ATOM Mobility drives Wheelz into new horizons

Wheelz

“Upon our initial interaction with ATOM Mobility, we were immediately drawn to their interface and impressed by the quality of their customer service. Throughout the process, they exhibited great flexibility in their approach and were able to assist us with any difficulties we encountered.” 

– Deroy De Bordes, founder of Wheelz

Launch date: October 2021
Country: Ghana
Web page: https://wheelzgh.com
App Store: https://apps.apple.com/lt/app/id1590136064
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=wheelzgh.app

Wheelz was founded by Deroy De Bordes – an entrepreneur with a diverse background in business, including experience in HR and property development. Originally from Ghana, West Africa, he realized the potential of expanding into emerging markets while residing in the UK. During a trip back to Ghana, he recognized a potential market opportunity for a car-sharing service company.

During that time, traditional taxi services and a laborious car rental process that required your physical presence were the main options for customers in the country. The founder saw the opportunity to fulfill an unmet demand through the creation of a car-sharing service – which led to the launch of Wheelz.

In preparation for the launch, they evaluated multiple software providers and eventually went with ATOM Mobility. According to Deroy, they chose ATOM Mobility because of its superior customer service and user-friendly interface. Its integration with Geotab's fleet management platform was also a significant factor.

Overcoming implementation hurdles

In the process of starting their business, Wheelz faced numerous challenges that required careful consideration and planning. 

The company's journey began in the early 2020s when they traveled to Ghana to investigate the local market, identify any potential risks, and gain a thorough understanding of the relevant local laws and regulations.

As a company that heavily relies on connectivity, Wheelz had to address the associated risks of providing convenient and accessible services to its customers.

One significant challenge Wheelz faced was the unique characteristics of road infrastructure in Ghana compared to Europe. This situation necessitated the establishment of safe roadside parking zones, especially as many houses in the target market have gated compounds. To prevent any potential disagreements with other customers and ensure safety, Wheelz had to remind people not to park within these compounds. 

Additionally, people may park on backstreets or narrow roads, potentially causing damage or injury to the vehicle. Therefore, Wheelz took extra caution in selecting parking zones and worked closely with their team to identify suitable locations within 10 to 15 minutes of each other. This effort aimed to ensure customers' easy access to their services.

Disrupting traditional services

Introducing a new product to the market posed a significant challenge for Wheelz, as it was unlike the traditional car hire services that customers were accustomed to.

“Our concept was new in a way that it depended solely on smartphones as the main way of accessing our service. The first thing we had to do was test the technology thoroughly to ensure its stability and security before it could be deployed in the field. Then, we needed to familiarize potential customers with the app's functionality.” – Deroy De Bordes

For marketing purposes, the company used a multi-phase approach. The first phase focused on creating brand awareness through billboards, radio, and television ads. The second phase involved marketing campaigns on various platforms, including YouTube, Google, Instagram, Facebook, and banner ads. This generated a significant amount of interest in the product.

Wheelz's pricing strategy was significantly more competitive than traditional taxi services. For instance, a one-hour journey in their most affordable vehicle costs 60 Ghanaian cedi, while a half-hour ride in a traditional taxi would cost around 50 to 60 Ghanaian cedi. This pricing strategy proved to be an attractive offer, as customers sought value for their money.

"Essentially, customers who choose Wheelz can get twice the travel time for their money," Deroy explains. 

By introducing this new product and pricing strategy, Wheelz established itself as a disruptor in the market. Now, as the company continues to grow and expand its services, they remain committed to providing excellent customer service and safe, reliable transportation to its clients.

“Though we faced early obstacles, we persevered. Today, our innovative approach to car hire services has earned us a favorable standing in the market.” – Deroy De Bordes

Moving forward: plans for ongoing improvements and expansion

The success of Wheelz thus far has not led to complacency, and the company has no intention of resting on its laurels. In May 2023, they have plans to participate in a trade show in Ghana – this will allow the company to promote its brand and explore the possibility of expanding into new markets across Africa. They are also considering a franchise model to facilitate their expansion efforts.

Wheelz also plans to expand to other cities in Ghana, including Kumasi, Tamale, Takoradi, and Cape Coast. Each of these cities will have a minimum of 10 cars assigned to them. But in the nearest future, the plan is to explore opportunities to increase the number of parking zones across the capital city, Accra.

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Case study
GreenGo chooses ATOM Mobility to power its electric car-sharing business
GreenGo chooses ATOM Mobility to power its electric car-sharing business

Electric car-sharing operator from Slovenia. Operates in 4 cities.

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“We spent two years developing a car-sharing app in-house. And even after all our efforts it still wasn't half as good as ATOM Mobility's platform.” – Peter Mraz, GreenGo's Manager, shares how he found the perfect partner in ATOM Mobility. 

