To adapt the product for Instagram users: the case of from Uzbekistan

01 November, 2022 is a startup from Uzbekistan, a web-constructor for creating online shops. Its backers seek to accelerate the development of e-commerce in Uzbekistan and the region.  

In September, the startup entered the second stream of The Silkway accelerator from Google for Startups and Astana Hub, while project co-founder Sevara Dultayeva attended the Uzbekistan Business Leaders programme in the US, run by the American Councils for International Education in Uzbekistan. 

"We launched in June 2022, with a growth rate of more than 100% month-on-month," says founder Iskander Kurbanov. 

— Last year, your project was included in the top 100 in the EWC World Cup for Young Entrepreneurs. What does participation in this competition give you?

First of all, the jury valued our company at $2 million. The participants get PR from the platform and $15,000 for cloud storage and Amazon and Zoom services. If you are in the top 100 in the world, you can get up to $ 1 million, but in Uzbekistan you can use only a hundred thousand of them because many services are outside the region. Our project received high marks because we met the following criteria:

— support small and medium-sized businesses in the country;

— increase the level of digitalization;

— Increasing the number of women working in IT: most of our clients are homemakers and self-employed people.

— How did the idea for the project come about?

Many sellers in Uzbekistan, especially women, want to get into e-commerce but don't know how to set up their online shop. This problem was particularly evident during the covid. Back then, sellers went to telegram and Instagram. 

But it is impossible to sell via social networks all the time: more than 80% of orders came in the evening. Retailers lacked the resources to process hot leads, and they became cold because the customer could no longer be led to a purchase. 

When we saw the demand, we created a service that allowed us to create our online shop, automating sales through social networks. We created a Saas product with a freemium model: people can make the simplest website for free. People start using paid packages to use more features. 

— In doing so, the e-shop page becomes an extension of the current social network account.

Yes, social networks remain a good marketing tool. We only help the retailer simplify the sales by fitting into the user experience of Instagram. In developing countries, the penetration of this social network is 70-90%. So even if people have few digital skills, they will likely know how to use Instagram and our tools.

— However, small businesses have moved to marketplaces, where the interface is simple as well.

The problem with marketplaces is that the bigger it is, the more it stifles small businesses. To increase its margins, the marketplace sells products under its own brand while squeezing out smaller brands. 

On the other hand, we want to help aspiring entrepreneurs build a sales funnel using their own resources.

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