Uganda’s Yammzit re-launches, to face it rough against Facebook with some features

Steven Byamugisha, co-founder of Yammzit, giving part of the keynote
Yammzit has today relaunched with a new logo as well as a host of new features. The startup was first launched in November 2016. Co-founders Steven Byamugisha and Kevin Gasta made the announcements at The Innovation Village.
At first, Yammzit launched a social review and rating platform. But with the relaunch, they seem to be moving away from that. They are looking to become an “everything-lifestyle” platform.
In the announcement, they said that it maintained its review and rating feature. Though, also introduced a host of others. Some of them include the Contacts, Discover, Happy Vibes, Yam Events and ShowTimes.
They also announced, “support features” including YamPay and Yammzit Workspace. YamPay, integrated with Mobile Money, helps one make payments within Yammzit. Yammzit Workspaces helps businesses keep track of their activities in Yammzit.
Reviews and ratings
Last night, I went out with a friend to a wonderful place. They liked the Pizza and decided to review the place. Guess where they went? Facebook. But before doing that, they wondered when they had last used Swarm. Another review platform.
Trust is at the core of reviews and ratings. If I don’t trust you, then I won’t trust your review. By default, we trust our peers hence their reviews. By Facebook having reviews and your friends, it becomes easier to lure reviews. 
On Yammzit, you have to see reviews from both your connections on Yammzit and other people. This feature is competing with Facebook. A position not good for a startup to be in.
The only way Yammzit can become so good at this area is to ensure people trust their reviews. One way of doing that is focusing on niches like bars and restaurants.
Again, when it comes to discovering new places, Google and Facebook are always on standby. Waiting for you to think of whatever you want.
One of the first things small businesses do is set-up a Facebook page. Because it is easier to set-up and maintain a Facebook page compared to a website. Plus, the cost of setting up and maintaining a Facebook page is far less than the ROI you get out of the platform.
Reviews and Ratings are the first thing you'll see
Reviews and Ratings are the first things you’ll see
This is all possible because of the numbers Facebook boasts. Try typing in your Facebook search bar the sentence “Bars in…”. It will auto-suggest high profile bars in the places around you. For example, mine auto-suggested “Bars in Kololo” and “Bars in Bugolobi”.
Facebook also puts reviews and ratings as the first thing on pages for bars and hangout places. Unlike other Facebook pages. Good luck beating them on that.
Contacts is another feature that Yammzit is introducing. This will allow users to identify contacts for the businesses and reach out to them. But, Facebook – again – is light years ahead in this area.
The screenshot above shows that Facebook prioritizes reviews and ratings. After that, the next priority is to contact the business after deciding whether you like it or not.
Once again, thanks to numbers, a business has a better incentive to display it’s most up-to-date contacts on Facebook than Yammzit
Happy Vibes
This feature wants Yammzit users to take advantage Happy Hours at hangouts. It will allow them to book for their Happy Hour drinks or items and go their later as long as it is before midnight.
Steven pointed that they so far have clubs Atmosphere and Arena as well as La Patisserie – a restaurant.
This is a wonderful feature. As long as Yammzit is able to show how it will impact business’ bottom line. Because they intend to make money out of it through the revenue share with the businesses. Then, it is a no-brainer it’will take off.
Yam Events
This is for people who only want to see events related to certain topics. It also aims at helping businesses keep track of their ticket sales and event sign-ups. Steven maintains that “all ticket sales and sign-ins at events will be digital.”
So, once you pay or sign up for an event, you’ll get an e-Ticket or e-Receipt. Then, when you go to the reception or gate for the event, the receptionist or usher will scan the QR Code on your ticket.
This is a wonderful product. It’ll help ease the amount of paperwork among event goers and organizers. Though, in my view, it is not scalable to handle larger volumes of people. Thus suitable for events with smaller attendees. These people should also have smartphones. Tech event organizers should be the first customers.
I also think that companies can use it at their receptions. Instead of a visitor’s book, why not scan a QR Code that has a form for me to fill in and access your building or office?
Here comes my favourite feature launched. It’s solving one of the most recent challenges I faced.
On Saturday, I was travelling from Kenya but had to watch Black Panther with my date. Yet, the only way for me to know the times when the movie was showing was to go to the Facebook page or Website for Cinemax.
Then, I could only make a booking through mobile money after calling in for a reservation. This doesn’t guarantee me a receipt in return. The alternative we took was to send someone to go and book the tickets.
What ShowTime is presenting is the ability for one to know which movies are showing. And, at what time of the day or week. Then go ahead and book.
This feature is magnificent. The challenge it faces is the cartel currently running the Ugandan movie industry.
One thing Yammzit has figured out is how to make money out of this without interfering the cartel. They are looking to charge users a booking fee. This cuts the back and forth of convincing movie companies to relinquish a percentage of their revenue.
But, even then, there’s another problem Yammzit will have to navigate.
In 2016, a movie booking and ticketing startup called CineApp launched. But, they struggled to convince Cinemax and 3D Cinema to release their catalogues. Without the catalogue and showing time, the service becomes useless to the users.
Support Features
It is exciting and everyone’s dream to offer an end to end service. Yammzit is ensuring both users and businesses never exit unless they’re done. That’s why they’ve built YamPay and Yammzit Workspace.
It is a no-brainer that businesses will need Yammzit Workspace and YamPay. But, at a later stage. With little or no resources at hand, the focus should be on building a single product that will make a user go wow. 
Up until now, you can’t book a ticket using Facebook. That’s not a mistake. At one point, Facebook will have to introduce it. What this means is that focus is very important.
This goes to all the features Yammzit has launched today. They are spreading themselves wide and thin. It is no doubt all the challenges they’re trying to solve are real and need solutions. But, so far, there are none of these features I can use that will make me go wow.
This is among the first product feature launches in Uganda. It will set a new precedence. Where startups introduce new features and products to audiences and the media in an organized way.
Another key and important observation was the presence of Steven’s dad. Mr Twinomugisha and his wife. He said that so far, they have supported them with over UGx. 50,000,000. Now, this is a lot of money coming from a Ugandan parent. But, it is a tip of the required amount to prototype and brings a product to market.
But, that small and initial amount helps startups survive when not making revenue. Family and friends should be the ones to bring in that initial amount. Though, that link has been missing.