The ever-growing startup Thumeza is poised to be a force to be reckoned with in the logistics industry. Thumeza is a delivery solutions provider, providing last-mile and freight services for enterprises. The vision of the company is to provide the data that powers logistics decisions for enterprises in Africa.
Gugulethu Siso is the brains and the brawn of the startup. The 27-year-old entrepreneur is a smart, driven, and witty individual with a desire for success. Venture Nation decided to get to know the entrepreneur behind Thumeza. We wanted to capture what it takes to run a successful logistics enterprise in Zimbabwe.
How did your journey into entrepreneurship begin?
Informally in high school when I would charge my friends a “commission” to stand in a queue for them at the school tuckshop LOL. Formally, in university where I did a business development internship for a Swedish Business Accelerator called Global Business Labs. There I had a front-row seat to aspiring and first-time entrepreneurs challenges and triumphs giving me a more realistic outlook of entrepreneurship.
Besides being an entrepreneur what’s the riskiest thing you’ve done in your journey?
I forfeited my place in university at studying law to study business administration with the faith that it would work out in the future. I just did not see a happy future with myself as a lawyer. I believe it worked out as being a CEO you get really good at being a jack of all trades and having to know a little bit about every subject pertinent to your business so as to manage the human and other resources well. To this day my mother still gives me the side-eye at that decision.
What’s the one thing that keeps you up at night?
Frustrated ambition. I have the exact vision of what success would look like for us at Thumeza (looking over at a set of traffic lights knowing there’s a high chance the truck next to us’ load has been facilitated by data obtained from our logistics platform).
What are your sources of support as an entrepreneur?
I am lucky enough to have a close circle of friends and family who, although may not understand why I chose entrepreneurship, support me in any way that they can. Additionally, I am a great fan of romance books. It’s like having a portable vacation in your bag or phone.
Gugu is no stranger to the entrepreneurship game, she is committed to building innovative solutions in Africa. Thumeza is her latest venture as she continues to build a name for herself in the entrepreneurial circles.
What’s the greatest thing you’ve accomplished in your startup life?
Being able to start two successful startups in separate industries in separate countries. My first startup was in the trolley management industry in Namibia servicing retailers such as Pick’n’Pay, Shoprite, Woolworths to name a few. When I left in 2017, we had a staff complement of 50 and counting staff and had netted growth capital investment. My second startup, Thumeza, has grown to servicing behemoths such as TM Pick’n’Pay in Zimbabwe and has attained validation as a tech startup from being part of the 5th Class of the Google for Startups Africa Accelerator. This has assured us that we are on the right path as a data-centric logistics platform.
What impact do you think your startup has had in the industry you’re operating in?
Ironically, when we first started we were providing the last mile service that was supporting enterprises(startups and individuals with hustles), get their goods to the end consumer. Last-mile is still the most expensive part of the logistics journey depending on volumes in order to make a profit meaning there was a lack of supporting infrastructure for such a demographic.
Today although we have evolved towards focusing on freight-centric solutions servicing large corporates such as TM PICK’N’PAY, the fact that one can create a dropshipping business today with the comfort that Thumeza will provide accountable and affordable last-mile delivery support services gives us comfort. We have worked with awesome enterprises such as Fresh In a Box, Brooks Express, OK Stores, Spar, Chelsea Cakes, etc to provide them with such an essential service that is even more integral during this COVID19 pandemic.
What are your plans for the next 5 years?
Building Thumeza to a regional power in the 3rd party logistics market is my overarching goal right now. Everything else comes second to this.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt in your journey as an entrepreneur?
Take your time choosing who you get into business with as it has long term effects of not only your business but you as an individual. Also, processes are very important as you need them to build a solid business on top off.