Marketplaces are rapidly growing and taking up space in the African Tech Landscape, and here’s why:
Global Marketplaces connect Africa to the World. Today, it is possible to do so much with as little as a good internet connection, and your smartphone. Marketplaces have proven invaluable by providing new opportunities, not only with products but with service-based solutions too!
With the changing times and dynamics of Education and Work, especially after the Covid-19 Pandemic, it comes as no surprise that more people became open to the opportunities that came with the online shift. It became easier for students in institutions of higher learning to access classroom information through their smartphones, and people working in corporations have also seen changes, thanks to Digital Transformation. Today, there’s opportunities like work-from-home roles, and staff training through electronic platforms.
Investors and VC Firms are keen to invest in Marketplaces for various reasons. Taking the lead is Service-based Marketplaces. This further begs the need to look at VC Firms such as Learn Capital, which focuses on funding entrepreneurs who aim to change the education sector with their ideas of using technology in the education sector. Popular online learning marketplaces, such as Udemy and Coursera are amongst some of the widely used platforms on the firm’s portfolio.
Closely following the trail, is Gebeya. The Ethiopian Marketplace has been able to successfully utilize EdTech through use of digital techniques such as video conferencing to thoroughly vet talent before onboarding them. The benefit that comes with this is that employers looking to find and recruit talent can join Gebeya and choose from the pool of pre-vetted candidates, reducing on time taken to vet and recruit, while also connecting candidates to remote roles, hence, more opportunities of working from the comfort of their homes. Talents in Gebeya’s Pan-African pool and beyond can also benefit from remote upskilling and certification opportunities via their partnerships like Google Developers Machine Learning Bootcamp.
Quality Service-based Marketplaces increasingly focus on efficiency, affordability and quality of connection for either students, or workforce. These three unique factors are rapidly becoming central to identifying value propositions. Leveraging on products, services or opportunities that can make the learning, or work experience more humane and increase the connection of students to lecturers, or workforce with their colleagues, remains a massive win in connecting with each other, while also receiving value for either education or work opportunities.
Measures largely taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 worked to accelerate the adoption of ecommerce in Africa. Telecommunications groups encourage the use of mobile money, and the avoidance of physical cash, through initiatives such as scraping transfer fees, for instance. They are also facilitating faster internet speeds to customers as more people embrace work-from-home roles. In general, social-distancing measures raised internet usage, and more and more people are embracing online deliveries. This is just one of the many opportunities Marketplaces can leverage to their advantage.
According to BigCommerce, one of the biggest ecommerce platforms that provides software as a service(SaaS) services to retailers, one of the key trends to observe for Marketplaces in 2022 is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. To implement these technologies, Marketplaces must first establish a solid foundation and strategy. AI helps improve business outcomes with ready-made intelligence for applications and workflow; whereas Machine Learning aids in pattern recognition and learning. This then begs the need to invest in high quality equipment for Marketplaces. A Marketplace like Gebeya currently boasts of features such as an intelligent matching algorithm that considers a number of factors for a successful talent match.
The best bet of Investors and VC Firms investing in Marketplaces boils down to the Core Problem, and Its Impact. The ideas must fit the market needs and customer demands, as well as have a well-thought out strategy for attracting and retaining talent. Another significant factor would be the Competitive Edge. This would basically mean the strategy put in place to progressively solve the problem, while also remaining on top of the competition. These two factors remain king in forecasting the future of Marketplaces.