Monday, October 21, 2019

NIT ALUMNUS DEVELOPS BOOKING PLATFORM FOR COMMUTER TRAFFIC

No timetable, variable prices, and long wait-timesthese chaotic conditions are a part of everyday life for commuters in Nigeria. A Hamburg startup now wants to remedy this situation.

More than 95 percent of local Nigerians travel regularly by bus (e.g. for work or to visit family and friends in other regions). In contrast to Nigerian airlines, which use modern technology to the greatest possible extent, booking with local road transport companies is still done manually. This leads not only to customer dissatisfaction but, also, to high operating costs for the companies.

Digital solution for an analogue problem

Startup Travel 4.0, or T40 for short, wants to solve these problems and make travel in Nigeria easier and more comfortable with the help of a digital booking platform. Via the T40 portal, travelers can compare offers from different providers in advance, book trips online, and pay directly without cash. It also offers ticket reservations, various payment options and fixed timetables. Travelers will be able to find travel information online on the site. In addition, T40 is also developing an on-board entertainment system that can be used by all passengers on their smartphones during the journey. Several films, series, and music will be offered.

More transparency for customers

With this platform NIT Alumnus and T40 founder, Folarin Olulana, is pursuing a vision of creating a more transparent bus-transport-experience, and facilitating the process of traveling in Nigeria. Currently, tickets are sold directly in front of the bus, there is no fixed timetable, and waiting times are often long as vendors typically wait as long as possible to completely fill the space. Bus companies are also struggling because there are no legal requirements from the state to regulate the market. With the help of this platform, companies can plan ahead and work more efficiently in the long-term.

Using German start-up expertise to find the solution

Folarin Olulana has had the idea for his startup for a long time. From his own experience as a traveler in Nigeria, he was familiar with the problems with the bus companies. For his master's degree he came to Hamburg and was overwhelmed by the impressive state of the local bus market. Immediately, he saw the possibility to help his home country improve their local transport system. Folarin learned the tools of the trade for this business during his master's degree in Technology Management at the NIT (Northern Institute of Technology) Management. He has worked on innovative projects and gained experience in starting his own business.  After graduating in the fall of 2018, he founded T40.

In search of investors

Large Nigerian bus companies such as AKTC and ChiFaith Motors already offer their services on the T40 platform, and T40 receives a small commission for each booking. Ergo, the startup’s foray into the business world is already underway. The company is currently still looking for interested investors who recognize the great potential of T40. Folarin hopes that the platform will be able to completely support itself in the near future.

Found at the NIT

At the heart of the Master's program in Technology Management is a separate innovation project for all students - either the development of their own business idea or a project in a partner company of the NIT. In various modules, students develop metho-expertise that is in demand in an agile, digital working environment. Topics such as business idea development, business plan and marketing cover all areas that are relevant when founding your own company. This knowledge can be deepened both in the practical course or in the master's thesis. If desired, the NIT supports the students in turning the initial idea into their own start-up.


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