Oluwaseun Olubuyide, a young Nigerian from Ekiti and the CEO, TOUR Drive NG spoke exclusively with Techuncode about the ride-hailing business in Nigeria, the challenges and what the future holds for TOUR.
What gave birth to TOUR Drive?
TOUR Drive NG was birthed because of a passion for solving humankind problems in the logistics industry and creating a platform for people to earn more income.
TOUR exists to ensure people move from one place to another in comfort, safety, and at an affordable price. We also want to create job opportunities by breaking the car manufacturing year barrier for potential driver-partners between jobs and clean and comfortable vehicles.
We also want to reach the population who currently do not have internet-enabled mobiles to come onboard and enjoy the comfort of riding on an on-demand taxi.
Why did you choose Ibadan ahead of Lagos state to launch?
It is expedient to have yourself tested on a small scale before showing up for big shows. Lagos is a large economy full of many unstable policies that can suddenly kill a growing business; It is our test and experience gathering phase. Hence, we needed an environment stable with policy and would allow us to go through the start-up phase without harsh policies.
Any immediate plans for expansion into other states?
TOUR has plans to expand beyond the shores of Africa, and currently, we are sampling cities like Lagos, Uyo, Akure, Accra, Nairobi, and Kigali. We are also running market surveys in a few untapped towns in Africa.
What’s the business environment like in Ibadan?
Ibadan environment is not harsh for a start-up business like us; government policy seems to be stable. It encourages companies to stabilise and grow to their full potential without cutting it off while increasing. However, the residents are not early adopters of new brands or change; there is a slow reaction to change. We believe that TOUR will gain more than a 50% market share by the end of 2022.
What are the challenges you are currently facing?
Challenges are part of business, and we face a few of them at this phase of the company. Part of the challenges we are struggling with at the moment are;
– the conversion rate of the registered riders: we have over five thousand registered riders on our dashboard, but not all of them are currently active: not all of them are requesting rides.
– A percentage of the registered drivers are not active; the adoption rate is slow, and it is not enabling us to build service trust from the riders who cannot get their request serviced.
– We are currently limited in funds to put the brand in the faces of everyone in Ibadan. However, many people know the brand already due to the continuous efforts we put into our social media, radio, and terrestrial campaigns.
How would you rate the ride-hailing business in Nigeria?
Africa is a gold mine for the ride-hailing business; as the current market statistics reveal, the growth rate runs at about 20%, and it will hit nearly $1 Billion by 2024. With a growing youthful population and increase in smartphone users and mobile cellular subscriptions, which will strike one hundred and forty-three million by 2025, it makes Nigeria suitable for such business.
Additionally, we currently seek to raise between $5 – $10 Million to acquire human talents, quality media exposure, rider acquisition and retention, and boost our customer-centric services.
How many drivers do you currently have on your platform?
We currently over a thousand registered drivers and about seven hundred who have not completed their registration.
Bolt/Uber riders went on strike on Monday demanding an increase in fare prices; what’s your take on this?
Fare calculation is brand-specific; TOUR has its customised fare estimation for each trip and location, which is fair enough for the Driver-partners and the riders. However, TOUR charges a 10% commission on each trip; again, we think this is fair enough for our Driver-partners.
Do you see the recent development as a plus for you and if so, how do you plan on maximising this?
No organisation wants its business shut down for any reason, and we hope the strike exercise would end soon. The situation helps create awareness for likely riders to know about us. We continue to improve our campaign channels to reach potential riders and build trust with our existing riders.
What comparative advantage does Tour Drive bring considering that it is a Nigerian brand?
Being an indigenous entity has helped us localise the brand. TOUR brings localisation in every facet of its design thinking during the product development, which improves the product. For example, due to limited mobile users penetration by other competitors, TOUR brings a feature that allows manual dispatch; every mobile user can request a ride on TOUR Drive NG. You can also request a ride without internet or data on your mobile. Other features allow you to favourite as many drivers as you prefer because of your experience riding with them. An SOS button on the app alerts three contacts in real-time in case of any emergency during a trip. TOUR charges a 10% commission on each trip, and we are working on the partnership with a few third-party entities to provide health insurance, fuel advance, and spare parts provision for the driver-partners.
TOUR Rider App would be a one-stop app for logistics. You can request a vehicle ride in two categories; TOUR Red and TOUR Black, request for a motorbike ride, and delivery.
Are Nigerians receptive to local brands using Tour Drive as an example?
Local brands have been facing such a situation for many years now, and we are in the same category. However, the impression and perception people have about TOUR are different; many people believe that TOUR is an international brand. We cannot shy away from the reality that we are an indigenous brand because TOUR is birthed here in Nigeria. The reception rate would be improved when we can put the brand in the faces of every citizen through adequate funding
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