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Yanzo – Your text-based assistant

Yanzo – Your text-based assistant

Arab Finance: Arab Finance sits with Magida Abaza, co-founder of the double award-winning startup Yanzo, to talk about the company’s performance and future plans.  As Yanzo just won the startup competition in Saudi Arabia, Abaza tells us how “conversational commerce” changed from being a buzzword within the e-commerce segment to garnering actual recognition and demand from the region.

 

What does Yanzo do?

Yanzo is your personal assistant on WhatsApp, getting daily errands done through texting, it can be as simple as delivering a flower bouquet, getting something from the nearest mall, booking a flight, taking your car to the service center or even arranging a party, you name it we do it!

Our technology is built to deliver personalized and exceptional customer experience where you’d enjoy talking to real humans using free texts asking for anything that comes to your mind while at the same time the backend is designed in a way to provide on-demand seamless solutions by connecting with the top suppliers and business providers in the market to get quotations, rank them and source the best delivery option to make sure that we’re provided with the best deal in town.

 

Can you share with us your journey in co-founding Yanzo? How did it first come about and what made you think this idea would be a success?

So the concept itself isn’t our innovation, back in 2017, we started to look for unique ideas and found out that "conversational commerce" has become an increasingly familiar buzzword within e-commerce. As a term it was coined by Uber's Chris Messina in a 2015 Medium post, who thought it would become the primary way in which people transact on their mobile devices.

So basically with the busy life we are living, everyone have a million errand to do through the week, which is distracting them from focusing on what really matters such as work, family, health…etc. On the other hand, people are bombarded with a lot of mobile applications introduced every day where they have to search, get reviews, try and even keep on following up to get their things done.

So we started searching for solutions around the word, we found that the virtual personal assistant had started to be introduced to the masses similarly to the concierge services but with the twist of being affordable, handy and accessible through texting, there were some companies doing it around the world at the time, one in the US- GetMagic, one in India-Haptic and one in Germany-GoButler, the business model was doing really good that one of them actually got acquired by Amazon however the business model was never introduced in the middle east using the same proposition.

From here we decided to start Yanzo, we wanted to provide the service through the most accessible communication channel which is texting and through the applications that are already installed, you do not have to download any app to text Yanzo, we are integrated with all social media platforms where you can start texting your requests through our verified channel on  WhatsApp or through Facebook messenger, Twitter and IG.

 

Can you share with us the company in numbers? For instance, what are your year-on-year growth rate? What are the company’s revenues and profits? Etc.

Yanzo now has more than 5000+ users, more than 1000+ active suppliers, and our GMV is more than 280,000+ USD.

 

Furthermore, what are the company’s expansion plans?

Yanzo is currently serving the UAE, our goal in 2022 is to multiply our number by 10x, complete expansion in the UAE and soft launch in KSA. In 2023, we will complete the expansion to lock the two mentioned markets, introduce the service in two new markets such as Egypt and the rest of the GCC countries and start offering B2B services by the white labeling solution. By the end 2024, we should have scaled the business to reach monthly GMV of 1M USD.

 

Who is your target audience, and how do you aim to build a robust customer base? Are there specific sectors that you target?

Our target audience currently is the busy business professionals who are looking for a handy, affordable and accessible service to get their daily hassles done.

We are simply tending to create the habit of using Yanzo couple of times per day for different purposes, the service is highly personalized, you get to put your personal details only once and your request could be simply.

“Hi Yanzo, please get me a charger delivered to my office now.”

Yanzo already knows your laptop model and office location from previous orders; it will source it and deliver it within couple of hours seamlessly while allowing you to pay online over WhatsApp without even signing up every time. We are the first in the region to provide such payment solution as well.

What is very interesting about Yanzo, that more than 15% of our orders are coming from returning customers; it is very convenient for them to text the same WhatsApp number to get a laundry service, deliver a package and book a flight!

 

As a young female entrepreneur, what would you advise younger girls to do to pursue their dreams?

Well, for me it is very important to focus on the target, do not get distracted or look at anything that would demotivate you for being a female, for being young, for being not skilled enough or doubting your capabilities, just do not get bothered if someone classified or judged you for any purpose, it means nothing, you have to put yourself in a productive mindset to move forward, and that is actually for males and females.

Also, a very important thing, start with an MVP, it is okay to start with a very simple product that might seem not scalable, do a lot of experiments and test your business model to verify it even if you’d do it manually, just start and keep on progressing by time.
Make sure you are educating yourself, learning from your mistakes, talk to people younger and older and get to know their experiences, networking is very important.


Lastly be patient, nothing will happen in a blink of an eye!

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