Moving around can get quite difficult at times, especially when you live in a busy city in Lagos and have something really big or heavy to move. From getting the truck and negotiating the deal, not everyone find it an easy task and TruQ was set up for this purpose.
In less than a year of launching, the logistics tech company is gradually showing itself to be the Uber for moving loads around. One can easily access the platform and locate an available truck to come move loads, just like you do with Uber and Taxify.
So, “even if you can go to the vehicle park to get a sizeable truck to move your things, and negotiate the price, why would you want to do that when you can easily use the TruQ platform, get it done and at a better price without breaking a sweat?” co-founder and CEO TruQ, Williams Fatayo asks during the Nairametrics Business Half Hour show.
How it started
The start of TruQ (pronounced truck) can be traced back to July 2019 when Foluso Ojo and Williams Fatayo (now co-founders) decided to move a wardrobe from Lekki down to Berger on the mainland. Fatayo remembers that they spent four days before getting a vehicle and moving it down.
“After that experience, we felt it could not have been peculiar to us alone, so we did a targeted survey and discovered that so many other businesses had experienced same. About 373 said they had experienced it at least twice a month, while other 127 experienced it once a month or thereabout. That marked the beginning of the TruQ journey,” Fatayo said.
Almost immediately, they started working on the idea of connecting people who needed a vehicle to move anything. Leveraging on social media platforms, they were able to complete about 180 moves ever before getting an active website hosted. All of these moves started in the second half of 2019, but TruQ did not launch until February 2020 when the co-founders came on board full-time, after meeting with the third co-founder, a Zimbabwean, during a trip to the world youth forum start-up labs in Egypt.
Without owning any truck, TruQ has in less than a year been able to get the on-demand logistics platform off the ground, allowing vehicle and truck owners to sign up and interact with people who need their services. The logistics tech company now has about 9 truck companies it partners with, and about 78 individual truck owners. It is now a smarter, faster, easier way to do what you have done over the years.
With the increased number of trips the drivers get, their vehicles hardly sit idle in the garage, so they can afford to reduce their rates to accommodate the volume. TruQ operates a shared profit commission-based model where it earns a commission off every trip.
Jumping the loops
The market TruQ serves is all-encompassing with a driver base of varying level of literacy – from the graduate driver to the almost illiterate driver – and providing a tech solution for such a market can require a lot of input than others. The ever-busy nature of Lagos roads also poses its own challenge to the team.
Since the model operated does not require the company to own any truck, it was easy for the founders to bootstrap at the beginning to get it started while still keeping a job. In February 2020, they went all in and have sustained the momentum after pushing through the COVID-19 pandemic challenge.
After nine months of operation, TruQ won an accelerator programme that gives them access to $100,000 in cash and kind, and this fund will now drive the scaling plans over the next couple of months, even as they work towards a fundraising drive to further expand.
How secure are the goods with TruQ
To guarantee the security of all goods moved with TruQ, the company has an onboarding process with comprehensive KYC on the drivers. The vehicles are verified, the guarantors and the drivers as well.
“For the people, we are making sure you have no issues with them and for the process, we are making sure you are covered and your goods are secured,” Fatayo said.
There is also a smart integration with google maps that helps users and drivers to see in real-time the driver’s location as he moves the goods from pickup to dropoff.
There is an insurance arrangement in place for B2Bs to secure all their goods, and there are plans to integrate another insurance arrangement for B2Cs, which will insure everything from pickup to dropoff. This is all part of keeping the customer happy and satisfied.
As a company that is user obsessed and determined to solve as many logistics-related problems for its clients, TruQ has a couple of other bespoke products in the pipeline, including a “house-move product that fits all of your house move needs into a single package from packing, moving and unboxing, disbanding large properties and helping to assemble them at the new location.”
“We are trying to infuse ourselves around as many pain points around logistics. We want to make sure we are solving users’ problems as much as we can in ways no one else is doing and leave the users to choose what works best for them. The goal for us is to address the users problem and leverage on our technology and core advantages to steal as much market share as possible,” Fatayo added.
