Tech company aims at merging people and skills

By Barry Silah
Wednesday, September 1st, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Gebeya CEO and co-founder Amadou Daffe with the COO Leul Girma. RIGHT: Screenshot of the apps showing the landing page and the profile setup. Photo/PD/COURTESY

When two friends, Amadou Daffe and Hiruy Emmanuel, met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2016, they set out on detailed research to find a solution to the on-demand skills market.

That’s how Gebeya (Amharic for marketplace) came to life. The platform is a talent hub, which acts as a meeting point for people in tech and would-be clients for services. 

The start-up headquartered in Ethiopia aims at having an Africanised version of America e-commerce platform, Amazon.

The firm has its focal target in the Business 2 Client model in educational and training services.

Gebeya Chief Operations Officer Leul Girma says it was only a matter of time before clients switched all their needs to the platform.

 “As an organisation, our purpose is to serve the market because we have identified a need.

The talents within our platform are buoyed by the fact that anytime they can get freelance contracts whether in software development, machine learning or network programming.

We have a dedicated team that helps to ease the process and most  importantly ensure clients get the best connection to service,” he said during an interview at his office in Kilimani, Nairobi.

Tech supply chain, such as programmers and developers are registered on the board after thorough vetting of credibility and skills strengths.

After passing initial screening, tests, and an interview, talents are on-boarded virtually through a session that covers expectations, standards and client relations.

Talents can make money once they are matched on a project via a client request. 

How it works

At the moment the product serves active consumer markets, such as Nairobi, Abuja, Dakar, Johannesburg and Addis Ababa.

Screenshot of the apps showing the landing page and the profile setup. Photo/PD/COURTESY

The organisation has worked on a revenue sharing formula (30 per cent for the platform and 70 per cent for the talent provider) that has seen them on-board at least 700 talents and about 300 clients. So far, it has a multilingual 94-person workforce. 

With Covid-19 pandemic, Gabeya, saw a lot of inquiries given the nature of work.

“The pandemic made remote work not only preferable, but critical. Even if it was initially required for local businesses in Kenya and elsewhere; if a talent can transition to working remotely successfully for a company in their home market, why not do so for one in West Africa or Europe?

The internet connection is there, the tools are available—with that mindset and proof, the opportunities are endless for both sides of the marketplace. Kenya being central has is the hub of operations.

Nairobi particularly has been a thriving ecosystem for innovation and startups for some time. The network of vibrant startups proves that,” added Girma.

High demand

Gebeya freelance talents, include not only those in the IT field, but also in digital marketing and graphic design.

This is in direct response to demand, especially in the Kenyan market. From the client side, we have also learned to anticipate startups’ needs as they scale—so that we can be a continuous supplier of talents as businesses reach different stages.

Vital investment 

Last year, the founders received seed funding (US2 million dollars (Sh200 million) from investors led by Partech and Orange Venture to establish a fully automated platform and upscaling the manpower. 

The product has not been without challenges with the most prevalent being; fluctuating demand, demand for highly experienced, senior talent, and a limited understanding of the difference between leveraging freelancers versus full-time and permanent staff.

According to Girma, expansion is the way forward. 

“Further expanding our core team into key regions, such as North and Southern Africa is critical and viable, so we can be more effective on the ground there.

Expanding the types of talent in our pool, so we can service a greater diversity of industries at every step, from idealisation, to funded, to unicorn,” he says in conlusion.

Barry Silah