Zetu platform gains popularity among bargain hunters in Kenya


Zetu, an online platform which focuses on the group buying concept is gaining acceptance in Kenya and grown to employ 13 workers six months since it launched in November 2010.

The deal-of-the-day online startup is set to follow in the success path of Groupon, the largest group buying online platform based in the US which has attracted big investors like Yahoo.

For Zetu, the number of employees on its payroll which is within the range for a majority of Kenyan medium-sized companies – mostly in their third to fifth year of operation—who have between 11 and 50 workers, show its potential.

Zetu (a Kiswahili word which means “ours”) is just in its start-up phase and its growth path highlights the effect of Internet innovation on job creation in Kenya’s economy.

“Group buying has done well in the USA, Asia and South Africa,” said Martin Muli, 29, Zetu’s marketing director and one of its four founders. “It is a concept operating on the Internet space and as you know, Internet and mobile are the next frontiers of millionaires,” he said.

Zetu, a deal-of-the-day website negotiates discounts on goods, services and cultural events. Then it offer the deals to thousands of subscribers in a free daily e-mail. The deals are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy. Through the online platform subscribers get a great deal and the business gets a tonne of new customers.

From agriculture to financial services, intermediation entrepreneurs are driving Kenya’s growth by adopting new ideas or coming up with innovative concepts which are creating jobs. Take, for instance, entrepreneurs leasing land in Nairobi’s outskirts to establish green houses to grow horticultural products.

Zetu’s business is modeled around Groupon’s. The online group buying concept is simple. Group discounts have always been there for many retailers as they offer discounts, but recover on volumes sold. What online group buying companies have done is to offer retailers a platform – riding social media and internet wave- where they can reach many customers with their offers. Most offers expire after a certain period and require a minimum number of customers to sign up.

A majority of Zetu’s work force – nine of the 13 employees—is in the sales department, according to Mr. Muli one of its four founding partners in line with their business model.