The rise of e-Commerce has brought new customers closer to sellers. The worry of finding new products is usually just a search field away, and the associated reviews of such platforms makes decision making easier when looking to make a purchase. While there are several online stores for products, not many have looked at platforms where services are rendered, especially in Africa. This is where Sturta wants to make a dent.
Sturta, pronounced “starter”, is a marketplace where consumers can find, compare, and book local services in Africa. The services makes it easier, more affordable, and safer to purchase services, and aims to transform a broad swath of the service sector much as Jumia, Tonaton and Amazon have done for products.
To them, this is an ambitious goal which supports the inevitable and imminent transition to transacting services online. To achieve this, the startup needs to build on the tenet of trust which exists between service providers and their clients/customers.
Benedict Asamoah, Sturta CEO had this to say, “You care about the reputation of someone you’re dealing with on Tonaton when you purchase a used iPhone, but trust and safety are 500x more important when the person is coming into your house or taking care of your children. Sturta aims to establish itself as a leading safety and consumer advocate in the local service market by automatically vetting each provider as well as offering additional consumer protection tools including identity verification, criminal background screens, professional license checks, and customer testimonials and reviews.”
Also speaking on quality of the service, he added, “Designing a marketplace for services is far more complicated than marketplaces for products; offerings are not discrete and price discovery requires a dialogue between buyer and seller. This makes the quality of the product extraordinarily important. We are endlessly working on this factoring in design, efficiency and effectiveness of our marketplace to make it flexible and sophisticated enough to accommodate a large segment of the local service marketplace.”
The startup launched a prototype of the service-discovery platform on August 30, and is already actively recruiting providers into their database so in the end they will be launching with about 5,000 providers already using Sturta.
E-commerce companies, and even social networks with e-commerce features baked in, have transformed, in a major way, how sellers find customers for their products, and Sturta’s dream might just be a breakthrough for the services sector in Africa.
Also published on Medium.