“We are finally becoming a serious company”. Those were the words of OLX CEO, Daan Sanders during their media briefing today, where they announced their new product called “Do-it-for-me“.
The classifieds service was founded by Fabrice Grinda, and Alec Oxenford in 2006 and their current model is a ‘DIY (Do it yourself), where users come online, and post items they have to sell then make arrangements to meet prospective buyers in person. This comes with its attendant security problems because you can’t verify who posts what on OLX. I know a bunch of people who have gotten fleeced off the platform.
Probably as a solution, the new ‘Do-it-for-me’ model makes use of OLX-verified ‘champions’ who handle transactions (buying or selling) on behalf of users on the platform. Right now, they have around 100 verified ‘champions’, ready to be deployed when they roll out across the board. Of course, the service doesn’t come for free; users who don’t want to manage their transactions themselves will have to pony up.
It’s easy to see why OLX is making this move; that is, asides from the business side to it. They have had interesting dealings in Nigeria. A while back, they had to deal with a major security scare, but they came out of it with a renewed focus on safety. This – predictably – drove the entire classifieds sector in Nigeria to double down on safety as well, and the Do-it-for-me initiative is built on that foundation.
If Do-it-for-me works well in Nigeria, they will export the model to other emerging markets like India, Pakistan, and Indonesia because of how similar the markets are. They are present in 106 countries, as a subsidiary of Naspers, and have around 2000 global staff. The site currently has 300 million unique users and averages 45 billion page views a month.
This isn’t all they are working on, though. We hear they are leaning towards exploiting Kenya’s agricultural value chain.