Nearest Locator is a location based mobile app that helps you easily and accurately find nearest places to you; places like: ATMs, Banks, Eateries, Hospitals, Pharmacies, Police Stations, Events and Promos/deals etc., closest to you, with their detailed information like contact info and location on map.
Last week, a Mobility crew made up of Mister Mo and Omonzua Akhabue met up at Co-Creation Hub, Lagos with the team of developers of the app. We sat to chat about their app and the journey so far. The Nearest Locator team is made up of Ayoola Ajebeku whose role is that of coding, and Andrew Ogewele who handles the business aspect of the project.
Mister Mo: What is Nearest Locator? How does it work?
Andrew Ogewele: Think of a guy wanting to hangout, and looking for where to hangout. Or a pregnant woman who is out shopping and who suddenly goes into labour and is looking for a hospital close to where she she is. Consider a business man (say a shoe maker) who wants to buy leather but finds that the money with him is not enough. There is no POS machine around, so he begins to look for a bank close to where he is to withdraw more money for the purchase. With these scenarios, Nearest Locator helps people find or locate points of interest e.g. banks, churches, mosques, police stations, eateries and so on. For a person in such a situation, he lunches the app on his mobile phone, sees a page that gives a list of options and then clicks on the particular interest. For instance if looking for a bank, he taps on “Banks”. The app presents a list of banks close to that person at that particular location. He then picks the option that he prefers. As he clicks on the option, he sees the details of that particular one and directions of how to get there from where he is.
Mister Mo: Splendid. That sounds very useful. Is this a mobile specific app or is it a web app?
Ayoola Ajebeku: It is a mobile app, running on Java platform on Nokia (Asha) phones.
Omonzua Akhabue: What is the story behind the making of this app? How did it come about?
Ayoola Ajebeku: This is Sabo just some metres away from here. There was a day when we wanted to post a letter, and we were looking for the nearest post office. I trekked all around, all the way to Yaba from here looking for a NIPOST office. It was at Yaba that someone told us that we had to come back to Sabo bus stop. Sabo is just there. It was painful after the long journey to be told that what we were looking for was just here. There is no signboard there to indicate a NIPOST office. That brought the idea of helping people find close points of interest and places they didn’t know existed. It was an idea for sometime, then Growth Academy came along, and we were taught how to implement our ideas.
Mister Mo: What is Growth Academy about?
Ayoola Ajebeku: It is a programme center where you bring your ideas and you are helped to develop them into a real product that you can monetize.
Mister Mo: How long did it take to build this?
Ayoola Ajebeku: Within two months.
Mister Mo: What kind of consultations did you need to get this, the information, landmarks, phone calls and walking around did you have to do?
Andrew Ogbewele: Because it is a location-based app we leaned on Google. Being Nigerians we concentrated on the Nigerian market, basically Lagos because of its huge market and activities.
1) We sourced for places ourselves. We walked around and spoke with businesses to list with us. We got a very good response from businesses wanting to use this app.
2) We got volunteers who found us places we didn’t have on our list.
3) We also told our users to help us get places that is not on our data base.
4) Nokia has also been helpful with the Nokia maps.
Ayoola Ajebeku: We intend extending to other platforms. Nokia has played a major role in this for development. We spent a month at CcHub being taught by Nokia.
Omonzua Akhabue: How did you monetize this app?
Andrew Ogbewele: There are challenges monetizing web or mobile based services. We spent months thinking on how to monetize it. 95% of businesses we contacted said it was a good idea.
1) most businesses signed up immediately by filling a form which will contained their data. We also send them feedback on how people are responding.
2) event listing
3) for vendors who help install our app on the people’s phones, installing is free.
Omonzua Akhabue: How soon are you getting on other mobile platforms?
Ayoola Ajebeku: We have beta versions of our app. We are working on the Andriod platform already. It will be ready by May.
Mister Mo: What is the future? Where do you see this in years head?
Andrew Ogbewele: When Google started their search engine, they did not know how the future was going to look like. Today they are like the power house. For us, I can say we are lucky. Thank God that our app can sustain as a business. We are already established as a business. We are also analysing people’s businesses and getting tickets for shows.
Ayoola Ajebeku: Another thing is that we are expanding, and getting downloads as far as India, which is encouraging and exciting.
Mister Mo: Ayoola, please tell us about yourself.
Ayoola Ajebeku: I am a developer. I attended NIIT and learnt software Engineering. Growth Academy also helped, and reading online helped too. Nokia helped in brushing me up to international standards.
Mister Mo: Andrew, how about you? Please tell us about yourself.
Andrew Ogbewele: I studied Accounting. After school, Chris Okorcha taught me a couple of things in business after we met at a software tutorial class. In the advent of that, we did some work together.
We wish the Nearest Locator team all the best in this fantastic venture. In the meantime, you can visit the Nearest Locator website to download the app to your Nokia S40 phones.