On-demand fueling company UR Fuels recently launched in Nigeria to bring fuel to customers at the click of a button on its android or iOS mobile application. It currently supplies diesel and petrol to individuals or companies that request for it at specific locations in the Lagos metropolis with plans to expand to other parts of Nigeria very soon.
According to founder and CEO Ugo Nwobodo, the platform was born out of a need to fill a gap created by Nigeria’s power deficit.
Every home in Nigeria has a generator as backup for the inefficient supply of electricity the country is known for. These generators are mostly powered by diesel or gasoline. People have to go to petrol stations every day to buy diesel in jerry cans, which could be a very inconvenient and daunting task.Ugo Nwobodo CEO/Founder, Ur Fuels
However, it is not the first innovation aimed at solving Nigeria’s downstream fuel challenges. A startup named FueledUp also started a similar service about three years ago but seem to have folded up their operation.
This precedence raises questions about what advantages UR Fuels have over FueledUp. Are they headed for a crash?
Both fuel on-demand platforms are set up to operate in similar ways. They use customised delivery trucks to carry fuel to customers from wherever the order is made within a short time.
In a chat with TechNext, the CEO of FueledUp, Mr Subomi Owo-Odusi, revealed some of the major challenges the fuel on-demand company encountered in Nigeria that led to its hard times.
According to him, they encountered problems from the get go. Financing was hard to come by. Investors were unwilling to put their money in the venture because of the unpredictable nature of the petrol market in the country.
Because fuel is a volatile commodity, a lot of people did not want to put their funds in. If it was diesel, it would have been easier to raise fundsSubomi Owo-Odusi CEO/Founder FueledUp
Considering that UR Fuels distributes diesel as well as petrol, maybe they will have better chances with investors when they need more funds.
Getting an adequate customer base was also a key factor that hindered the company’s growth. FueledUp built its customer base on companies and car parks because individuals and households that constituted potential customers were reluctant to have fuel-loaded trucks enter their estates or compounds to make deliveries.
Obtaining mini trucks that could transport petrol to the populace was also an issue as diesel delivering trucks were the only ones available to the company in Lagos.
We had to request for trucks built to our specs from China to distribute petrol because we couldn’t find that here in Lagos.Subomi Owo-Odusi
Traffic is a big consideration and was a major challenge for the company in keeping to the promised 30 minutes delivery time to its users.
UR Fuels however seems to have a plan for their continued operation not only in Lagos but in other states in the country. With a customer target that ranges from individuals to households and companies as well as a product range of petrol and diesel, the latest fuel on-demand service in Nigeria may have better-positioned itself to thrive in the country.
UR Fuels’ mini-tankers can beat the traffic because of their small size and the agility of its drivers.UR Fuels
It’s early days yet but the company believes it has what it takes to survive in Nigeria. It guarantees quality petroleum supplies and unmatched customer service delivery. No doubt, UR Fuels’ on-demand delivery is one that is needed by Nigerians and one whose progress we will be watching.
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