Meet Space Barter, the App that Combines Traditional e-Commerce and Online Marketplace Technology

Space Barter Enye Founders Program
Founders Projects

Meet Space Barter, the App that Combines Traditional e-Commerce and Online Marketplace Technology

One Saturday in 2014, Ronma’s MacBook charger blew. He would have to wait until Monday before embarking on the lottery of Computer Village technicians. He was swiping through Tinder when the idea for Space Barter hit him.

Online marketplaces and e-commerce platforms have changed the way business is done. Need to order a new pair of shoes? Think Amazon. Need a design for your event? Think Upwork. Need to find a business in a particular location. Think Google My Business.

Ronma Adedeji’s app, Space Barter, is combining all these into one power app: Space Barter.

In this interview, Adedeji talks about Space Barter and how Enye’s Founders Program is helping to bring it to life.

How did Space Barter come about?

New apps are basically evolutions of existing products and ideas. Back in 2014, I loved playing around with new apps. One Saturday evening, my laptop stopped charging. I didn’t know anyone else in my neighborhood who owned a MacBook. I wanted to find out if it was the charger that was faulty or the laptop. I was desperate but I realized I was going to have to wait till Monday.

Later, I was swiping around on Tinder when the idea occurred to me. What if I could find people close to me who had a MacBook charger?

I built the first version of Space Barter two years later.

So what happened since then?

At first, Space Barter was supposed to be a trade by barter app. I’m actually rebooting the app, and the new version still retains the trade by barter element, but it’s evolved considerably. It’s moved beyond merely looking for people near me who have stuff I need.

I researched on internet penetration as well as the growth of mobile smart technology in Nigeria. I considered what East African countries were achieving with their comparatively smaller resources, farmers being able to use M-PESA, Mobile Money, and all.

Smartphone penetration in Nigeria is set to grow to around 60 percent by 2025 Statista

Mobile penetration has increased so much that you can now see a cobbler with a smart device. My security guard uses his android phone to chat with his yarinya in the village. In nurturing the idea, I decided to approach these microbusinesses.

So, Space Barter wants to integrate artisans into premium internet businesses?

Yes, Space Barter will bring these microbusinesses on and give them an identity on the platform. Every seller will have a name on the top to take buyers to their microsites where their services and products are displayed.

But it doesn’t end there. We also want to get entrepreneurs on board because most people have a side hustle these days. As long as you have a business, you can be on Space Barter.

Space Barter prioritizes location. How does that work logistics-wise?

Most e-commerce platforms don’t guarantee same-day delivery. And logistics is expensive and complicated in Nigeria. Then again, most of the things we order online are available around us. Why should I wait 3-5 days to receive electronics I ordered when I could have just found a store within 10 kilometers that could deliver it to me within 2 hours max?

Space Barter app

From a consumer perspective, it’s getting what you want instantly. And this gives small businesses a fighting chance. We’ve gotten to an era where we forget about the small guys. When a new megastore opens up the street, the sales of the smaller stores naturally dwindle. After all, people would always prefer shopping in air-conditioned stores with orderly shelves. Space Barter provides the digital version of this; products are organized according to categories, removing the clutter of jam-packed shops.

From a trader perspective, traders have to pay for returns on the big e-commerce apps. Imagine a trader having to make 10 returns in a day (costing approx. N900 each), that’s N9,000 lost. The retailer might be paying for a customer who was in their feelings and changed their mind on a whim.

Deliveries and returns within a small distance radius won’t cost nearly as much or take as long.

What is Enye’s role in all of this?

When I first built Space Barter, it didn’t do too well due to financial and technical issues. Managing software engineers without financial backing never works. I found out about Enye through an acquaintance at Ingressive. The ENYE Founders Program deal appealed to me because ENYE is basically taking the headache of sourcing for competent software engineers for Space Barter. With ENYE, Space Barter now has a structure that manages these amazing technical talents and holds them accountable. The engineers from ENYE Cohort 3.0 have integrated seamlessly into Space Barter. The team is now a well-oiled machine. I am excited by what we’ve been able to achieve.

Because of ENYE, the new Space Barter is going to be version 1.0 on steroids, and I recommend ENYE’s software engineers to every tech startup.

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