File image: IOL.

JOHANNESBURG - The developer of an on-demand delivery app that brings groceries to the doors of its customers within an hour has won first price in the best breakthrough category in mobile company MTN's recent business app of the year awards.

Vutlharhi Valoyi is the founder and CEO of Zulzi, which is making waves in Johannesburg's affluent northern suburbs in the north of Johannesburg, and already has over 9,000 active registered users., MTN said in a statement.

The company has delivered over 15,000 orders since its inception.

Valoyi said he had always followed the progress of start-up companies that won the MTN awards, and saw how this bolstered their profiles.

"It is still early days to fully assess the impact of the competition on Zulzi, but since we won in the Best Breakthrough Developer category, there has been a lot of interest from users and potential funders and investors,” he said.

The self-confessed computer geek, from Ntshuxi village outside Giyani in Limpopo province, studied for BSc in Applied Mathematics at the University of the Witwatersrand, after which he worked for a software company in Cape Town.

He then relocated to Johannesburg where he worked for a number of companies in the information and communications technology sector before branching out on his own.

"In 2014 Zulzi was formed as an e-commerce company selling textbooks and electronic equipment to university students online," he said.

"In the second year of operation, we identified a gap in the market to provide a speedier service and reduced the delivery time to just 60 minutes. The response to this was phenomenal! We immediately saw a 30% spike in demand for our services and a significant increase in market share."

Prospective customers has to download the app on the Android and iOS mobile phone platforms in order to use the service to get delivers from retailers such as Pick ‘n Pay, Woolworths, Dis-Chem and Riverside as well as restaurants and fast food outlets.

Valoyi said he planned to expand Zulzi to other metropolitan areas, including Durban, Pretoria and Cape Town.

The business app of the year awards are an affirmation of MTN's commitment to champion the sector, said Mandisa Ntloko, General Manager for Enterprise Marketing.

“This initiative has acted as an enabler for innovators and entrepreneurs to not only create solutions that assist society, but also to launch and grow sustainable businesses that provide cutting-edge solutions to customers, contribute to economic growth and create much-needed employment opportunities,” Ntloko said.

- Africa News Agency