[Startup Interview] Fahim Saleh, Founder, Gokada, Nigeria
Fahim Saleh founded the Lagos-based transport service app, Gokada, in February 2018. He now holds the position of co-CEO alongside Ayodeji Adewunmi. Gokada has since become an accepted and often-used means of efficient transport in the populous city.
Could you introduce your company?
Gokada is an on-demand motorcycle taxi app that was created to meet the needs of commuters in Lagos, Nigeria. Born out of a need for quicker transportation systems and the high unemployment rates in Lagos, Gokada is working towards filling the gap for both its riders and customers.
The service is available within Agege, Iyana Ipaja, Egbeda, Ikeja, Maryland, Yaba, Surulere, V.I & Lekki areas of Lagos.
Who makes use of Gokada?
Regular commuters living in Lagos who are trying to beat traffic, who may not own cars and are looking for a cheaper and faster alternatives to regular taxis and buses.
What are the best selling points of Gokada?
We are safe . Our riders are extensively trained in defensive driving behaviour with safety always in mind. They are insured and verified, kitted out with helmets which are DOT (US Department of Transportation) approved and certified. We also monitor all of our riders, so we are aware of their movements as an added level of customer safety. We recorded a 0.013% accident rate last year.
We are smart . Customers can order a ride via the Gokada app or hail one on the street, who is able to manually start the trip on his app. In just over 12 months of operation, the company has completed nearly one million rides, getting riders to their destination 50% quicker than travel by car. With combined app downloads of close to 200,000, Gokada currently ranks as the most popular motorcycle-hailing app in Nigeria and a top 100 app overall.
We are affordable . Prices start from N100 and we are cheaper than regular buses and taxis. Users can pay in cash, just like they do with regular okadas.
How is Gokada funded?
The company is funded through Adventure Capital, Rise Capital, CRE Venture Capital, First Midwest Group and IC Partners. To date, we have secured a total of $5.6 million.
How has your service addressed the concern of air pollution in Lagos, the most populous city in Africa?
Commuters can now spend less time on the road by ordering a Gokada which can take them to destinations all over Lagos – because of this, people can leave their cars at home, burn less petrol and travel long distances by motorbike, while beating traffic. They aren’t static in traffic, wasting fuel – they get from A to B 50% quicker than usual. Cars in Lagos travel at an average of 13 Km/H during traffic. Gokada travels 26 Km/H during traffic.
What are the growth plans of Gokada?
Through this recent fundraise, we plan to increase the size of the fleet and number of rides on the road in our quest to build a franchise in the category. In the near future, we also plan to explore new cities, new verticals, and potentially expand outside Nigeria. Essentially, we want to explore and improve the relationship that Africans have with their transport providers.
What does the company need to realize these plans?
I believe that we can grow and prosper by having a great team, committed riders and loyal customers who we continue to support. We constantly let our customers know they are important to us by responding to enquiries on time and making sure their safety needs are met by having trained drivers who understand that safety is a top priority for Gokada. To this end, we recently launched G-Medic – our rapid response service which will administer first aid to Gokada pilots and passengers in the event of an accident. Safety is our top priority and we will continue to take measures to ensure that our riders and customers are safe at all times while delivering thousands of rides across Lagos daily!
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