Two weeks after Lagos-based bike-hailing company, GoKada, took a short break to put its house in order having identified some inadequacies in its operations, the company appears to have bounced back with a bang.
After co-CEO, Fahim Saleh, made it known via Medium post from a fortnight ago that the company would be shutting down temporarily after he experienced first-hand the faults in the company’s operations, many had thought the move a swansong that would ultimately signal the demise of the company. But it appears such fears were uncalled for. The company has remodeled its operations and reappeared with upgrades that could very likely give its competitors a run for their money.
GoKada can be thought to have written Nigeria’s bike-hailing playbook given that they are pioneers in the space, and many of its competitors can be said to have modeled their respective businesses on that very playbook. But now it seems GoKada is taking things up a notch as it scrambles to take back pole position in the country’s emerging bike-hailing scene.
To get ahead of the racing pack, GoKada has embarked on a relaunch so as to expose bike-hailers to new international standards from Bluetooth-enabled crash helmets to seamless GPS navigation, newer bikes, and well-trained riders.
Saleh cited some of these factors when he announced the suspension of Gokada operations on August 14, 2019. Fahim Saleh was dismayed at the prospect of customers not getting value for their money after he hailed a GPilot (GoKada rider) and was far from impressed with the service he experienced. He, thus, opted for a return to the drawing board while telling everyone to be on the lookout for a relaunch on August 26, 2019. And it appears that relaunch is right on cue despite market uncertainty.
According to the company, the new helmet that is now used by GoKada riders is certified by the United States Department of Transportation and the bikes that were formerly in use have been ditched for new bikes sourced directly from Indian motorbike maker, TVS.
The new helmet enables drivers to communicate and make use of their GPS hands-free. The use of phone while driving is unsafe, and the Gokada helmet eliminates that risk by allowing its riders to have seamless navigation experience without taking hands off the handlebars, thus making rides a lot safer. The two-week hiatus also enabled the company to train its GPilots on how to use the new fleet and Bluetooth-enabled helmets.
Both Fahim Saleh and his co-CEO, Ayodeji Adewunmi, are upbeat about the second coming of GoKada. On the subject of the relaunch, both tech entrepreneurs are convinced that the two-week timeout was necessary for the company to do some self-introspection, revamp its service and, once again, set new standards for bike-hailing services in Nigeria. Word on the street is that GoKada s back and better.