“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
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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“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
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
“Being small allows Go Green City to be responsive and offer solutions tailored to a particular environment. Flexibility and agility are our advantages and that's why I wanted a software partner with the same qualities” – Jose Tavares, the founder and CEO of Go Green City, explains why he chose to partner with ATOM Mobility.
Launch date: August 2021
Fleet size: 200 e-mopeds
Web page: https://go-greencity.ch
App Store: https://apps.apple.com/ch/app/id1583947739
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ggc.app
Jose began building Go Green City, a Swiss electric moped sharing company, with another well-known software provider on the market. Still, he quickly grew disillusioned after experiencing delays in communication and a generally passive attitude. Moving quickly is a key advantage of starting a new enterprise, and being held back by outside parties was unacceptable. This became clear early on in Jose's journey, when he was still just validating the viability of his solution.
“The initial partner company was just too big and took too long to react,” explains Jose. “I wanted a partner that can match my pace and with whom I could establish strong foundations for a long-term partnership.”
After tasking his son with finding an alternative provider, Go Green City quickly landed with ATOM Mobility as it met Jose's criteria – professional, responsive, and not too big. The two companies have been working together ever since, with a shared outlook toward the future, and, as they say, the rest is history.
It's not about getting from A to B, but rather from B to C
For Jose, Go Green City is about giving back. Having had a career in the automotive industry for most of his life, Jose wanted to create something that improves the lives of city folk and helps the environment. An electric alternative for urban last-mile mobility is his answer.
“We considered and tested electric car sharing and scooters, before landing on mopeds. The problem I wanted to solve was to get people from B to C. Not A to B, because I would compete against public transport and create more traffic and congestion. I firmly believe that public transport is the best and greenest solution that should serve as the backbone of urban transit,” says Jose. “That's why I'm focusing on a last-mile solution. My goal is to get people into the bus and then onto the electric moped, rather than replace the bus.”
Go Green City started operating in 2022 and today its 200 e-mopeds have done over 120,000 km inside the city with zero emissions. But for Jose, that's just the beginning. Looking to grow his fleet more than tenfold and launch next year in Portugal, Jose is steadily carving out his place in urban mobility through smart partnerships and sheer grit.
A one-man army
Jose has built Go Green City from the ground up almost single-handedly. Up until now, the company's operations were virtually 100% outsourced, save for the considerable efforts of Jose himself. “I've done my job when I can go on a vacation and everything runs smoothly without me,” Jose shares.
Today, Go Green City demands around 2 hours of Jose's time a day, but this is the result of 5 years of hard work and long nights. “To be a good leader, even to freelancers, you have to know every nook and cranny of the business and have to be willing to do the hard work yourself. You can't ask more of others than you do of yourself.”
Over the years, there have been a lot of hiccups – from vehicle hacks to delivery problems due to the Suez canal's blockage – but having trusted partners at your side and extensive industry knowledge helped Jose navigate all the ups and downs right up until the launch and beyond.
The launch of Go Green City happened without much fanfare. The idea was to launch smoothly and quietly, to avoid antagonizing competition and give citizens the opportunity to discover the advantages of Go Green City themselves. It was a tremendous success that was quickly amplified further through word-of-mouth marketing.
People were eager to engage with the new and convenient e-mopeds and became loyal customers once they discovered that it was the cheapest mobility option available. This also encouraged people to share feedback, all of which was quickly managed on the other end by Jose himself to further improve the service and foster a sense of community.
“I wanted people to feel heard and make them feel like a part of the business. That's why I always ended my communications with 'Thank you for being part of our club' and that really resonated with people.”
Nuggets of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs
After an illustrious 30-year career in the automotive industry and a strong start with Go Green City, Jose's advice to future entrepreneurs is “don't talk, just do it”. Don't tell people where you are going, but announce when you've arrived.
“Sharing your plans and ambitions will only make people question you and you'll spend a lot of energy and time arguing and justifying yourself to friends, family, and partners,” explains Jose. “Sometimes, don't even tell your wife”.
“People have amazing ideas and initiatives, but they seek validation and support from acquaintances who can never really give you what you need. Usually, they just make you question yourself. Instead, just do it. Try. Even if you fail, the most important thing is that you've learned and you'll do better next time,” concludes Jose.
Thanks to an alignment in business philosophies, ATOM Mobility and Go Green City collaborate like a well-oiled machine. And Jose can continue his entrepreneurial mission of improving the lives of travelers and contributing to the well-being of the environment.