Actually, it’s just 1 way.
Remember ’30 days in Atlanta’? Where the main character ‘Akpos’ from Nigeria was very surprised at the ability to rent a car (in Atlanta), bothering about issues of theft and all. But he was reminded, it was America. Well, this is Nigeria, and there’s a model that supports the same thing.
Chatting with Celestine Ezeokoye, founder and CEO of WeMove Technologies provided great insights about the company, and the country’s transportation industry as an entity.
WeMove is a company that allows you to rent a car via their platform, and also rent yours out by registering as a ‘partner’s.
Truth be told, when I first heard that you can rent a car with WeMove anywhere in Nigeria, I thought about the few fraudulent lots we have amongst us. My first question to Celestine was how they prevent cases like that of car stealing. It turned out things weren’t the way I thought them to be. He replied.
“Valid question. But to correct the impression, wemove.co services covers more vehicle types including Buses, trucks, cars and SUVs. We work with vehicle owners , ‘Partners’, who register on wemove.co to get customer bookings and are also at liberty to give their pricing.”
“Partners are encouraged to have due vehicle insurance cover and proper security registrations and checkups. We also go the extra mile to suggest security installations occasionally. But all partners are responsible for liabilities concerning their vehicles.”
WeMove: In the beginning, and thereafter.
Several founders have revealed that they were in the shoes of needing something, which proved difficult, and led them to build a product to address the difficulty. How WeMove came about was not exactly that way.
“The WeMove idea came to light when a friend requested a bus to move his family to his wedding in Osun State back in 2016. Which i successfully provided. At the time i was running Tiketmobile, which started as a transportation ticketing platform and evolved into an Airport taxi hire service. This opened my eyes to the severe challenges in the industry.”
“Even in this century, the norm involves going out into very harsh weather conditions to the uncertainty of a clear location of where to get a suitable vehicle. After which you get slapped in the face with unreasonable pricing, and a very rude ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. Other unsavory reality includes frantically chasing these buses down and the stress and inconvenience that is termed ‘everyday life’.”
“Also for vehicle owners who have to drive around wasting resources like fuel and time while endangering their health and increasing wear and tear of their vehicle in search of passengers. I saw the need and decided to take responsibility for designing a lasting solution. Using a sustainable tool, technology.”
And yes, he did use the technology tool well. But we were curious to know people’s reception to the solution. We asked how well the company has grown since launch, trying to find out if they have made significant progress. It seems they have. According to Celestine,
“We put out a tweet in the second quarter of our test year, 2017 when we highlighted that we had gotten a request totaling up to N15m. WeMove Technologies Ltd. was registered in October 2017. From which we have done ~100% month-on-month increase in revenue.”
Moving further, one very important feature of WeMove is that they do NOT have a fixed price on the rental of any kind of vehicle. The founder did justice to explaining the rationale behind this, and I must say it was a valid one.
“In africa it is ingrained in our culture to build relationships through interaction. And WeMove Technologies is harnessing this to foster a more native business relationship with our partners. The open pricing system gives the vehicle owner the liberty to factor in prevalent conditions surrounding the trip including road condition, accessible routes, toll fees, among others. Which are unique challenges to this parts of the world. So they are not hurt by an enforced fixed pricing system.”
“Also the biding system makes it favorable for the user who book on wemove.co to get past over ambitious partners and enjoy great pricing. Simple rule is if your price isn’t the best price, you probably won’t get the job.”
WeMove and competition?
Even if the concepts of car renting (which Wemove offers) and cab hailing (uber, Taxify and the likes) are a bit different, we asked if Celestine saw them as competitors. Like that isn’t their thing.
“We are more inclined towards problem solving than competing. Our goal is to make transportation convenient using technology and we appreciate anyone who is doing their bit as a means to this end.”
“There are bigger issues to be tackled. A better transport system means fewer people need to buy private cars. which also means less emissions, less traffic congestion, more efficient business operations. That is how we see our role.”
Here’s Nigeria’s transportation sector
In your own view, what is the greatest challenge of the transportation sector in Nigeria?
Adoption really. The market need to gradually ease into using technology. And we are working on it by coming from the more manual approach of things and teaching customers to change their habits. Like going online to book for a vehicle you need for instance. Also having the vehicle come to pick you from your convenience on schedule. After this is probably infrastructure.
WeMove is a company registered for “building innovative technology solutions for the transportation sector”. Are there plans to address another challenge in this sector later on?
It is interesting that you asked. As this in itself is quite encompassing.
Even in this age of Autonomous electronic cars, we believe that more can be done to adapt transportation to human habits using technology. So that as computers and mobile phones are growing more ‘human’, Vehicles, and the transportation system at large also grows in that respect. I believe that the need of the market will be a major contributing factor in determining our direction. We are building to provide solution.
And we had to go personal about WeMove.
How has WeMove been funded till date? Bootstrapped, or you’ve had investments?
At the time of this interview WeMove Technologies Ltd. is running as a bootstrapped venture. But it is important to say that we are currently on the verge of welcoming Angel investors to the WeMove family from two firms who strongly believe in our vision of the future.
In a few years to come, say 5, how big do you see Wemove?
In 5years we would have changed the perception of the continent regarding transportation from the manual processes to be more of tech inclined. And WeMove Technologies Ltd will be championing this cause across the continent.
Next time you want to rent a car, bus, suv, trailer, ‘tortoise’, or anyone vehicle on four (or more) wheels, you know where to go. Wemove.co