Necessity is the mother of invention, the old sage says. That may very well be why Jekalo, a social/professional car-sharing proposition is coming to the surface now in Lagos.
Still very much in beta and available only via its website, and limited to Lagos, Jekalo allows users hitch a ride with another user offering the ride on a prearranged route, usually determined by the one who offered said ride.
Naturally, safety and security forebodings jump to the surface with having strange people jump into your car, or, jumping into a strange car with a strange person, no less. Jekalo attempts to put this to rest with a social and professional layering that allows users to deploy the product only after signing up and connecting with their Facebook and Linkedin profiles. Facebook for social and Linkedin for professional. A user, having registered on the network can choose either to offer a ride or join any of the rides already listed – on the right sidebar.
In offering a ride, the user and the ride will have to be verified by a Jekalo admin, before the ride is published as an “Available Ride”. This for an extra layer of safety.
While not necessarily the reason behind its creation, we can conjecture safely that the recent scarcity of petroleum products in Nigeria which has led to incredible uptick in fares and even a Uber surge pricing up to 3x in the worst circumstances have created the perfect conditions for the launch of Jekalo. The one who developed Jekalo have been working on this for a couple months at least, going by the whois records of Jekalo.com.
That person is Motoni Bolarinwa, whom we have confirmed is currently in the Co-Creation Hub’s Pre-Incubation programme.
The pricing on the offering is currently not standardized from the much we can see from here, though the website says charges will be calculated per distance. Jekalo says on its website that “the first couple ride you join are free.” An email release puts this number of free rides at 30.
Jekalo has an Uber-like 5-star rating system for both the offerer and the person hitching the ride, a nifty module that will also help carpoolers have a general community perception of themselves.
Carpooling is one of the businesses that can achieve significant scale when enabled by technology as startups like BlaBlaCar and Zimride (before it iterated into Lyft) have shown. While not nearly as white-hot as e-hailing across the world, it is still a strong opportunity that is perhaps more suited to cluttered cities like Lagos where taxi fares are high.
You can try out Jekalo here.
TechCabal has reached to the developer for more insight into the product and will update accordingly.