Kenyan startup GoBEBA, an innovative player in Africa’s utilities supply chain, is set to expand its operations to four additional cities in Kenya over the next two years. This move comes as part of its broader strategy to cater to the continent's rapid urban growth and eventually extend its reach into East and Central Africa.

Founding and Vision

Founded in 2019 by Peter Ndiang’ui, a former OLX general manager, and Lesley Mbogo, a former head of product at Amazon, GoBEBA has positioned itself as a pioneering online distributor of bulky, refillable essentials. The startup is leveraging technology to transform the supply chain for utilities like drinking water and cooking energy in African cities.

Innovative Technology and Business Model

GoBEBA has developed a sophisticated technology stack to manage a distributed logistics network of micro-fulfillment hubs. This network is set to be further automated through AI and robotics, enhancing efficiency and scalability.

Customer Convenience

Ndiang’ui explained the company’s mission to Disrupt Africa: "We distribute bulky, unpiped utilities like drinking water and cooking energy in African cities." The average consumer in emerging market cities replenishes their daily essentials more than 17 times a month, often facing challenges like heavy traffic, chaotic public transport, and low penetration of modern retail formats.

Disrupting Traditional Retail

GoBEBA’s model bypasses traditional bricks-and-mortar retail formats, opting instead for a technology-enabled distribution system. Using a network of small micro-fulfillment stores supported by an AI-enabled inventory management system, GoBEBA promises delivery of daily essentials to customers' doorsteps in less than an hour.

Expansion Plans

Currently operational in Nairobi, GoBEBA plans to expand to four additional Kenyan cities within the next two years. This expansion is aimed at addressing the significant demand for unpiped utilities driven by Africa’s rapid urbanization.

Future Plans for East and Central Africa

Following its expansion within Kenya, GoBEBA aims to extend its services to other cities in East and Central Africa, further enhancing its footprint across the continent.

Addressing Urban Infrastructure Challenges

“Africa is urbanising rapidly. Due to lack of piped infrastructure, the growing urban population is driving significant demand in unpiped utilities,” said Ndiang’ui. The highest growth rate in bottled water demand in 2023 was observed in Africa, highlighting the broken infrastructure for distributing unpiped utilities and the need for innovative solutions like GoBEBA.

Improving Customer Experience

GoBEBA addresses the common issues of high inconvenience, unpredictable availability, and safety concerns associated with traditional utility distribution methods. By offering a more efficient and reliable service, the startup is enhancing the quality of life for urban residents.

Financial Backing and Future Prospects

Initial and Ongoing Funding

Initially self-funded, GoBEBA raised a small friends and family round before attracting institutional investors like Madica and Praxis. Additionally, it secured grants from DevelopPPP last year, bolstering its financial position for further growth.