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.
How PR can transform the future and profitability of a business – CEO, Mosron Communications
Tolulope Olorundero, a PR expert and Strategic & Communication Consultant highlights how businesses can profit from public relations.
Public Relations is one of the most effective ways to build on marketing strategies and create a solid online reputation. Companies that have caught onto this are investing a tremendous amount of time and effort into staying on top of their PR strategies, and they are seeing even larger returns with better ROI.
Public relations is about sending the right messages to the right place and the right people, creating a stronger brand reputation. PR agencies work alongside their clients to help them achieve this and promote them within their client’s industries. PR is an area that can transform the future and profitability of a business. Used properly, PR can give a company the ability to overcome almost any obstacle it may face. This is some of what makes PR so essential.
Seating on the hot seat of Nairametrics’ Business Half Hour, Tolulope Olorundero, a PR expert and Strategic & Communication Consultant highlights how businesses can profit from public relations. Olorundero has exceptional skills in Crisis Management and Digital Communication. She is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Mosron Communications and the Chairperson of the Association of Nigerian Women in Public Relations.
“I have always loved to read books, so I started as an editor while I was in secondary school. My father was a journalist and he usually comes home with newspapers, so the first thing I would do is to pick up the newspaper and check out some errors. It was just not working well for me that all I can see were errors. So that was what conditioned me to know what to look out for when something is not written well in a book. Bottomline is that it inspired my interest to become an editor. So, when I got to the university, I was editing materials for my course mates, I was also head of publicity for my local church in school and apparently, I decided to do things around public relations. So Mosron communications started as an editorial company,” she said.
Mosron Communications is a public relations consulting firm that provides public relations & communication services to businesses, organizations, and service brands across sub-Saharan Africa. According to Olorundero, Mosron communications started full-time in January 2019, though she had it as a side hustle as an editorial company since 2016. She later steered the company to a public relations company in 2019, as both are interwoven as there is no way one can say he or she is a public relations person, and not be able to write or edit content.
Speaking about funding as it relates to her business, she said when she started, there was no funding, and it was completely a bootstrap. Though her business started as a side hustle, during this period she had a full-time job, and she was able to save up part of her salary. Also, when she started her PR firm full-time, she had to convert a room in her house to an office to enable her to save the cost of renting an office space.
Speaking further on public relations, she said what motivated her to follow the path of PR was that people are digitally connected in today’s world, and PR helps companies to create a strong online presence that is highly visible to their target audience. Therefore, PR agencies provide businesses with support and guidance to help them market themselves online while being constantly ready to step in when a disaster occurs, or something threatens to damage the image of the company.
During the session, Olorundero mentioned that some people have this misconception that public relation is media relations. She made it clear that there is a need to let the business public and even the public know that there is more to public relations than media relations. Speaking further, she stated that there are four cultural things in terms of value propositions from a communications PR perspective. And they are.
- Corporate communications.
- Stakeholder management.
- Corporate event management.
- Reputation management
She explained that the role of Corporate Communication from a PR perspective has to do with building relationships with customers and responding to inquiries from the public. She emphasised that the duties in this area include producing newsletters, brochures, and other printed materials designed for the public. Corporate communicators manage a company’s website and social media presence, which includes monitoring what customers and clients are saying about the company on social networking websites and responding to inaccurate posts or requests for information.
Also, she said communication professionals are responsible for responding directly to calls and emails from customers with questions about a company’s plans or activities.
For Stakeholder Management, she said effective management of relationships with stakeholders is crucial to resolving issues facing organizations. She stated that stakeholders hold the key to the business and social environment in which organization operates and therefore its subsequent financial and operating performance. Thus, the effective management of stakeholder relations should be an essential focus of PR and organizational activity.
Speaking further on the third value proposition from a communications PR perspective which is Corporate Event Management, she asserted that while a company will most likely have an events manager, the function usually comes under public relations as conferences, exhibitions, and events are designed to generate publicity as well as generate sales leads.
The company may sponsor sports, arts, media, education, science and social projects and institutions, and TV programmes. Events are often linked to sponsorship. A company can sponsor an event or organise its own events, for example, for its sales team, its clients and prospects, its personnel, its distribution network, etc.
