband, kids and cat.

The Journal
Very happy to have won a grant to help us grow from @cookstoves and @unfoundation!

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Very happy to have won a grant to help us grow from @cookstoves and @unfoundation!

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One year on – looking back with hindsight

It’s been a while and we thought it’s time for an update

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Be Unreasonable! Watch 8 ventures from all over East Africa share their BIG ideas on how to tackle the region’s greatest challenges at the 2016 Unreasonable Launchpad on July 29 in Kampala, Uganda. Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/29BOkND

Be Unreasonable! Watch 8 ventures from all over East Africa share their BIG ideas on how to tackle the region's greatest challenges at the 2016 Unreasonable Launchpad on July 29 in Kampala, Uganda. Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/29BOkND

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The Lean Startup methodology and what it means for us in rural Kenya

How to translate useful concepts from San Francisco to Webuye

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P.O. Box 555, Webuye, Kenya
info[at]bidhaa.co.uk