One day, Annabel Angwenyi was running errands in Nairobi, Kenya when her car refused to start. She called her usual mechanic, but he was busy helping another customer on the opposite side of town. She knew there must be another mechanic close by, but because many local businesses don’t have an online presence, she had trouble finding and contacting someone else. Annabel was frustrated — but she also saw an opportunity to solve a problem.
After a lot of research, hard work and perseverance, she and her co-founder Patrick launched Ziada, an app that connects people across Kenya to local service providers. Today, Ziada has a team of seven people and over 60,000 downloads on Google Play.
Annabel is one of the founders featured in #WeArePlay, which spotlights the people behind Google Play’s apps and games. We chatted with Annabel to learn more about how she got Ziada up and running with no tech experience, and the impact it’s had on the local community.
How did you turn your idea into an app?
Patrick and I didn’t have any tech experience — we’re both business people. So in 2017, we partnered with a software developer who believed in our dream and helped us create the app. After a lot of hard work, we published the first version of Ziada on Google Play that same year. But it didn’t really take off. We weren’t sure if the Kenyan market was ready for something like this, so we took a break.
Then when the pandemic started in 2020, we noticed people wanted to access more things on demand and online, like food delivery and taxi services. So we rebranded the app, including improving the user interface to better reflect how we could help, and launched again. Now, our app has over 60,000 downloads on Google Play and is helping service providers across Kenya find new customers.