KAMPALA — Linmart is an online marketplace that links manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers and shoppers to one platform called a MARKET for convenient, timely and cost-effective transactions.
Started in October 2021, Linmart is an easy-to-use product where vendors sign-up for free and buyers just use their smartphones, pads or computers to conveniently contact sellers and access products.
The HiPipo 40 Days 40 FinTechs team caught up with Fredrick Ssenyonga, the Founder and CEO Linmart for a candid discussion on E-Commerce and FinTech.
Below are the excerpts.
QN: What was the motivation behind forming Linmart?
ANS: We are motivated by the need for convenience for both buyers and sellers to transact. Finding the market has always been a problem for most businesses; so, Linmart brings the market closer to everyone.
Everyone is assured of finding what he/she wants within no time. For example, businesses can easily contact manufacturers and importers; shoppers are able to identify all that they need; suppliers of both raw material and ready-to-consume products are all able to do business on a trustable platform.
QN: How does one use Linmart?
ANS: They just need a smartphone, pad or computer. When one signs up on Linmart, the system creates an account for them. It could be a vendor account or a consumer account. It’s on this account that shopping money is deposited. However, there are other modes of payment including Mobile Money, Visa card and Credit cards.
QN: What exactly are your products/services?
ANS: We have two products. We have the e-Market and a Linmart Virtual Credit Card. The e-Market is where buyers and sellers link up for business transactions. With the Linmart Virtual Credit Card, a shopper will be able to buy products from any vendor signed up on Linmart on credit and make payment in the following month with a little increment of say 5 per cent.
QN: For the time you have been in business, how do your numbers look like?
ANS: More than 450 businesses have signed up for outlets on Linmart, and a very good number of shoppers visit the online market daily.
QN: In your opinion, what is the state of Uganda’s E-Commerce and FinTech industry?
ANS: To start with, the government embraced the technology era which eases its implementation. Secondly, almost 2/3 of our population constitutes youths who are ready to embrace anything trendy, and technology is no exception. So, FinTech is here at the right time.
QN: Any challenges?
ANS: One of the biggest challenges especially with start-ups is finances. It’s costly to implement a technological concept. There are not many investors willing to stake money in start-ups. Loans are complicated and grants/seeds are rare and hard to access. A number of projects are stagnant due to resource scarcity.
QN: What’s your take on the #40Days40FinTechs initiative in supporting the industry?
ANS: The initiative has created exposure for various technology companies. This will help us network, share ideas and do business together. We are grateful to the #40Days40FinTechs initiative.
QN: What else must be done to improve the industry?
ANS: The #40Days40FinTechs initiative can initiate means of soliciting for funds to support businesses in technology. I believe we can use this platform to access grants, seeds or come up with annual fundraisings. This can help businesses, especially start-ups, to scale up.
Linmart is participant number 28 for the 2022 40 days 40 FinTechs. Now in its third edition, #40Days40FinTechs has quickly grown into one of the world’s premier showcase events for the innovations that are enabling ever more people to join the digital economy space. It is organized by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop, ModusBox, and Crosslake Technologies and generously supported by the Gates Foundation.
The 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative offers participants useful tools and an introduction to the industry’s emerging technologies, such as Mojaloop Open Source Software, and guidance from Level One Project foundational material. The skills gained from this initiative cover Level One Project Principles, Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS), Inclusive Finance and FinTech in general.
According to HiPipo CEO, Innocent Kawooya, this year’s edition is cementing the achievements of the previous editions – where over 60 FinTechs have been transformed – but also building on them to leverage digital financial inclusion in East Africa and beyond.
“40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative is bringing together DFSPs and stakeholders (including regulators and development partners) to drive discussions on building instant and inclusive payment systems that will solve the most emerging challenges that limit low-income users from onboarding onto formal financial platforms,” Kawooya said, adding;
“Thanks to initiatives like 40 Days 40 FinTechs and Level One Project among others, DFSPs, and FinTech stakeholders across Africa will soon gain access to fully functional IIPS regulatory sandboxes to prototype, build and test innovative digital products while evaluating Mojaloop technology with the aim of solving data/infrastructure localization government regulations and directives.”