Takealot founders launch new e-commerce venture

The original founders of Take 2 – now Takealot – have re-entered the South African e-commerce market with a new online shopping portal called Raru.

Take 2 was acquired by US hedge fund Tiger Global Management in 2010, with the firm claiming a 83% stake in the company. Former MIH executive Kim Reid held 15% and two other silent partners the remaining 2%.

After the deal, Take 2 was re-branded as Takealot, and the founding members agreed to a 3 year restraint of trade – a period which has now expired, resulting in the birth of Raru.

Raru co-founders Neil Smith, Waine Smith and Jose Pereira are the directors of the site and are full time employees of the company. The site is still in beta while the team works to iron out any issues.

Some of the other former Take 2 partners have been involved with the setting up of Raru this year, Smith (Neil) said, but won’t be involved on a full-time basis over the long term.

Smith explained that the online retailer’s initial focus will be on products which the founders know well – gaming, music, movies and electronics.

The company is looking to grow its product range, but it will be guided by what works for the site, while there will be a strong focus on customer experience, with a push to try to resolve any problems as quickly as possible, and keep customers informed throughout the sales and delivery process.

Smith added that the group’s experience allows them to run a lean organisation, with the ability to implement changes quickly and contain costs.

“One of our biggest challenges will be ensuring we always have the best possible price for a specific item on the site – especially where multiple suppliers have the same item. This is still a work in progress to be fine-tuned as we get along,” Smith said.

“The biggest goal at the moment is to fix all the site bugs as they occur. After that we will be rolling out new delivery services and product ranges, including some of the most requested features,” he said.

E-commerce heats up in SA

In May, Takealot announced that it raised just over R1 billion ($100 million) from Tiger Global Management.

Takealot CEO Kim Reid said that the money will be used to capitalise the business, grow warehousing, tech, human capital and our logistics infrastructure to maintain and increase its momentum.

The online retailer said that it is growing at 100%, and expects to continue on that growth path for the foreseeable future, with a projection that it will be bigger than South Africa’s current number one online retailer, Kalahari.com, within 12 months.

Kalahari.com – owned by listed media and internet giant, Naspers – meanwhile, also points to accelerating growth.

“We see accelerating growth in our own business and great potential in the South African market overall, so it is to be expected that this would attract more investments,” said CEO, Caren Genthner-Kappes

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Takealot founders launch new e-commerce venture