This episode of the BIG5D Podcast is brought to you by Matchcraft
Guy Futi is a born entrepreneur. The Congolese founder of food tech SaaS platform Orda was born in Gabon and raised in Canada, and educated at some of the world’s finest schools. He later honed his management chops at Jumia, one of Africa’s tech unicorns.
One of Guy’s many childhood business ventures involved burning CDs off Napster downloads and selling them for walking around money. Fast forward a few years, he and his wife created and produced a reality show focused on dating life in Africa, which they later sold.
In 2020, he left Jumia, where he ran Jumia Food in Nigeria, to launch Orda, a Lagos-based software company that aspires to be the operating system for small (and also large) restaurants across Africa.
Its core offering is a cloud-based POS system. The company recently raised a $1.1 million pre-seed round. The company also just became the first African company named to the Techstars Boulder, Colorado, program. In fact, our conversation with Guy took place while he was in Colorado.
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The company offers a platform for omnichannel ordering (e.g., from multiple channels like WhatsApp, Jumia Food, and so on), plus a customizable microsite for its restaurant customers. Orda also gives restaurants their own branded mobile app.
Orda was founded as StarKitchens and later rebranded as Orda. The name change from StarKitchens reflects an early intention to launch a cloud kitchen business.
Futi and his team quickly realized there was a much bigger opportunity. Africa’s very small restaurants need help making the transition from managing their sales and financial operations with pen and paper. And the volume of offline trade still far exceeds the volume coming in via delivery apps.
Futi says Orda’s best customer is a small restaurant that hasn’t yet jumped on the SaaS train.
“We like clients who operate on cash or use pen and paper to run their business,” Futi said. “Because then we can make a difference quickly.”
Restaurants needed tools to help them operate efficiently, collect data and then process it so they know if they made money on any given day. And even better, gather insights to improve operations and profitability, giving restaurants a better foundation to grow from.
So the company changed gears and changed its name. Now Futi and his team are racing to keep building and improving its product, expanding into new markets, and no doubt soon raising more money. As Futi well knows, a million dollars doesn’t last very long when you are chasing a massive opportunity.
Futi met with us recently to talk about his company and its ambitions. He also shared his “brutal” experience fundraising and what he thinks are the keys to building great software for small businesses. Simplicity is a big part of the answer. As Futi puts it, “if you can play Candy Crush, you can use Orda.”