South African online retailer Raru closes its doors

Eight years ago, Raru was founded by the former founders of Takealot – it appears to have failed and is no longer taking orders. If you visit Raru’s website you will be greeted with the message: “Due to unfortunate circumstances, we have no choice but to stop taking orders. More information will be provided in due course.”

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Before Raru was launched, Neil Smith, Waine Smith and Jose Pereira had launched Take2, which was later sold to former Naspers executive Kim Reid and US investment firm Tiger Global Management in 2010. Only a year later Take 2 was rebranded to Takealot and has gone on to become the most successful online retailer in South Africa.

It was reported at the time of the acquisition that the Take2 founders — Neil Smith, Waine Smith and Jose Pereira – agreed to a three-year restraint of trade. They then founded Raru in 2014, when their restraints expired, to focus on the sale of electronics, games, music and movies – products they’d specialised in at Take2.

On October 24th, Raru went down for about eight hours. It was speculated that it was due to the business not having paid its hosting bills. After the outage, Raru director and co-founder Waine Smith only said that they had logged the problem with their host and were waiting for feedback. According to reports on the complaints website Hello Peter, unhappy customers took to filing takedown requests with the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa.

It is always unfortunate when one of the only competitors to a near monopoly fails. Takealot has grown immensely over the last several years, spurred on by lockdowns and giving people the convenience they needed at the time. Amazon is said to be launching in South Africa in early 2023, which will shake up the market, but the more competition there is in a market the better it is for the consumer.