Over the week, I had the opportunity to chat with the duo of Dapo Ademosu and Taiwo Banasko, founders of CityRun. They shared their experience as one of the youngest players in the logistics industry in Nigeria, the challenges and future aspirations.
In the beginning
“eCommerce seems to be what’s going on in Nigeria now, and a lot of people are coming up with eCommerce platforms.”
The idea for CityRun was conceived following the increasing number of eCommerce platforms in Nigeria with logistics needs. CityRun started operations in October 2014.
“Cityrun comes in as a business to augment somebody else’s business”
Despite the number of eCommerce platforms, there aren’t many companies playing in the logistics industry. There is a need to give young and growing eCommerce platforms more opportunity to grow and actually lead the market, by taking off the challenges of running logistics from the eCommerce players.
With the Mindset of enhancing other people’s businesses, Cityrun’s approaches business with tactics that allow emerging eCommerce platforms worry less about logistics and order fulfilment.
For the eCommerce platforms, Cityrun helps solve the problem of reaching customers quickly, allowing them focus more on growing their business and delivering quality service.
The logistics startup not only caters for eCommerce platforms, but corporate institutions and individuals who have single or many parcels to distribute are also considered – even distribution of event invitations.
The delivery service that the startup currently provides includes same-day delivery, standard delivery, next day delivery, multi drop delivery and contract services.
“The intricacy of the industry is quite underrated, the business is more than just having bikes, professional riders and a system for monitoring.”
Top of the list of challenges for the startup is that the Nigerian eCommerce industry still strives on payment-on-delivery. In the case of customers not being available to take delivery, such delivery can’t be effected as the buyer is yet to pay for the goods.
This usually results in scheduling another delivery which either the buyer or the eCommerce platform would be responsible for the cost of delivery.
Another challenge for the startup as a player in the logistics industry is geolocation, where people put down addresses that are difficult to locate and when there are no post or zip codes as applicable in the western world. Availability of zip codes, Taiwo believes would improve logistics business in the country.
Another challenge is government regulations as it affects bike riders.
Unique Selling Point
For the young and growing company, the comparative advantage is the company’s personal relationship with clients and users.
According to Dapo, Cityrun bike riders don’t spend so much time while make a delivery and this has no effect on the level of services that the customers get, this is in a bid to manage efficiency.
Financing the startup has been by the founders. When asked about each individual’s contribution, Taiwo responded “… not enough to bankrupt us”. And about looking at investors or VCs, CityRun wants to get the industry standard right first, in a bid to ensure that the business is more bankable.
Taiwo is a degree holder in Electrical Engineering, with Masters in Information System and Management and has worked in the technology consulting both in the United States and United Kingdom for about five years. Other industry that Taiwo have experience in include FMCG and, oil and gas. And Dapo on the other hand had his first degree in Marketing and with experience in telecommunication as well as aviation industry.
“The industry in itself is still growing. And there’s a lot of opportunity for business to make impact and be different.”
In the long run, the platform is looking forward to expand the on-demand sector of logistics where an individual is in Yaba and needs to send a parcel to Victoria Island without wanting to go through the usual Lagos traffic
CityRun is looking forward to serving other sites aside Lagos in less than six months, after the company must have truly understood the market. And the company’s present focus is to increase presence while also maintaining dominance in the market.
And talk about the long term goal for the startup, it’s about being the go-to courier service provider on the continent. Further in the long run, CityRun wants to go beyond logistics, and maintaining a strategy partnership with clients to help expand clients’ business.