In this spotlight we interview Dana, the founder of Erbil Delivery – a grocery delivery service in Erbil.
- Please give us an introduction to Erbil Delivery
Erbil Delivery is grocery delivery service in Erbil city. Along with supermarkets items, we partnered with many specialty stores in the city to deliver their products like Ashtar Sweets, Turkish Meat, Almond…etc.
Using our service, our customer can order their grocery needs and store items and we deliver it to their doorstep all in one package, which saves them time and money. Our service enables our customers to focus on their most important tasks/events instead of wasting time driving to stores and circling in aisles to shop regular daily basic needs.
Currently our team consists of three shoppers and one customer service employees. Being a startup we all work almost on everything and help each other. Aslo we have temp delivery staff that work on demand.
- What stage are you at now?
We currently rolled out our second major update where we listened and acted to our first adopter’s feedback, we listened and changed/added/modified many features into our app and our operations in general. We are transitioning from validating the product to growing it and reaching to more customers.
- Have you looked for any funding?
Not yet. So far we funded the projects using own money and some friends. Soon after finalizing current app update, we will start looking for funds to grow and expand.
- Have you received any external help?
- Have you participated in any startup events and communities? Did you benefit from them?
We participated in a workshop organized by re:coded in collaboration with UK MENA Hub. It was a one month guiding/preparing on how to pitch and understand business model canvas. It was good in helping us collecting some thoughts and getting some advice from experts.
- What is the plan for the next stage?
We want to focus more on setting up internal and operation processes & workflows. Then will look for funds to grow more.
- What advice can you give someone thinking of building a startup?
I’ll say trust yourself but stay humble, look for critics everywhere don’t depend on your guts and your close circles for feedback as most of them will be biased. Also I see another important factor is business viability, think, research and discuss the viability of your idea/business and what problem you are solving.
- What was the main obstacle you overcame in your experience so far?
I’ll say the mental barrier of the idea, while there are some food delivery apps in the market already but we have no data or indicator that anyone will need/use such a service. Here is where actual field visit and MVP come in handy and of course taking risks.
- What is missing here in Iraq that would help startups like yours?
Too much is missing in Iraq. The entire ecosystem is not there, you can see some startups here and there but none is there because of the ecosystem, it’s all ideas by individuals. While in the developed countries you see the ecosystem is there to help startups success, elements such as incubators, accelerators, enablers, advisors, mentors, investors networks such as angel networks, VCs…etc. None of those available here, there are some initiatives but still have lots to do to say we have an ecosystem.