Kenyan Startup TandaOne Plans to Automate Retailing by Giving Away Free Android Phones to Retailers


There is no shortage of ideas for startups, and the latest entrant to this game is TandaOne that welcomes you to the ‘future of retail.’ The startup is collaborating with Google’s Android One to launch a phone which will cost KES 0 for retailers. What’s fueling the motivation to launch this phone is the startups’s goal to meet automation requirements for retailers in Kenya. Later expansions are intended to tackle East and West African markets.

Once launched, the phone will ship with an application that meets the startup’s goal; automate retail. According to TechMoran, this will be done through a self-acting and self-regulating mechanism that processes orders and manages inventory, as well as vending e-services to clients such as airtime purchases and Kenya power tokens, to mention a few.

As mentioned, the phone will be given to retailers for the aforementioned price, which is KES 0. The startup adds that there will be no hidden costs or plans to finance, so they do not need to worry about that.

TandaOne’s CEO, Mr. Geoffrey Mulei has shed more light into the working principle of this idea. In particular, a shop’s supply chain will be automated. Then, matching the duka to suppliers with friendlier prices will be autonomous too. By doing so, TandaOne hopes to get to the bottom of the country’s supply chain woes thanks to ineffective nature of existing supply chain networks that have left smallscale retailers no choice other than using more expenses to meet their inventory needs on a personal front.

On an entirely different point, we are puzzled about the TandaOne’s choice of the Android One Program. Launched in 2014, One targeted emerging with cheaper hardware with a stock Android experience, together with timely updates from Google. However, the program did not penetrate the intended market as Google postulated, and this might be a contributor to Google’s inept attention to One.