Lagos is the market entrance for the company, as there are future plans to scale to other locations within and outside Nigeria.
Gbagada FC – How a community football club is providing entertainment for Lagosians
“It is all about passion, and at Gbagada FC, we dare to dream,” says Akinyelu.
From being an evening pastime for people to relax after work, Gbagada FC has grown in the last 7 years to become a standard community football club, now known as the Blue Eagles. The club now plays in the third tier league in Nigerian football and is focused on winning the hearts of and entertaining residents in the Shomolu local government area of Lagos state.
Founder and club chairman of Gbagada FC, Olajide Akinyelu, says that inspiration for the club came after he bagged his certification as a coach, and decided to turn what had been an evening past-time into a proper grassroots club. This informed the name – Gbagada FC.
Akinyelu who despite his love for the game, missed out on being a professional footballer himself, has hopes that Gbagada FC has talents who would take football on as a career and go international.
“There is no football club based in Somolu in the top tier. We currently play at the third tier and we hope to play at the first tier in due time,” Akinyelu said in the Nairametrics Business Half Hour Show.
At the third tier level, Gbagada FC has to play with other grassroots clubs run by individuals, religious bodies and other groups.
Like every other sport, soccer needs funding to thrive. Support from corporate bodies and organizations have played a critical part in Gbagada FC’s growth but the club has also had to explore several sources of funding to push through the years.
“The higher you go, the easier it becomes to generate funds in the football league. At the third tier league, our model is built around our home games and that is what we present to these corporate bodies that support us. We have people coming to watch our games.
Of course, like you see from the big clubs in Europe, there is money to be made from transfers and all that, but such money is reinvested into getting the same quality of player back into the squad. We understand that within here, even without selling a player, we can actually sustain the club. We raise funds from match day tickets, sponsorship from the corporate world, like shirt sponsors, slip sponsors and other packages that we have. That is how we do it currently and how we intend to go,” Akinyelu explained.
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic did take its toll on availability of funds from corporate bodies but the club was able to fall back on its alternative plans, and push through the football season. The target is to recruit talents at the local level, keep them busy with the training and build them into players that can play at the international level.
“In terms of recruitment, we have about five or six prospects we believe strongly can make it pro, young players doing really fine. We believe we are on the right track in terms of getting the players, working on them and getting them ready for the real deal” Akinyelu said.
Footballs is a sport that has the ability to bring young boys in the community together for relaxation, but in order to be taken seriously, Gbagada FC is a step ahead. The club has a media team that consists of young men and women who handle social media, photography, graphics, and website maintenance. There is also a commentator that keeps the games alive with a well-spiced up commentary.
One would expect that a community football club has to deal with competition from other football clubs but it is not so for Gbagada FC. According to Akinyelu, competition comes in form of other pastimes competing for the same audience, and other forms of entertainment competing for funding from the same corporate bodies.
When music and comedy concerts are to be held, it is the same Corporate bodies and organizations that receive applications for support, and every organization can only have so much to invest into the entertainment industry. In this way, the football clubs have to compete with other entertainment outfits for the same limited funding.
There are also sports betting platforms to compete with, as this also appeals to the same football audience. “You find that someone can use N1000 on sports betting daily but will find it difficult to pay N500 to watch one of our games. So, the direct competitor for us is the betting companies because the kind of audience they have are the ones coming to our games, and they are the ones getting the money from our audience,” Akinyelu explained.
The goal is to get to the higher tier where the audience will now pay more to see the club’s matches during the weekend matches and friendly games.
“In the next 10 years, we should really be at our A-game, playing at the NFL and maybe at the CAF competitions. We also hope to own a 30,000 capacity stadium within Gbagada because that will really help us achieve all that we want to. It is all about passion, and at Gbagada FC, we dare to dream,” Akinyelu said.
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