InConversation with: Rumbie Mutekeri
My name is Constance Rumbie Mutekeri (preferably Rumbie). I am a clinical pharmacist and an aspiring tech entrepreneur. I recently launched TUMA, a platform that connects travellers with extra space to people who want to send parcels worldwide. I love travelling, reading and basketball.
What is your proudest achievement?
When I was at university I was the president of a Christian group called Bible Study. We held a yearly concert and that year I decided to dream big! I sent invites to huge Christian artist like Willian McDowell, Israel Houghton etc some responded, and some the cost was just too high! My friend goes to Hillsong London, she suggested maybe I should invite them. I did! And they came! Well it wasn’t that easy, but it happened. The students union is usually filled with students partying every weekend but that night it was packed with students worshiping God! During the concert a friend I had met during the planning sent a text saying, “this is all you!” I must admit I was proud that I had kept my vision and dream even when it looked impossible.
How did TUMA come to be?
I was driving to work one morning, November 15, 2017, when I first thought of the idea. The previous night I had seen a post on Facebook of someone who wanted to send parcels back home! So, I reminisced on the days I used to live in Zimbabwe and my mother in the UK and the struggle of sending parcels and I thought there are millions of people worldwide who struggle, and DHL never loved us! I started taking screenshots every time someone asked for people going home to carry their luggage on Facebook and before long I realised I needed to do something. So, I sat down one evening and built a website. A platform where people going home can advertise their space and people who want to send parcels can “shop” for travellers or couriers.
What do you hope people will take away from using your services?
I hope that the “senders” find convenience and a cheaper way to send parcels. I hope people realise that it’s possible to surprise loved ones abroad with gifts. And for the travellers more than the money I hope they get to experience the joy that comes with delivering gifts, parcels, luxuries and necessities to people. It’s like a superhero moment!
What makes your business unique?
The trend today is shared economy. We all have enough resources and we can bring down the cost of postage if we utilise and share what we already have. At TUMA everyone benefits! Our business model ensures that the travellers get extra money when they travel, instead of travelling with empty suitcases they can meet a need and get paid. For people who are sending parcels, the cost of TUMA is up 70% less than commercial postage and it’s quicker! Next day delivery! For airlines for example Rwanda airlines sells an extra bag at £70, we have had travellers who buy extra luggage since the launch of TUMA. Here is a personal secret, I am going to Zimbabwe in July more than 3/4 of my ticket is going to paid by TUMA!!
What have been the highs and lows of creating TUMA?
We have been really blessed. A lot of things have been falling into place! The highs first, it’s so satisfying to create something that people use! And it’s amazing every time we receive customers. The lows... the word is not travelling as quick as we want and there is still a lot of work to be done! Also, it’s new territory for me, I can talk about medicine even in my sleep but with TUMA, we are constantly learning and relearning about business and the technology and we still have a lot to learn!
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
The feeling that I’m doing something, or I started something that changes people’s lives for the better!
Describe a typical day in your life...
I wake up, check my emails and reply to TUMA enquiries or upload a new trip on the site, by the time I’m done I’m running late and must choose between make-up and breakfast, breakfast always wins. I make use of transition time by listening to inspirational podcast or business podcasts. I am a 9-5er, I am pharmacist at Southampton Hospital. After work I get home, whine about how I don’t have time to watch “Jane the virgin” anymore! Prepare dinner if my mum or brother hasn’t done so already and start working on more TUMA stuff or my Diploma (yes, I am doing my postgrad training as a clinical pharmacist). We pray as a family then I retire to bed!
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
You have to sow to reap. You have to do the work now to enjoy tomorrow. Nothing happens by magic.
What song would you say is the soundtrack to your life?
“I was here” by Beyonce
Which countries is TUMA available in and how far wide do you plan on expanding it?
TUMA is a platform that connects travellers with extra space to people who want to send parcels worldwide especially the African diaspora. We have had travellers selling space to Harare, Bulawayo, Nairobi and Kilimanjaro. We plan to be used by travellers worldwide!
Who inspires you the most in life?
Steven Furtick and Strive Masiyiwa.
If you could give up anything for a year what would it be and why?
Apple Pay! Apple Pay is the enemy of progress to my savings plan!
What is your favourite thing about being Zimbabwean?
The ability to hope and still hold the belief that better days are coming. We are a resilient people!
How would you like to be remembered?
The girl that beat the odds and did the impossible!
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
I don’t think I qualify to give advice yet, but this is what I tell myself everyday “Run with your vision and never look back! Be the best at what you do, whether it’s one client or a thousand and when criticism comes keep your belief but be smart enough to listen and most importantly you have to start, with what you have and where you are!”
What are your social media handles/website links?
Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/constance.mutekeri