Here on Whoot Africa, we not only showcase brands, but we also talk to the people behind those brands and have them share with us their back stories as well as give tips on how to successfully start and run a business.
Welcome to Whoot Africa’s – 15 Questions with the CEO.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and Tranzit.ng as a brand you represent?
My name is Ugochi Nicole Ugbomeh, one of the founding members of Tranzit.ng. I am a laid back, creative, fun-loving IT professional in my mid 20s who derives pleasure in developing IT business solutions. I have a B.Sc in Geology from the University of Ghana and an M.Sc in Information Technology from the University of Glasgow. I grew up in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and I currently live in Glasgow, Scotland working as a Resource Planner, but I’d be moving back home (Nigeria) in Feb 2014 to focus fully on www.Tranzit.Ng www.tranzit.ng
Tranzit.ng (www.tranzit.ng) is a free web/mobile taxi booking service that recommends interesting places and events around a user based on the user’s location. Tranzit is majorly owned by the founders of the award winning Taxipark (Rodney Jackson-Cole, Muyiwa Boris and myself), who are all well-grounded in Computer Science/Information Technology.
2. How did you get started in Business and what did it take for you to get to where you are today?
To be honest business is not really where I saw myself. I wanted to be something IT related and work under someone/company but not be co-owner of a company. For me to get to where I am today it took passion, commitment, one painful taxi experience in Lagos and a career change. If you notice earlier, my Bsc was in Geology. While I studied that, I always had a passion for IT and I studied some programs. I was called the “IT geek” amongst peers for as long as I can remember. Once I graduated from Ghana, I decided it was time to go back to my love, Information Technology.
3. What were you doing before Tranzit.ng kicked off and why did you decide to start Tranzit.ng?
Before www.tranzit.ng, my partners and I built Taxipark web and mobile app (2012). We all worked on Taxipark alongside our other jobs. Then, I worked as a Real time Analyst in Glasgow, so it was a bit challenging for us managing the two at the time, however it was a growth process and I personally have no regrets. The birth of Tranzit.ng was a joint decision by us all, we wanted to do more than Taxipark and we felt very limited and restricted with Taxipark.
TranzitNG does not just offer a taxi booking service but it suggests places to a user. There is so much more TranzitNG does and is going to do. I can’t disclose all now but be on the lookout.
4. Did you know you were going to be an Entrepreneur all along or did it happen by chance?
I had no idea but come to think of it now, my father used to tell me, “*you will work for yourself and be great*” and I chuckled and said “*Amen*”. I don’t really think anything happens by chance. I believe things happen the way they are meant to, everyone has a path directed by God. We may deviate from that path every now and again but at the end of the day we tend to come back.
5. What do you love most about your business and your life as an Entrepreneur?
I love that we are revolutionising the transportation industry in Nigeria and also that we were/are the first to do so in Nigeria using taxis. As an entrepreneur, I love that I can say I co-own something that is fully functional and also be part of an amazing team. More so be part of the decision making process and get to talk about our service in interviews etc.
6. What keeps you and the TranzitNG team motivated?
3 main things really: – Growth, Constructive criticism and Success. We strive to be the best at what we do and by doing so we aim to make our customers happy.
Nothing makes us happier than when we get a good review.
7. What do you think are the most important personal skills someone must have to be successful in business?
There’s a lot but these are the ones I go by: Assertiveness, Passion/Drive, Ability to understand the needs of the clients (customers/users), Open-mindedness, Critical thinking, Planning and FUN (always enjoy yourself, that way it never looks like work).
8. How do you envision TranzitNG in 5-10years from now?
We want TranzitNG (www.tranzit.ng) to be the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks of a taxi-booking service or even a location service. We also see TranzitNG rapidly expanding to other major cities in Nigeria, and key countries across Africa.
9. What are the obstacles you encountered in your business journey and how did you overcome them?
As a growing start-up, we had a few problems working together as a team as we were far from each other. I’m based in Scotland while Rodney and Boris are based in Lagos. Thanks to Skype, Face-time, Google Hangout, Emails and Whatsapp we now communicate more effectively.
We also saw hell trying to raise funds. We spoke to so many prospective investors that we ended up disclosing a lot of sensitive information up in the process. Now we are wiser and well aware of NDAs Nonetheless, the journey so far has been an exciting one.
10. How would you describe your leadership style?
Hmmm.. tough one. I think I am a cocktail of leadership styles; I mix participative, charismatic and task-oriented styles of leadership.
11. Why did you choose this line of business/service or product and when did you know it was it for you?
For this product, it took one painful taxi experience when I visited Nigeria. On my way back to Scotland I thought about how majority of taxi-bookings are made via mobile apps in Glasgow, more so how we could apply it in Nigeria using the most metropolitan city ( Lagos ) as a starting point. Over a Skype conversation with Rodney we discussed Taxipark at the time, launched it in 2012 and now we are here with something better “Tranzit.NG”.
12. Who was the most influential person or mentor in your life?
My Mother – She is my very own superwoman!
13. What was the BIGGEST risk you’ve taken?
Moving from Earth Sciences to Computer Science, However, it was the best risk ever!
14. What do you think about college education? Should kids go to college now or get into business if they feel it’s a better choice? Considering some of the world’s greatest never had college education, your thoughts?
I think college education is important but not for everyone, it helps build an individual in terms of focus and confidence. If you have a hobby and you excel at it, amazing! Adding qualifications (not necessarily college education) gives an individual a plus.
I believe no knowledge is wasted.
15. What would be the most important piece of advice you could give to young entrepreneurs and why?
My piece of advice would be based on some of the rules I live by
– Always dream big.
– Follow your passion, no matter how shallow people think it is.
– Believe that with God, all things are possible.
– Dress how you want to be addressed.
– Always listen to the other sides of the story before making a conclusion.
– Your brain can take you to the top, but your character/attitude will keep you there.
– Good things come to those who wait, but better things come to those who go looking for *great* things
– Always work with people who share the same vision as you.
Start using TranzitNG, visit your blackberry and Android supported app store to download TranzitNG….
Name your location and let TranzitNG bring you the services!!!!
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