“I desperately needed Ksh15,000. I had valued the carpet at Ksh10,000,” Corido Marketplace CEO Kevin Rakama.
A year after quitting employment from Homeboyz Entertainment Group to become a freelancer, Kevin Rakama was hit by a financial crisis.This is a challenge most young entrepreneurs encounter when starting their own company or startup. The reality of not receiving any cash at the end of the month sank in every passing day. “I had one option left,” says Mr Rakama, “to sell my carpet.”
The first stop was a Shylock who valued the over Ksh 20,000 carpet at just Ksh 3,000. “I desperately needed Ksh 15,000. I had valued the carpet at Ksh 10,000,” he narrates.
It is this exploitation from the Shylock guy that provided Rakama, a telecommunication engineer, with a light bulb moment. He decided to turn the problem into an opportunity.
“Out of the pain of being exploited just because I needed some quick cash, I went back home and researched on other ways to sell my carpet,” he said in an interview with Business Today.
Other online selling platforms were also not so accommodating. So he sat down and came up with Corido Marketplace platform, where buying and selling of second hands goods “are friendly to the users.”
However, it took six months after its conception for Rakama to get the first client who had bulk merchandise he wanted to dispose of.
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The Target Market For The Startup
Targeting corporate clients, Corido Marketplace is a portal where vendors seeking to sell second-hand goods in bulk can reach a wider market as opposed to traditional auctioning.
According to the financial dictionary, auction is a means of selling goods and services to the highest bidder among a number of potential customers.
At Corido, transactions are strict. An agent from Corido Marketplace confirms the state of the goods to be sold then takes pictures. The assets are then valued and priced. The photos are the uploaded to Corido Marketplace website. It is then that the buyers start placing their bids on the selected items.
Unlike other online selling platforms, Corido Market is a controlled environment. It offers security, privacy, convenience and fast delivery to the buyers.
“We ensure that the buyer gets to physically see and evaluate the goods they want together with an agent. When satisfied we deliver them and confirm if the assets are in the same condition,” says Rakama.
In generating revenue, vendors pay a small amount of fee to the platform to have their goods posted. The fees vary according to the mode posting used.
Corido Marketplace Services
At the Corido Marketplace, corporate and individual sellers can post merchandise they want to dispose of. “There is an option to sell in bulk or a single item, and they can also do an online auction. The seller can decide to sell the goods to the highest bidder,” says Rakama.
The platform also offers barter trade services for vendors who want to swipe items. “We also do giveaways, where a client who wants to get rid of their goods in bulk come in and ask us to donate them. Either to schools, organisations, business communities among others.
The receivers of these donations, however, have to be verified. “We also rent and lease items for vendors,” adds Rakama.
Partnerships for Growth
To ease the disposal of bulk goods with short term returns, organizations have partnered with Corido Marketplace.
Even then traditional auctioneers are also transiting into the digital space. “Not every auctioneer has embraced the online space but those who have find it convenient as it exposes them to a wider range of client base,” says Rakama.
Digital auctioneers are able to beat the often limited deadline given by vendors, a challenge most traditional auctioneers face. “We have several auctioning firms who have come on board as our partners,” says Rakama. “More should embrace digital platforms since the future is definitely online and space is massive.”
On average, up to 15 items are sold on Corido Market daily. In other cases, the merchandise gets sold even before being posted on the website.
Unlike other auctioning digital platforms, Corido Marketplace provides pictures of items. It also provides a wider range of items from household, to agriculture and food, office furniture and machinery, among others.
Corido, he says, has agents in major towns in the country since the client base on the internet is wide.
Rakama aims to play a lead role in transforming the auctioning industry from traditional to digital. “About 20-30% of the auctioning should be able to operate online in the next three years or so.”
With more auctions online, the 32-year-old entrepreneur hopes to increase the revenue he generates from e-commerce and create more employment opportunities.