Amen Olabode, the CEO and Co-Founder of Fraser, shares his inspiring journey and the driving force behind Fraser, a mobility startup with a mission to transform intercity transportation in Nigeria.
The inspiration behind Fraser came from witnessing the state of public transportation in Nigeria, usually characterized by inefficiency, safety concerns, and financial exclusion. I knew we needed a tech-driven solution to revolutionize this sector and provide Nigerians with a reliable, safe, and affordable way to travel between cities.
Amen's passion for addressing these pressing issues lead to the creation of Fraser.
Fraser is a mobility startup solving the problem of inefficient intercity transportation in Nigeria by providing affordable, safe, and comfortable interstate bus transportation while also bridging the financial exclusion gap for drivers and commuters through digital payment facilitation. Fraser was created to build the necessary tech and financial infrastructure to achieve these goals. Their vision was to provide commuters with the best possible commuting experience while also empowering drivers with the tools they need to improve their trade.
The problems we aimed to tackle were twofold. Firstly, there was a lack of reliable and safe intercity transportation options. Nigerians are burdened with inefficient, uncomfortable, and sometimes unsafe travel experiences. Secondly, many drivers are confronted with financial exclusion.
Drivers struggle to afford vehicle upgrades, maintenance, insurance, and retirement plans, which directly impacts the quality of service they offer. The consequences of these issues are far-reaching, affecting both commuters and drivers. For commuters, it meant enduring uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe journeys. For drivers, it meant a lack of access to financial stability and necessary resources to improve their services.
Fraser's approach was unique in its commitment to addressing both safety and affordability.
To strike a balance between safety and affordability, we have implemented rigorous driver vetting and training processes. We verify vehicles for safety compliance and introduce modern safety features. This ensures that passengers can trust in their safety while travelling with Fraser.
Fraser also diversified their revenue streams to keep fares as low as possible. They work closely with partners to secure the best deals available, making safe and comfortable intercity travel accessible to a wider range of Nigerians.
Victoria Olajide: Can you share how Fraser leverages digital payments to bridge the financial exclusion gap for both drivers and commuters?
Amen Olabode: For now, we are just building the infrastructure needed to plug this gap, however, our goal is to ensure that all drivers on our platform have digital wallets to which commuters can make payments directly. Drivers can receive consistent income through digital fare collection, while commuters experience the convenience of cashless transactions.
Victoria Olajide: What kind of technology and infrastructure does Fraser use to ensure the safety and comfort of its passengers?
Amen Olabode: For safety, we're building real-time tracking for vehicles, and commuters. For comfort, our buses are currently equipped with Air Conditioning Units and they are primed to operate at the best capabilities. It is important to note that we are just building out most of the security measures in place as we only have our MVP out.
Victoria Olajide: How do you choose and vet the drivers for your service, and what criteria do they need to meet?
Amen Olabode: Drivers have to fill out a form on our driver portal after which we will invite the drivers for inspection and basic training. Our criteria include valid licenses, clean driving histories, and vehicle roadworthiness, ensuring only qualified and trustworthy drivers are part of our network.
By narrowing their focus, Fraser can deeply understand the needs and preferences of their particular demographic. This helps to ensure that their services resonate with their core audience.
For now, we've chosen to focus on the South Western part of Nigeria. Our target audience consists of young, tech-savvy individuals between the ages of 16 to 40. This specific demographic represents the community we're targeting.
However, scaling a startup is not without its challenges. Operational logistics, market penetration, and funding constraints are some of the recurring challenges Fraser has faced since its inception.
The life of a startup is filled with challenges. There are many moving parts, and while we haven't figured everything out, we're determined to adapt and thrive.
As a bootstrap startup, Fraser had devised several strategies to navigate financial shortfalls. One of the ways they tackle these challenges is through strategic partnerships. By not existing in isolation, they can get help from those who have what they need. They collaborate, adapt, and build upon these partnerships to strengthen operations.
The most significant testimonials we've received are from our drivers. Working with us, they've seen their income increase significantly due to a consistent stream of trips. And our users have repeatedly praised the cost reduction our services offer, making safe and comfortable intercity travel accessible.
Fraser's ability to stay innovative and competitive is an important part of their story. By closely tracking technological advancements, continuously refining the platform, actively seeking feedback from users and implementing data-driven improvements they maintain a competitive edge. They also leverage partnerships to remain at the forefront of innovation as a mobility startup.
However, it is important to note that Fraser is still in its early stages. Currently, they have only launched their Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The Fraser team is committed to the journey of growth, and innovation, and ensuring that they provide a safe, affordable, and reliable travel experience for Nigerians. They understand that the path ahead may be challenging, but they're fully prepared to tackle these challenges as they work towards their vision of transforming intercity travel in Nigeria.
Fraser remains focused on their mission to provide safe and affordable travel for Nigerians.