David Chijioke is the Founder/CEO of the Abuja based Online and Call centre taxi hailing platform, YOURTAXINOW.COM. In this personality interview with EntrepreNEWS, he shares the story of his thriving startup, and the inspiration behind it.
YOURTAXINOW.COM is an online and calls center taxi booking platform. It provides customers with fast, convenient, reliable, affordable and safe taxi/cab booking experience by using the YOURTAXINOW mobile App/ web portal and call centre service to book your choice taxi in seconds.
We are based in Abuja but arrangements are on its final stage to expand to Port Harcourt and Lagos in a short while. Although we are already working from the Port Harcourt airport. We provide stress free and excellent booking experience to our customers, through different booking mediums, not just the above mentioned but also through BBM and WhatsApp services.
YOURTAXINOW.COM handle all booking stress, from locating the closest driver to the customer through our driver App till pick up and drop off. We do not just give you a driver and let you slug it out with the driver but we monitor the driver till drop off.
The exciting part is that on the web portal, our clients can also rate our drivers and book a preferred driver directly. This is a new innovation in taxi services and we happen to be the first company in the world to bring this innovation, with this we are able to solve the problem of drivers not being reliable and trustworthy.
Our drivers are fully trained and impeccable in their driving skills. All our Vehicles are clean, well maintained, and inspected regularly for safety and comfort.
How It Began
I stumbled into taxi business late 2011 after series of hardship caused by a failed business. Things where so difficult for me. At a time, I used my vehicle to drive taxi at night just to be able to buy fuel, eat and have a little money to run around as I was building a particular business at that time. My vehicle was later sold and things became more difficult. But a friend of mine gave me a vehicle to use for taxi which I was driving and making monthly returns.
That was how it all started. By the end of 2012, I bought my own vehicle, bought other bigger vehicles early 2013 and in 2014 we rebranded to YOURTAXINOW.COM to enable us serve more Nigerians.
Hunger was my major inspiration. I was broke and could not afford a meal talk more of the meal been square. Bills accumulated over time and I had to think outside the box. I asked myself what do I have in my hands to use to create something and I thought of my car. I had to swallow my pride and start driving taxi at night just to eat. And I figured out I was making about 1000 to 2000 per night and I decided to work in day light too.
My life experiences, especially failures, has enabled me develop the tenacity and willpower for success.
YOURTAXINOW.COM targets the upwardly mobile, corporate organisation and the likes. We connect customers to their choice taxi in just a click or call away.
Customers want the best services within the fastest time at the best price possible. That is what we offer. You can hail your choice taxi while seating on your couch taking morning coffee and by the time you are down stairs the taxi is already waiting.
The most exciting part to me is the ability of the customer to book or request for a particular driver of his choice through the drivers profile in our portal. So also is the special services we offer to cooperate organisation.
Every process of our services is well thought out having the customer’s satisfaction in mind.
At first finance was one of our major challenges. I hard to consciously delay gratification because I had to invest every dime I had to the business. For a long while I did not buy even a single cloth for myself. My friends used to make jokes that one day I would wake up to put on my jeans and the jeans will develop wings and fly away because it is the only jean I had. Not that I could not afford to buy plenty but I chose to spend on the business alone. I was not going out to hang out with friends and do stuff that my age mates should be doing.
After I have built the business to a level I finally got my first loan from a micro finance bank and later from Angel investors. And later got funded by the federal government. At the moment we are discussing with some foreign Venture Capital firms for major funding.
Key Entrepreneurship Lessons
Running a start-up demands patience, perseverance, and loads of hard work. Believe in your dreams and an unusual faith to push through. Startup founders must understand their chosen fields. Think and work hard as if all your success depend on it. Read ferociously to expand your world because the success of the business depends on what you know. Also, cut cost to the barest minimum and network at the right time.
As of January 2015 we have about 9 team members and 254 drivers working with us.
Taxi services still remains unregulated even in major cities giving way for touts and insecurity to eat deep into the roots of taxi services in these cities. With the spread of the internet across the continent, Nigerians and other Africans countries seek a convenience, reliable, and fast medium of haling taxi service which YOURTAXINOW.COM provides.
The size and market opportunity remains staggering high. The entrance of the major players gives credence to the opportunity that abounds in the Nigerian and Africa’s Taxi market space. We see YOURTAXINOW.COM sweeping across African countries to become the major player in the industry in 5 years’ time.