Haitian entrepreneur Rudy Rocourt is the founder and CEO of Jetli Transfer, an e-commerce business that enables the Haitian Diaspora to send goods and services to their loved
ones in Haiti.
Raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Rudy grew up knowing the true value of the Diaspora sending money. Every year, Haitians abroad contribute 20% of Haiti’s GDP so that people can purchase food, school supplies, and other necessities to transform their lives. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, Rudy returned to Haiti to head Citibank Haiti’s Treasury department, and quickly realized the incredible impact of Diaspora remittances on the economy.
At this moment, Rudy decided he wanted to leverage technology to offer better services for this $2 billion in underserved markets at home and abroad. The inspiration for Jetli Transfer was born.
Jetli offers affordable products and packages ranging from food, beverages, electronics, and
appliances. Jetli’s uses its platform to connect the Diaspora to local businesses, farmers, and
importers in Haiti. The goods and money sent go directly to the local community, not only
producing sustainable economic growth for the country but also allowing senders to save money
and control their purchasing power. By connecting the Diaspora all over the world to their local
communities, small businesses and farmers are better able to sell their products on a global
This business model enables the global community of Haitians to reduce food insecurity,
provide better education access and increase disposable income for their loved ones in Haiti.
One of the major concerns of Haitian consumers is the lack of trust and transparency when
purchasing goods online. Jetli solves that problem by providing secure and safe payment
Jetli has also established a logistic center in Haiti that will allow all their deliveries to made in
less than 48 hours. By developing a logistic center Rudy has created jobs and also began to
establish an entire network of delivery that can be used throughout the Caribbean diaspora.
By merging his passion for financial inclusion and fintech, Rudy seeks to grow Jetli to be the
primer marketplace for the Haitian and Caribbean diaspora that will not only provide quality
products but uplift and empower future generations.
We recently chatted with Rudy about Jetli and the goal to become what he says will be the “Future Amazon of the Caribbean.”
What was your key driving force/motivation to get this project off the ground?
The Diaspora community sends close to $3 Billion annually to their loved ones, they pay the highest fees to send money, however, they are the most underserved Haitian demographic in our community. We wanted to build a platform that allows the diaspora to gain greater control of their purchasing power, connect them with local businesses, farmers and entrepreneurs. We want to provide excellent customer and building trust within the community.
How did you raise funding for your venture?
To this date, we haven’t raised any funding for our venture. We are currently bootstrapping and reinvesting all of our profits to the startup. It’s important for us to grow organically and provide excellent customer service to our customers. When will feel we have reached certain milestones we will seek outside investors.
How do you plan on building a successful customer base?
The foundation of Jetli is based on three pillars: Low price, Excellent customer service, and Trust. We believe if the roots of our foundation are strong, our customers will remain loyal to us and identify Jetli as the premier platform for any on-demand products back home in Haiti.
How can customer assure their family will receive the items in a timely fashion?
In Port-au-Prince, we deliver with 48 hours or less. We are currently building a strong logistics and supply chain management team in Haiti along with an excellent customer service team in case if anything happens to go wrong. We pride ourselves in after sale customer service. That’s one of the best value we bring to our customers.
How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
We are currently leveraging grassroots marketing to get closer to our customers and identify the products that they would like to see on our platform. Our next step is to start building a digital presence on social media. Digital marketing is going to be key for us to scale.
What kind of culture exists in your organization, and how did you establish it?
We are a young startup with a big dream. We are fearless, courageous and have a can-do attitude. When I’m hiring my employees, I’m looking for those who are curious, passionate, and not scared of failing. We need to fail to succeed. It’s the recipe for our success. The more mistakes we can make early on, the more we validate our learning and allows us to pivot faster.
What would you say have been your biggest challenge?
Building a startup in 2 countries is not easy. The political instability has been the toughest challenge for us. When there is an ongoing protest, shortage of gas, etc can be very challenging for us.
What would you say have been your biggest strength?
Why will people buy your product (and not something else)?
People will buy on Jetli because they know they are getting the quality products for an affordable price, fast delivery, along with excellent customer service and trust. In five years, we want to be the leading marketplace platform serving Haitian Diasporas worldwide.
What advice would you give to diasporas wanting to do business in Haiti?
Learn to be patient. You want to think big but act small. Take your time in learning how the country operates, you have to know when to press on the gas to accelerate growth but also press on the brakes to analyze and pivot your business as necessary. You can leverage the skillsets you have learned in the US, but it’s important to harness new skillsets for Haiti. Don’t try to impose your will, but learn from the country and its people.