Meet our portfolio start-ups: Joonaak, Cambodia

E-commerce in Cambodia has experienced serious growth over the last few years, due in large part to growing smartphone penetration, which currently stands at 43 per cent, up from 13 per cent just five years ago. Despite this progress, Cambodia ranked just 115 out of 144 in the UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index 2017, lagging behind other countries in the region, such as Indonesia (49), Vietnam (74) and Thailand (101). Meanwhile, microbusinesses (those with under 10 employees, mainly small merchants) account for almost 97 per cent of businesses in Cambodia. One of the most significant bottlenecks these small merchants face in Cambodia is ‘last-mile’ logistics, due to the lack of an established postal service and an inconsistent address system.

To tackle this problem, Joonaak launched a web-based last-mile delivery service for small merchants in March 2015. The start-up uses web and mobile technology, a fleet of motorcycles and warehousing facilities to help small merchants solve their logistics issues. Joonaak’s solution allows merchants to track sales and generate reports through a web-based order management system. Joonaak also provides a holistic logistics solution to merchants through packaging and warehousing services.

As of June 2018, Joonaak had 12 drivers, 167 active small merchants on its platform and was delivering more than 3,000 packages per month.

Given that last-mile delivery is the most challenging and expensive component of Cambodia’s e-commerce value chain, Joonak’s mobile solution allows merchants to focus on their core business, leaving Joonaak to handle their delivery and logistics needs. On average, small merchants have seen a drop in cancelled orders and an increase in sales of about 30 per cent a year after signing up for Joonaak’s service. By eliminating logistics worries, Joonaak empowers and supports these small merchants to scale faster. On the delivery side, Joonaak offers its drivers stable jobs in the formal sector as well as training opportunities.

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In February 2018, Joonaak received a grant from the Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund to expand its operations and customer base, as well as to design and launch a mobile app version of their web-based application. The mobile app allows Joonaak, merchants and their end-users to monitor and track orders more seamlessly. By the end of the grant in April 2019, the project aims to deliver direct economic benefits to about 650 merchants and their families, in addition to around 100,000 e-commerce shoppers. Beyond the funding, the GSMA will also support Joonaak in strengthening relationships with mobile operators in Cambodia.

The Ecosystem Accelerator programme is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Government, the GSMA and its members.