No more asking ‘uko wapi’ or trying to explain where exactly the delivery guy should drop your package or your pizza, thanks to the revolutionary entrails of Nairobi-based tech startup OkHi which adds customers in food delivery, e-commerce providers and even ambulance services to bring critical services to people’s doorstep.
To mark the groundbreaking achievement of enabling 100,000 deliveries in Nairobi, OkHi has launched a new mobile app for users to own and share their location, in order to connect to the businesses and people they want.
“Our goal is for OkHi to be the solution that empowers people to be found, and as a result be included in the new digital economy. OkHi addresses location in a completely new way, allowing people to own, update and customize their location to share with the people and services they want, without the frustration of battling the ‘uko wapi’ challenge” explained Co-Founder and CEO Timbo Drayson.
4 billion people around the globe do not have access to life’s services because they do not have a physical address; this is an even more daunting task for Kenyans are roads and avenues are not clearly marked, which in turn also makes it difficult for technology companies such as Google to accurately mark out the nooks and crannies. For individuals, it limits access to critical services; from not being able to get access to financial services because you can’t prove where you live, to the risk of dying in an emergency situation because an ambulance can’t find you. At a business level, it limits growth because it makes it difficult for businesses to give their customers a good delivery experience at a sensible cost as well as track consumer patterns and develop analytics over time.
According to OkHi, in Kenya, on average it takes over 3 phone calls to get a pizza delivered to your door and closer to 1.4 phone calls to get your taxi to pick you up (and that’s with GPS!).
The revamped OkHi consumer mobile app is aimed at allowing people to easily own, customize and share their location with the people and businesses they trust. The free-to-access app for consumers enables them to save multiple locations including home and work, and to share directions to these locations in a hassle free manner. All this is done with the highest attention to the privacy and security of data – app users are able to control who gets access to their locations at the tip of their fingers without worry. Key functionalities also include the ability to order an Uber directly from the app as well as access a host of services such as food delivery and more.
Co-Founder Timbo Drayson further highlights, “After research and testing, we learned that normal directions continue to be one of the largest constraints. The battle of identifying a location by speed-bumps and trees, for instance, is still commonplace. Access to services hinges on accurate location identification, so we’re now giving users a better way to own their location and control who accesses it.”
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OkHi has also built a custom delivery technology stack to enable businesses to be able to access OkHi more easily within their own infrastructure and integrate seamlessly into their consumer checkout flow.
I’ve personally had experiences with the OkHi framework particularly with ArtCaffe delivery requests I’ve made, and the real-time tracking seemed easy-to-use and straightforward, as you always knew exactly where your rider is. I figured it was for both the business and the customer to trace the rider’s whereabouts.
With similar (and highly competitive) location-based frameworks already in place from the likes of Foursquare‘s Swarm and even WhatsApp‘s relatively new ‘live location share’, it will be interesting to see OkHi’s growth trajectory within the next 2 years.
OkHi was co-founded in 2014 by Timbo Drayson and four other members. Previously, Timbo was at Google and YouTube for 7 years where he led the development of the YouTube mobile app, launched the first Android device and registered 7 patents. OkHi is funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Inovia Capital, Interaction Capital and angel investors that include former Google CFO Patrick Pichette and Airbnb CTO Nate Blecharczyk.
| This article contains excerpts from an OkHi Press Release permitted for use on OYGK Magazine