Flexibility and responsiveness, onboarding processes and the reliability of the solutions make Reno Power’s experience with Upya an integral part of the startup’s growth.
Upya allows you to get onto a digital journey way before reaching high volumes in sales.”
COO at Reno Power
Reno Power is a solar home systems (SHS) distributor working in Zimbabwe to help free the country from energy poverty. It is trying to achieve this goal by providing its customers with “Pay As You Go” (PAYG) SHS for grid-like solar power in rural areas of the country. Currently present in three regions of Zimbabwe, the startup signs 50+ new clients per month and sees opportunities in the market to scale while digitizing its business.
Though Reno Power is a newly-formed company founded in February 2022, the need for a comprehensive digital solution was one of the first matters to solve. For the company’s leadership, it was of paramount importance to minimize the uncertainty when choosing its SaaS partner. They took their time to carefully explore the market and engage with different players.
“We knew that a Plan A and a Solution B that worked well for a big competitor, would not necessarily be a match for us”, says Nyasha Hwata, COO at Reno Power, as he looks back to the time when the growing startup was making its first important long-term managerial decisions.
While investigating the market, Reno Power found out that many digital solutions providers focus on big players when a scaling company and a well-established business leading the market have different business models and needs.
Field: Solar Home Systems
Clients: Households in rural areas
Joined Upya: November’22
Reno Power aimed at managing its inventory, field operations, and agent network in a time and cost-efficient manner. In November 2022 the company selected Upya to solve these needs. The functionalities and adaptability were among the major decisive factors for Reno Power. From a digital point of view, customization of each business need is crucial and, Reno Power wanted to ensure that a new partnership with a software provider would bring the right set of tailored functionalities.
The customizable structure that Nyasha Hwata mentions also has a financial advantage for customers. Thus, clients don’t overpay for functionalities they don’t require. At the same time, Upya helps companies to navigate through solutions and adds other features when the need arises.
The Upya Grow proposition has the ability to provide a further financial benefit via its tiered discounting system for usage fees. It gives the chance for startups like Reno Power to get onto a digital journey way before the company reaches high volumes. This system is a good incentive: Upya is happy to grow together with its customers and the industry.
At Reno Power, the business focus is all on process reengineering and improvement, considering employees’ past managerial experience and the industry’s ups and downs. Joining Upya helps put this plan into motion.
Thanks to a well-organized onboarding process, Reno Power had a sprint start with Upya. The team found it helpful and well-structured with three training sessions.
In the first stage, managers are provided with the basics of the main functionalities. The initial explanations are simplified in a way to avoid confusion and fear of something new. The customer success team ensures that after the first training, the customer’s champions are able to try things themselves. It is the best way to practice and check their understanding of what was demonstrated.
On the second call, the Upya team ensures it gets detailed feedback and answers all the questions. Customers are given enough time to absorb all the main information and more details are provided. The customer success team checks what particularly important topics need to be emphasized.
The third call checks that customers are ready to go and use the solution in practice. After three training sessions and with supporting step-by-step reading materials, manuals and video tutorials at hand, Reno Power was ready to start.
Nyasha Hwata also highlights the excellence of the customer success team: “Our interactions have been amazing. One thing, that says it all, is the quick response time. I believe it is one of the main aspects that make the difference. Because when a customer comes to the support team it is always about an urgent need and an impatient client on the company’s side”.
Upya customer support turnaround time is exceptional. Queries are solved in 10 minutes, allowing us to provide our customers with the best service.”
Since onboarding with Upya, Reno Power’s managerial processes are much more efficient, says Nyasha Hwata. “The very first operational months brought difficulties in doing follow-ups, tracking repayment schedules”, admits the company’s COO looking back at his experience at Reno Power before becoming an Upya customer. The processes that used to be managed manually required more time and led to human errors. It was also way more complicated to manage agents, money collection and portfolio risk.
Evaluating portfolio risk
Upya is good at transforming needs into customised solutions. The whole system is designed to make it possible to get the right set of features according to the business.”
Now Reno Power only needs to ensure that the data (for example, the information about downpayments) is entered correctly into the Upya platform. On top of this, Upya’s features in the questionnaires module help to ensure accurate data collection. Afterwards, choosing the necessary filters to obtain the data from the platform is only a matter. Thanks to analytical tools, management can more easily track the performance and cash flows and understand better what to expect by the end of the month. If the data about clients is needed for any marketing campaign, it is always at hand in the customer database, on the platform.
“You get to know more while using the solution. We took the first month for this and now we are getting to the point of training and passing this experience to our agents and hiring new ones”, explains Nyasha Hwata.
In the works: to hire around 40 new agents, train them to use the mobile app and send them to the field. For Reno Power, it won’t be a difficult task as managers find the Upya environment user-friendly and intuitive. Upya provides its customers with all technical information and support and teaches them how to use its solutions. This knowledge is supported by practical experience considering the challenges of the business environment.
So far, things are going well for Reno Power as the team keeps on track with its plans and goals. They have recorded continuous growth over the past months and the company is planning to expand its product portfolio, leveraging Upya’s functionality to sell any products under different terms. Currently, Reno Power sells SHS under PAYG terms in rural areas. Taking customers’ feedback onboard, the plan is to also sell non-lockable products under other terms in urban areas where there is a demand for entertainment items (TV sets, smartphones) and different utilities (fridges, for example).
Reno Power is also aiming at increasing its geographical presence. With the current growth rate and Upya’s technical support, it will be possible to reach a coverage of up to 20% of the country by recruiting agents in 7 new areas by the end of 2023.
Nyasha Hwata is confident about the bright future for Reno Power and concludes that with Upya, the company has found an ideal way to structure a long-term partnership.