This is the second edition of “Time-out with start-ups” and if you have missed the previous edition, do check here.
Today, we caught up with Caryl Joshua Akonor, Co-Founder of Truckr, which is a technological base solution for logistics, freight and transportation services.
He shared his story, on how he and his Co-Founders, established Truckr, what they have achieved with it, so far, as well as other issues.
CFAmedia.ng: Kindly tell us about yourself?
Caryl: Primarily, I am a designer. I started from a background of graphic design and while in school, I started a design business.
I was printing T-shirts and making posters of campaign, for the Student Union Government.
I, eventually, became the lead designer for the union, where I was in charge of any program, or, activities, that were planned for.
Personally, I have always loved designs. It has been my passion, from when I was a child.
In 2017, I went to MEST, (Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology), program where I harnessed my skills and became a better designer.
It was there that, I understood the full scope of, how to build products, for emerging markets in Africa.
It was, when I was in MEST, that I learnt how to be a web and code designer.
Family-wise, I am the third of three children, born and raised in Accra, Ghana.
So far, so good, it has been a wonderful journey.
CFAmedia.ng: How did you connect with your Co-Founders?
Caryl: I met my Co-Founders at the MEST program, in 2017.
We connected, while working on a product and we clicked.
We have been working on Truckr, for more than a year now.
We started in February, 2018, after undertaking lots of research and also, spoke with lots of stakeholders, we landed and we were ready to go.
CFAmedia.ng: How did it all start for you in tech?
Caryl: I have always loved tech. I am the geek at home, who knows much, about any kind of tech.
When it comes to fixing mobile phones and television, I am the go-to guy, at home.
I decided to follow the design path because, that is where my passion is. MEST gave me the needed exposure and brought me into the tech ecosystem. In time, I became immersed in tech
CFAmedia.ng: Have you been in any ventures before the current one?
Caryl: I started my first business back, when I was in high school. I had an Advertising Agency, where I was handling printing materials, social media, web designing, branding, campaign posters, etc.
After I left high school, I did it for a while, before I left, to join an Agency on contract.
I worked there for 3 months, before I left, to join an NGO, where I was the head of design, for over a year.
In December 2016, I decided to quit and focus on my own business.
I have always been an entrepreneur, so, I just quit and focus on building my own thing.
I wanted to create a team that would build wonderful and world class designs.
At first, it was not picking up. I tried all that I could and pitched my ideas, to corporate outfits, investors and individuals, to win contracts.
Not until I heard about the MEST application and I applied in May 2017.
CFAmediang: Tell us about your current venture and how you came up with the idea?
Caryl: When I was in the MEST program, there was this other innovation that was going on.
It was called, the “Kosmos Innovation Center”, a competition where you create agritech startups that will compete for $50,000 equity funding.
During the program, I and one of my Co-Founders were taken on a tour across Ghana, to see everything that is agricultural-based.
It was during this time that, we got exposed, but we were having a recurring issue with transportation and logistics.
We realised that, there was a need for the pricing to be reduced and that was when, the idea of Truckr came to be.
CFAmedia.ng: What are the challenges currently faced with Truckr?
Caryl: The major challenges we are having, boils down to the fact that, there is a low adoption of technology here in Ghana.
As you know, most truck drivers are illiterate and encouraging them to adopt tech has been a little challenging, but with more training and awareness campaigns, in terms of tech sensitization, it will get better, with time.
Most of the drivers do not have smartphones, to access our user-friendly app, but we are trying to find a way around this.
One other challenge has to do, with finance.
To grow this start-up, we need investors, as access to funds will ensure that we scale faster, in order for us, to try new things in the market.
CFAmedia.ng: Have you raised money before?
Caryl: Yes, we raised $100,000 in the MEST program.
Once investors see that, the idea has potentials and it is scalable, they invest.
That was how we got the funding of the $100,000.
CFAmedia.ng: When you are not busy with running your start-up, what do you do for fun?
Caryl: If I am not busy with my start-up, I cycle and play rugby. I, usually, go to the gym after work, trying to stay fit.
CFAmedia.ng: Do you have a favorite book?
Caryl: My favorite book would be, “The Alchemist”
CFAmediang: It’s so nice having the chat with you Caryl and we wish you the very best of luck.
Caryl: Thank you so much. Much love and respect.
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