Every thriving business addresses vital societal needs. At Henotacemedia, our passion is guiding young believers toward understanding the essence of successful business – from the driving motive, execution, to scaling. Meet Mr. Vincent Okeke, C.E.O of Legit Car Africa, a visionary who bridged a significant gap in Nigeria by tackling the issue of car theft head-on.
David Oshin: What inspired your startup mission?
Vincent Okeke: A few years ago, I wanted to buy a used vehicle in Abuja. I found a vehicle I liked, but to my surprise, there was no fast and reliable way for me to verify if the vehicle had not been stolen. Considering the prevalence of vehicle theft in Nigeria, I realized that many unsuspecting buyers might unknowingly purchase stolen vehicles. This realization prompted me to take action. I reached out to some tech-savvy friends, and we identified this gap as an opportunity to make a positive change. We conducted thorough research, which led to the birth of Legit Car Africa. In essence, we launched Legit Car Africa as a stolen vehicle database. People who have lost their vehicles can report them as missing, and potential car buyers can ensure they are not purchasing stolen vehicles. This is how our journey began, and we’ve evolved into what we are today.
David Oshin: What technologies do you use to achieve your goal?
Vincent Okeke: We utilize a web application at legitcar.ng. To access our service, you need to visit the website and enter the vehicle’s chassis number. It’s a straightforward process. Additionally, we plan to launch a mobile application by December, catering to those who require our services regularly, such as car dealerships and more. Beyond being a stolen vehicle database, we now offer vehicle history reports, including Carfax vehicle history reports, which have the most comprehensive database on vehicle maintenance and history records worldwide.
David Oshin: How do you collaborate with the government to raise awareness?
Vincent Okeke: Remarkably, from day one, the government has been incredibly supportive. I say this not as a paid endorsement but as a fact. In our early stages, we received an endorsement from the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, which significantly enhanced our credibility. A few months ago, we were honored with the NSIA Innovation Prize, and the government invested in our business, taking a stake in it. This partnership demonstrates that our business is seen as a viable one. We have enjoyed substantial government support, and we are planning extensive publicity efforts in the coming months.
David Oshin: What is the market size of your business, and how are investors responding?
Vincent Okeke: The Nigerian market is substantial, with 1.8 to 2 million used vehicles sold annually. When you calculate the potential revenue from our verification services, it runs into millions of dollars. Moreover, we provide data to insurance companies, making it a substantial service with ample room for growth. The market is not saturated because access to data is a critical aspect for any business or startup entering this space.
David Oshin: What awareness strategies are you planning for the next few months?
Vincent Okeke: We are actively working on a comprehensive publicity plan. Our approach will be strategic, incorporating the lessons we’ve learned so far. We will create a budget and execute our plan, ensuring that it’s not just about making noise.
David Oshin: What is your relationship with Tony Elumelu?
Vincent Okeke: The Tony Elumelu Foundation was one of our initial sponsors, and we owe a significant part of our success to them. In 2018, they provided $5,000 in funding, which helped us launch our business in 2019. This partnership has been instrumental in our growth. Additionally, we provide data for Heirs Insurance, which is a part of the Tony Elumelu Group of companies.
David Oshin: Where do you envision the company in the next 10 years?
Vincent Okeke: The next 10 years is a whole lot of time, let’s say in the next few years we see our business as a significant player in the automotive industry. In the next 3-5 years, we aim to power over 80% of used vehicle transactions in Nigeria and expand our services to drive vehicle insurance processes across Africa. Furthermore, we plan to provide data to enhance law enforcement efforts in Nigeria.
The interview is edited for brevity and understanding
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