As Abraham Lincoln said, “ Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Building Carhoot has been an incredible journey, undertaken by a team of passionate, dedicated, and most of all talented individuals who made it their mission to bring this beautiful vision to life.
Like any other event these days, the launch was held virtually, with attendees from all corners of the globe joining in. The majority were tech professionals, who were curious to check out the app’s features and engage with Carhoot Founder & CEO, Moses Kihumba. The event was kicked off at 10 AM, EAT by our accomplished moderator, the amazing Mercy Orangi, a Developer Relations Expert who works at Andela and who is a respected member of the global and African tech community.
Carhoot aims to take advantage of Kenya’s impressive digitization and extensive mobile penetration rates, by giving local drivers access to verified, trusted and convenient services within Nairobi easily. Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft once said, when asked about where he sees technology heading in the future, that “The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” According to Mercy, this is exactly what Carhoot is bringing to the table; a tech-powered local solution to an immense local problem that is available at the touch of a button by everyday tech-savvy drivers.
“Moderating this event was an absolute joy and very apt personally for me, especially being a female driver, because a lot of my car trouble stories revolve around mechanics who take advantage of a % of female drivers who are not quite savvy in car care knowledge hence either bluff them on e.g. parts being changed during service, or overstating car part and car service costs .”
Mercy Orangi — Developer Relations Expert in Africa
One of the star features the app boasts, is providing drivers with transparent and open financial management when it comes to taking care of their cars. Since most Kenyan garages are jua kali establishments, it is often quite easy for new car owners or people who aren’t as knowledgeable about cars to fall prey to irregular and unethical pricing practices. The app allows users to pay standard and consistent rates for each service or product and keeps track of each expenditure on your behalf. It is incredibly interesting to note that 72% of our event attendees do not believe that men and women pay the same rates for car care services. For female drivers who are often targeted and made to pay ridiculously high rates for regular services, the app is a huge blessing, that will help solve the huge prevailing gender bias practices in the local auto care industry.
Why Carhoot Exists & The Significance of The Launch Event
As Kenya’s first homegrown end-to-end car care and maintenance mobile app, Carhoot is a huge deal. We are a middle-income country that has marked a huge increase in motorization over the past decade, yet proper access to affordable car maintenance services is still sorely lacking. Kenya has also noted a 46.5% increase in RTAs (road traffic accidents) according to a report by the NTSA (National Transport Safety Authority) with poor vehicle conditions being ranked as one of the key contributing factors to this sad state of affairs. Despite this fact, very little is being done to create public awareness on the importance of proper vehicle maintenance in saving Kenyan lives; with almost all of the focus being directed towards curbing drunk driving. Part of Carhoot’s mission is to help Kenyan drivers understand the huge & life-saving value of car care, by using technology to build a nationwide culture that encourages vehicle maintenance.
Being a public platform that allows for ratings and feedback by end-users has raised confidence and trust in using the platform for a myriad of car care requests as shared by Mercy and a majority of the event attendees. The Carhoot mobile app is readily available on both Google Play and the App Store ensuring accessibility to as many Kenyans living in Nairobi as possible. The local tech ecosystem in Kenya is definitely growing in the right direction, by creating tech solutions to local problems, and judging by the amazing feedback we received, many of the attendees are eager to see the actualization of Carhoot’s infinite growth potential in scaling both our user base and the number of services we currently offer.
The Keynote Address by Carhoot CEO & Founder, Moses Kihumba
The launch was something that Moses has been looking forward to for a while and he began his speech by expressing his extreme good fortune and gratitude for being part of an incredible team that is bringing a game-changing idea to life! Reinstating one of his hero’s, Albert Einstein’s most famous quotes about the impact of technology, he reminded us all about Albert’s famous calls to the public to appreciate the value of innovation, and understand how dramatically it could change our lives.
Moses further went on to question one of the most common notions held by local drivers, that the quality of service delivery when it comes to vehicle maintenance is directly impacted by human interaction. For many car owners, being present means your parts aren’t being stolen or tampered with…but does this argument still hold water in a modern world? The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has given us all access to multiple incredible innovations, from banking to communication, to requesting or taxis and even ordering food…spending precious hours under the hot sun in a garage should no longer be a common aspect of our everyday lives in this day and age.
“True innovation today, is centred on humans. It’s focused on our behaviour, our passions and our needs. As that is what makes innovation meaningful, it’s how it transforms our lives and the way we live. Today we bring you Carhoot. An innovation that has been designed to make your car ownership experience completely new.”
As we continue to live with the global shadow that COVID-19 has cast on our lives, many people have been unable to properly maintain their cars and keep up with regular service checks. Minimizing social interactions has come at a heavy price that most people assumed was due to poor lifestyle choices; but in fact, the silent danger posed by unmaintained and unserviced vehicles has led to several deaths this year. In Kenya, we witnessed high levels of RTAs during the first weeks after travel restrictions and the major nationwide lockdown was lifted. It is safe to say that a significant number of these accidents were a result of poor car maintenance. Attendees further verified this during a live poll we conducted, with 61% stating that COVID-19 had negatively impacted how often and thoroughly they looked after their cars.
“The Africa automotive insights report by Deloitte found that 47 percent of car owners in Kenya, service their cars at jua kali and open-air garages. What we want to do is make car servicing as easy as ordering your next meal. It’s difficult to remember to schedule things like oil changes and brake jobs with so many other things going on in your life. Not to mention being at the mercy of some dishonest mechanics, who may bleed you dry if you still don’t know what an oil filter is.”
With Carhoot in the hands of local drivers, social distancing and regular car maintenance can happen concurrently, and drivers can rest easy knowing that their cars are in good hands. Carhoot users are able to track progress and receive updates on the status of their vehicles. The pick-up and drop off feature further allows users to live their lives and attend to more pressing matters without having to do everything on their own.
Carhoot’s presence in the market comes at a time when we have a population that is tech-inclined, with car ownership is on the rise, with more than 3.2M registered motor vehicles in Kenya (As of 2018). The value of time has only risen and people have better things to do than spending precious hours and even days under the sun, waiting for their cars to be fixed. Beyond automation and the ability to provide car care services more conveniently and at more affordable rates; the app also gives us the opportunity to gather much-needed data, to help improve and better identify needs and gaps in the local automotive industry.
We would love to thank everyone who joined and also all the thousands of people who engaged with us on social media during the launch!
Special appreciation to the entire team at Carhoot for making the launch a huge success. For any queries in regards to the app, kindly send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will get back to you. You can keep up with the latest #CarhootNews by following our social pages on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.