Lastly, for Reputation Management, she indicated that it is their incorporating efforts and campaigns to bury negative reviews, information, or search results and promote content that positively accentuates the desired image.
In addition, she advised business owners, corporate organizations & entrepreneurs on the importance of public relations, saying it aids businesses when it comes to online visibility and brand management. She said in this part of the world everybody thinks they can handle their PR themselves and some might end up diminishing their brand at the course of doing so.
However, it is crucial for you to hire an experienced hand to manage the Public Relations of your company as PR is an area that can transform the future and profitability of your business.
Using Digital Banking to finance businesses | Sola Akindolu, CEO Trybrass | BHH
We want to tell Africa’s story the animated way – Nissi Ogulu, Founder, Creele Animation Studios
Nissi Ogulu hopes to use Creele Animation Studios to project authentic African history and stories, while appealing to the global audience.
Throughout the formative years, African children are exposed to western media content which for the most part promotes the western culture and way of life, at the expense of Africa’s history. After going through the childhood years of watching western movies that talks about things like Greek history and mythology, Nissi Ogulu decided to make a business from telling Africa’s story the animated way with Creele Animation Studios.
Speaking during the Nairametrics Business Half Hour, Founder and managing director of animations at Creele studios, Nissi Ogulu explained that Creele Animations came in a perfect way to combine all of her interests into a single business. “From a personal angle, I have always been very in tune with arts from being a child loving animated content and drawing comics and also being immersed with playing instruments and singing. I have my educational background in mechanical engineering, and I have always had the plans to merge the things that I know how to do in creating a business,” she said.
The dearth of wholly African animated content also meant that there was a huge market waiting for their content, thus making it a worthwhile business venture. Many African children born in the diaspora also hunger for some sort of story and content to give them insight into their history.
With this inspiration, Nissi Ogulu started Creele Animation Studios in 2017, to create content from motion pictures and sounds of the best quality, to represent authentic African history and stories, while appealing to the global audience.
Right after, Creele embarked on its first collaborative project, The Satchel, which is now set for release. The Satchel is a 3D animated movie adapted from the Yoruba historical myths of the earth’s creation, particularly the fierce battle between the children of Olodumare (the supreme ruler), Obatala and Oduduwa as they struggle for the all-powerful Satchel to create a new kingdom.
Early reviews of the work show that it presents a wholesome representation of the African deities and myths, as against the vague picture which the millennial generation has had through the years.
The business of animation creation, like most other start-ups, requires funds. For Creele Animation studios, the initial funding came from the Founder’s savings, and later from providing direct animations and games services to clients. The collaborative project was funded by all partners on the project, with some angel investors coming in along the way.
Ogulu explains that there are other intending investors and partners for future projects, however, Creele Animation studios will be careful of potential partnerships it enters into for distribution and production.
“While we are open to partnerships that will take us outside of Africa, we are wary of falling into partnerships that will take us away from producing core African content which is reminiscent of our culture. There is an appeal for more black/African based stories given the lack of it so far, and we see people leaning towards more African based stories like Black Panther and the Lion King, and this is the vacuum we want to focus on,” she said.
Creele Animations is also exploring several revenue streams within the industry in streaming, merchandising, sales, IPs and other direct services while focusing on the expansion of the brand in the coming years.
Although animation content was initially targeted at children, one finds that in recent times, there is a global appeal across all age groups and social strata. Starting from childhood, people start assimilating these contents and as they grow older it influences the way they view lives and they view themselves.
Creele animations will use its productions to balance out the ubiquity of western content, helping Africans to know about their mythology and history, and reforming the minds of children and adults through this medium.
“Animation is the form of media that cannot be limited. It can go as far as the imagination can go so we are not limited to any time frame. We can tell stories from the past and the future, and create all kinds of experiences. I believe it will be very important in the education system; in teaching us more about our history and in opening the world of arts and technology in our schools as we go along and the industry begins to develop more,” Ogulu said.
Created by Taeps Animation Studios and Creele Animation Studios, “The Satchel” was directed by Nissi Ogulu and written by Jimi Oremule while Adeoyin Okuboyejo and Ayobami Bello joined the crew of producers. As The Satchel takes the first position in what is expected to become a long list of core African productions, the continent can now look forward to an animated retelling of the African story by Africans.