Launch date: May 2021
Country: Slovenia, operates in 4 cities
Web page: https://greengo.city
App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/greengo-by-t2/id1618782932
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=greengo.app 

GreenGo is a green vehicle-sharing company based in Slovenia that currently focuses on electric cars. 

The company's story is unique in that it's a project that spun out from its parent company T-2, d.o.o., a local telecom provider with over 400 employees. T-2's owner was enthusiastic about green mobility and set out to bring his vision to life – and succeeded. Today, you can find GreenGo's Renault Zoes and Twingos, Cupra Borns, and VW ID.3s in four cities – Ljubljana, Kranj, Trzin, and Logatec. 

However, the man who's running the show is Peter Mraz, GreenGo's Manager. While he does enjoy access to the parent company's resources, Peter is single-handedly overseeing the entire project and responsible for its success. 

“I do have backup from designers, legal, accounting and so on. And there are maybe 3-4 people who help manage the cars and maintenance. Everything else – it's on me. Thanks to ATOM Mobility, I have been able to manage everything from project start to launch pretty much on my own,” says Peter.

GreenGo's early challenges

Orginally, the idea was to develop the GreenGo car-sharing app in-house – a decision Peter grew to regret.

“It took us two years to develop the app. Even then, it did the job, but it wasn't perfect and it didn't quite go the way we wanted it to. And even after all our efforts it still wasn't half as good as ATOM Mobility's platform,” he shares. 

Indeed, this ongoing struggle pushed GreenGo to explore alternative options on the market and, after some market research, they landed on ATOM Mobility. ATOM Mobility ticked their two most important checkboxes – it offered the core functionalities they required and offered fast time-to-market. 

Originally“Once we made the switch, we launched in 3 months, though we did already have the cars at the ready, which certainly helped,” Peter continues. 

Admittedly, ATOM Mobility didn't immediately fulfil all their needs. 

“We had a very specific vision and requirements. ATOM Mobility was great, but didn't have everything we wanted when we started out. But the platform is evolving quickly. Their team develops something new every 2-3 months and it's very good for us. Since they develop for other companies, too, we also benefit from the updates. Now, ATOM Mobility has everything we need and more,” Peter says.

Still, early on, GreenGo were facing an uphill battle with fierce competition. Slovenia already had one high-profile electric car-sharing company that had established itself in the market, had more experience, and was well-respected among its customers and the general public. 

What was GreenGo's strategy for finding a foothold in the ecosystem? 

A brilliant idea for entering a busy market 

GreenGo carved out its market share by leveraging a strategic partnership with Slovenian Railways. 

“You see, a lot of tourists arrive in Ljubljana and other cities by train. Either internationally or from the airport. So we started off by placing our vehicles in railway stations, allowing us to be the easy choice top of mind for anyone arriving in the city,” Peter explains.  

To further improve convenience for potential customers, GreenGo integrated ATOM Mobility with a local MaaS platform. This allowed people to purchase credits for GreenGo's car-sharing app through the city's own mobility solution. 

Not only did this solidify GreenGo as the most accessible solution for any tourist who used the city's app to buy a train ticket, it also connected it to all the local residents that use the city's mobility app in their day-to-day. 

Now, you'll find GreenGo in four cities and their customers love them, as suggested by the high app ratings and continuous positive feedback. 

In most of the cities, they're using a station based model – where the cars need to be picked up and returned at certain points. However, in the capital they're currently running a hybrid model featuring both free-floating and station-based vehicle sharing. 

GreenGo expects to have to switch to a fully station-based model in Ljubljana, too, as the city is pulling the brakes on free-floating vehicle sharing. But they're not too fussed, as this model is easier to manage and can be a better choice for a still-up-and-coming company. 

Looking to the future – more vehicle types and a focus on B2B

As any company, GreenGo is eyeing growth and expansion. 

“Our vision is to become a leading force in the sharing economy,” Peter highlights.

Expanding their fleet with different types of vehicles, specifically – electric micromobility solutions – is one of the avenues GreenGo is exploring. 

In terms of business development, GreenGo has an interesting strategy for the upcoming year, namely, focusing on expanding into the business-to-business (B2B) segment with corporate sharing schemes. 

“With B2C, you need a lot of cars, a lot of investment. Electric vehicles are very capital intensive, which poses challenges for a growing company. B2B offers the opportunity to make the maximum from your existing fleet, which will allow B2C expansion later on. Plus, we already have a sort of successful B2B pilot project under our belts,” says Peter, referring to a corporate sharing scheme they launched with their very own parent company. 

They made four cars available to T-2 employees, which they can take out under certain conditions and packages for a few hours, a day, or a weekend. This sharing scheme proved to be very popular among employees, and Peter is certain other large companies will also be keen to test out this modern benefit for their workers. 

