Yoza App, described by CNN as "Uganda's Uber-like app for dirty laundry" is making a come back. I got this information after speaking to Solomon Kitumba, a co-founder. This is happening after almost a year of inactivity product-wise and more activity in-fighting-wise.
In April last year, we wrote an article titled "does YozaPay mean end of YozaApp?". This was after we found out that some of the founders of Yoza App had broken away to start Yoza Pay.
And, indeed, going by the latest revelations by Nicholas Kamanzi, Yoza Pay was the end of Yoza App. Until early March this year. At the time we wrote the article, the founders were having internal conflicts.
According to Nicholas, he told the team that "we might have to pivot from laundry and either focus on enabling as many businesses seamlessly accept payments." But "the pivot idea wasn’t received well."
Some team members broke off and launched Yoza Pay minus Solomon. They engaged companies like Jumia and Valhalla, a nightclub who ended up as some of their first clients.
The group chose the name Yoza Pay because, as Nicholas wrote, "our brand name had created a lot of trust in the community and I thought if we rode on this name, we would create a suite of products that different people would use because they liked Yoza." Though it was later changed to SulaPay. Perhaps due to internal conflicts and disagreements.
Solomon says that "Yoza App 2.0" will only have two people from the previous "Yoza App 1.0". And looking at the current Yoza App Crunchbase profile, there are only two people. Solomon Kitumba as the CEO and Isaac Kyuka as the CTO.
It is not clear how they will fund the company as well as the balance between activities. Seeing that both pursued different engagements after the initial disagreements. Solomon founded Swipe2Pay and Isaac Kyuka is part of SulaPay.
Also read: Useremit to focus on solving the intra-Africa money transfer problem
Though Solomon has been engaging several investors to secure funding for Yoza App. Some of them include Einstein Rising that invests in ideas and companies with a "social impact."
One clear challenge the two will face is lack of focus due to divided attention. Revamping one startup as well as starting another is a tough job. Another is what Nicholas pointed out; "the technology divide between our customers and washers."
Launched in August 2015, Yoza App quickly became everyone's darling. Especially after winning the very first MTN App challenge as well as getting featured in CNN and BBC.
Yet after two and a half years, what we got was a scanty account of events from Nicholas Kamanzi through a series of medium posts here, here and here. Solomon disagreed with some and promised to contribute "my side of the story".
While as Yoza App is facing in-fightings, another laundry startup, Kisafi, started over a half a year later, in April 2016, is flouring. At one point, in 2016, Kisafi attempted to enter the Kampala market through Yoza App. Yet, according to Solomon, the conversation fell through.
Kisafi has now become a brand name in Kenya to the extent that when I was in Nairobi some described Yoza App as "works like Kisafi." The startup has grown to cover almost the entire Nairobi. Plus, a rumour was made that they secured angel investment a few months after their launch.