By Edward Tsumele
Imagine the trauma of being at home and you are about to leave on a road trip and suddenly you realize that you have forgotten to fill up your tank. Or that you are hungry and you have ordered food from one of the top restaurants through an App, but at the same time you feel missing the popular township burger, the popular Kota and you do not want to go out into the streets to look for a place that sells a kota.
Both these scenarios are no longer a big deal, and thanks to a new APP called FULA, developed by serial entrepreneur and technology enthusiast Lubabalo Nojiwa . This App, which was launched only six months ago is increasingly becoming popular with both top class restaurants and township based eateries, including those specialising in non conventional food such as Kota and Shisanyamas.
And the FULA Mobile App can also be used to order fuel, which can be delivered by electric motor cycles belonging to service agents that are part of the Fula ecosystem.
Currently operational in Gauteng, and spreading to other provinces including in Durban and Cape Town, some of the customers use the APP to have necessities as medicine, delivered at home.. Increasingly the APP is also being used to deliver skin care products alongside food as well.
“I worked on this App for quite sometime including going back to the drawing board before coming up with the current one, developing various prototypes and doing research. In fact the current App is the fifth that I have come up with before eventually launching it in the market. The App has restaurants and feeling stations as customers. What we are planning to do, and what we will do in the next few months is to market the product into the townships across the country to make sure that even the smallest player in the food service industry, such as those selling quarter s are not left out, including the Shisanyamas,” the businessman said in an interview. CITYLIFE/ARTS conducted the interview with the enterprising businessman at the uprmarket Signature Restaurant at Morningside Shopping Centre in Sandton recently. From the reception he got from staff as he joined me, the businessman appeared to be a regular at this swanky restaurant where the wealthy and the influential in the northern suburn-bs and from far away places dine and wine.
AS If reading my mind, he answered my curiosity. “My offices happen to be nearby, and so I often come here to have a cup of coffee.”
The entrepreneur revealed to CITYLIFE/ARTS that his team is working hard to upgrade the APP into a fully fledged e=commerce platform to cater for other sectors of the economy.
“We are excited about launching Fula 2.0, which is an upgrade of Fula 1.0 and this time around it will be a platform where one can buy anything from clothes to art, a fully fledged e-commerce platform. Wd are launching it in tow months time and it is going to change the game in e-commerce in the country,” he said without releasing the full details of Fula 2.0.
The story of this serial entrepreneur is as inspirational as iy was full of potholes. .Company founder Chief Executive officer (CEO), developer and entrepreneur, Nojiwa was born in Vosloorus, on the East Rand, and grew up in Soweto, Dobsonville. But by roots, he is originally from the Eastern Cape in Nqamakwe. He has architecture skills from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Nojiwa is now a businessman and the founder of Fula Mobile App yet his first job was a humble beginning as a store packer.
As an architectural major he then moved into architectural spaces, where he worked as a designer and manufacturer in the field for a few years. He later moved into the mining sector in 2005, and it is where the tech bug bit. Nojiwa is a technology enthusiast and developed the Fula Mobile App which went live in 2021. Fula Mobile App is a convenient app that delivers fuel and other services to individuals. This software was created to assist ordinary South Africans to get their local goods at their doorsteps but in doing so create jobs for drivers. The unemployment rate is at its peak, he hopes to not only employ drivers but with expansion to grow the business by having call centre agents.
The Fula Mobile App is now accessible outside of Gauteng and it can be found in the coastal areas as of April. Nojiwaaims at creating employment and calls all the drivers to be part of this amazing innovation, Fula Mobile App.
“I went into business when I was young, 24 years old. For example I started a construction company which was part of a BEE deal, a mining supplies company which was also part of a BEE partnership, but the technology bug did not leave me alone.
When I l felt formal employment, life was tough for me. I had no job and had just married. It is then that I though carefully about what it was that I liked most and technology is actually what I like. I therefore started an App for job seekers and it became a success. I sold the company and was unemployed again. Started another tech company, which was essentially an upgrade of the company I had sold. I sold it again when it was going well. And now I am here with FULA Mobile APP and my team and I are planning to take it to places. What is good about this APP is that customers, such as restaurants can register online and to get paid for orders they do it online. No hustles and no stress. The customers are in full control of their deliveries and payment. They do not have to wait for anyone to get paid,” he emphasised.
And to get onto the APP customers apply online and according to Nojiwa the response time from his team as to whether the application is successful or not takes 24 hours. It is as simple as that,” he said.