“The company that provides the software and the company that uses the software are on the same boat. Both can move forward only with the same understanding,” says Milad Mahmoudyan. Last autumn he launched his e-scooter sharing business Qick in two mid-sized cities in Sweden. Milad recalls that he nearly missed the opportunity to be the first to enter the market due to an unsuccessful collaboration with another software provider, but then he found Atom Mobility.
Launch date: November 2019
Country: Sweden, four cities
Fleet: few hundreds of Segway Max scooters and few hundreds of ACTON scooters
Web page: https://www.qickscooters.com
Qick mobile app (powered by ATOM Mobility)
When everything was nearly set up, problems with the trackers started to appear. “Luckily, we started to have issues before the launch – we could not integrate the hardware with the software. We had a setting in the configuration that caused a lot of headaches. It was not working as it should. We knew that we had competitors coming in, so we had to be the first in the city. With the help from Atom Mobility, we managed to launch before them,” explains Milad. “It took us three days of onboarding. We are probably still the fastest launch that Atom Mobility has had so far.”
A Strong Belief in Shared Mobility Drives the Business
Milad also has another business, but he always believed in shared mobility, so he decided to create the Qick platform: “Originally, we thought of establishing a cab company, but we knew that the electric scooter sharing service will eventually come to the city which would affect our business. It is just a better way of transportation than a standard taxi. So, we started to look at how we could be in front of this movement instead of being affected by it.”
Milad invested money from his existing business and took out a loan. He was not afraid as he considered it to be a safe investment. Milad says that among younger people the demand to have their own car or even use a cab is decreasing significantly. They require other means of transportation. They are looking for solutions that are super easy and fun. And now it is hard to find better transportation than the electric scooter. “Especially downtown, an electric scooter is faster and more fun to drive. Otherwise, people must drive a car, pay for parking, and sit in traffic jams. You can avoid all of that by using an electric scooter. People get this and are increasingly using scooters,” observes Milad.
Even during the pandemic, there was a proper demand for electric scooters in the city. Qick felt the decline in rides for the first two weeks after everything started to go into lockdown. They kept scooters outside as there were people that preferred to use them: “People always had disinfection liquids with them. We also paid special attention to the disinfection of handlebars. In a few weeks, everything proceeded as usual. Mainly because people saw e-scooters as a better option than riding on public transport,” concludes Milad.
The Advantage of Being Small
Quick is currently a team of six people operating in four mid-sized Swedish cities. They have one big competitor, but Milad says that sometimes being small is a competitive advantage: “The main difference between Qick and the big player in the market is that we are a local company here in the city. Big companies do not necessarily value day to day work. A small company like us puts a lot of effort into solving everyday issues. By that, I mean relocating and keeping track of electric scooters. We are constantly able to deploy at hotspots because we are familiar with the city. Also, Qick focuses a lot on customer support, service, and helping out when something is not working but it should.”
Milad’s advice for other electric scooter service providers who are willing to start their own businesses is to pay attention to the quality of vehicles. This is important as they should be able to serve long term. And customers appreciate the comfort and quality that reflects the service provider’s attitude towards them.
All Sharing Options on One Platform
What about expansion plans? Milad is willing to continue what he has started and even come back to the idea of cabs. The only difference is that he would like to exclusively work with electric vehicles in his fleet. Atom Mobility software will also allow him to integrate other means of transportation into an app, so in terms of the software, he will not require any additional investments.
“Another important aspect regarding Atom Mobility is their understanding of the business. If they help their partners grow, this will be also their opportunity to develop and grow. I saw this immediately after the first few minutes of talking to the company’s CEO Artur Burnins. They really value their customers and see potential in every cooperation. Atom Mobility is constantly working on new functions and features. We have not even mentioned that we need them, but they develop solutions. It is also good that we can ask them for additional functions and features that we would like to offer to our end users,” says Milad.
Together, Qick and Atom Mobility have built a strong business partnership. Both companies plan to continue expanding and developing their services by providing even more convenient ways in which people can enjoy shared mobility.
Click below to learn more or request a demo.
“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.
“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