With some ups and downs, GreenGo is steadily carving out its spot in the market. 

What would Peter do differently if he had to do it all over again? 

“Choose ATOM Mobility from day 1 and save everyone a lot of headaches and resources,” he laughs. “But, seriously, the time-to-market is so fast, I think you could launch a mobility company from zero in one month.”

Case study
How Vift grew their taxi business through digitising with ATOM Mobility
How Vift grew their taxi business through digitising with ATOM Mobility

“Using ATOM Mobility's platform, we were able to open up our taxi business to an entirely different target market  – younger people. We've been able to offer a more simplified booking process to continue offering quality service to our customers, which is our guiding principle.” - Jamal, Founder and CEO of Vift

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“Using ATOM Mobility's platform, we were able to open up our taxi business to an entirely different target market  – younger people. We've been able to offer a more simplified booking process to continue offering quality service to our customers, which is our guiding principle.” - Jamal, Founder and CEO of Vift

Experience in the taxi business: 6 years
Country: Sweden
Web page: https://viftmobility.com
App store: https://apps.apple.com/vn/app/vift/id1631027113
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=vift.app

As engineering students in the Swedish city of Örebro, just west of Stockholm, the Zindi brothers saw market demand and decided to launch their own taxi company. Starting six years ago, the business has grown to account for 8% of the local taxi market, attracting a higher-end clientele. 

One year ago, founder and CEO Jamal Zindi was looking for opportunities to further grow his business. At the time, Vift operated as a classical taxi company – based on receiving phone calls and dispatching drivers. By using the ATOM Mobility platform, he was able to launch his own dedicated mobile app, which clients could use to directly order and pay for their taxis. 

The effect of digitising his business was immediate – Jamal shares that they have received a considerable boost to business, as it opens the door to a new target audience. He shares that human behaviour regarding booking has changed. Many young people don't like picking up the phone to make a taxi booking, or people sitting in meetings aren't able to make a call. Having an app to offer makes all the difference.

Quality as a North Star

Jamal shares that throughout all of his journey as an entrepreneur, his guiding principle has always been to offer the best possible quality to clients. 

“In the services sector, it's not about who offers it cheaper, it's who serves their clients better. We offer better cars, better drivers, better customer experience. If you do it better, people will be willing to pay a premium,” explains Jamal.

In the early days, Vift's differentiating factor was an improved experience. They, and their drivers, were from an academic background. They were younger than most taxi drivers in Örebro at the time, which Jamal considered an advantage. They were able to bring an improved customer experience to their clients, which was appreciated. 

They aren't in a hurry to expand in size or geography. Jamal emphasises that they're looking to build a solid foundation and only then expand upon that.

“We don't want to start with too many cars. Our strategy is to build up the business in stages. Because if the foundation is strong, you will not fall. Once you have a system in place, it's easier to go to other cities.”

Vift has its own fleet of cars, and, using the ATOM Mobility platform, it can now onboard other drivers onto its platform. Though they're not in a hurry – they're establishing quality first and then will look beyond their borders.

Locally-owned as a key differentiator

The city of Örebro does not lack in its fair share of taxi sharing apps. They have Bolt, Uber, and others. But what Vift can offer and Uber can't, is hyper-local customer service – both for drivers and for end-customers.

“There are Bolt and Uber, they drive very cheaply. But the management and owners are not in Sweden. So if you have a question, you won't receive a response that fully understands your situation. People appreciate that we're from Sweden, that they can contact us, and that they can receive a response in their own language,” comments Jamal.

Using their competitive advantage, they believe that in just 2 years, they will be the biggest company in Örebro. And after that, they'll replicate their experience in other cities, still based on quality-over-quantity.

The secret to surviving in the taxi business – thinking 10 years ahead

One thing that sets Vift apart from traditional taxi services is their future-oriented mindset. Jamal shares that when making business decisions, he thinks about what will be relevant in 5-10 years' time. This way, he's able to stay ahead of the competition, and relevant to his customers.

One way this comes across is in the vehicles they choose. 

“Right now, all of our cars are hybrid. But very soon we'll be switching to a fully electric vehicle fleet. It's the better choice – for business, for the environment. That is where mobility is heading, and that's where we have to be as well.”

When asked about his tips for other entrepreneurs looking to start their own taxi business, Jamal stays true to his values:

“Constant development. Professional standards. Work with the heart. Quality is what matters. Consider the future – if you only do things for today, then you'll fall down.” 

Through working together, Vift has significantly increased its demand and revenue. Laying the strong foundation for digital services, Vift can now continue to build out the business and reach its goals of dominating the local market and expanding past its borders.

Learn more about ATOM Mobility ride-hailing and taxi platform here: https://ride.atommobility.com

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