2 years back we were posted in da resalam for an official contract, its while there that we wanted to access local food but we could not, we had gotten tired of junk food. One of our colleagues was connected to a local woman who would come to our apartment every evening to cook good local food. it was amazing! she would tell us things about the city which we found interesting, we paid her every end month so she would earn money to support her family.
That experience was the origin of jiranis food which seeks to connect travelers with locals who can offer local food experiences ,they can dine with them in house or the locals can just deliver.
What it does
Jiranis food is a website that connects travelers with locals who are best with cooking local African food. its an online market place where locals can signup and list unlimited cuisines from their community.
Travelers will in turn be able to book the experiences and have them in home or for deliver at a cost.
How we built it
When we came back to Nairobi we quickly registered a company and started working on it. we had initially started with a business model which from users feedback we noted could not work. so we settled on experiences as the value proposition to the end customers/travelers. Since we all had background in tech we did the whole design and development of the system. We started with a small no of users who would test and give us feedback so that we can iterate and launch and relaunch Late last year we were admitted into a program by cchub in collaboration with ihub under the project with potential to impact the community where we have been getting support .
We relaunched early this year.
Challenges we ran into
We have been having adoption challenges since jiranis food business model is a new concept but with iteration and users feedback we have found product market fit. We also had no early investors so cashflow was a challenge but we have been bootstrapping ever since. Marketing strategies and having strategic partnerships with tourism stakeholders has also been a challenge since we don't have the right networks.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were accepted by cchub/ihub program that was looking for startups that has potential to impact communities at scale We recently won the Global 2nd UNWTO Gastronomy tourism startup competition under social impact category. We have more than 200 hosts who have posted more than 400 cuisines to choose from.
What we learned
We have iterated several times as a result of getting feedback from users. Every product requires to be used by the actual users so that they can give feedback.
What's next for Jiranis Food
Our mission is to impact 1 million lives in the next 5 years by providing a platform where the vulnerable group like the youth and women can have direct income from food tourism. This will impact their lives both socially and economically and support 2 UN sustainable development goals.
We are also looking for partners and investors who can support us as we prepare to scale to other markets not just in Kenya
We are also working on our mobile app for Android and Ios to reach more audience which will be released in the next 30 days.