Start-up of the week: Cmontaxi wants a fleet of taximen-owners in Dakar
In the Cedeao area, more than 90% of the 130,000 active taxi drivers are renters of their vehicles. The start-up of Aziz Senni proposes to change the situation, starting with the Senegalese capital.
Ten thousand francs CFA (15 euros). This is the average daily rent to be paid by the approximately 20,000 taxi drivers operating in Dakar. “With an average salary of 600 euros per month, they do not earn enough money to access conventional bank loans or leasing formulas offered by car manufacturers,” says Aziz Senni, a forty-something Franco-Moroccan who created Cmontaxi in 2015 in the Senegalese capital, where he made his home the same year.
The concept: develop a system of hire-sale of vehicles, associated with a package including maintenance and insurance, coupled with the use of taxis as mobile advertising media and a mobile application to connect drivers and customers.
Aziz Senni is not at his first attempt: defining himself as a “serial entrepreneur”, he created his first start-up in Mantes-la-Jolie, France, in 2000. A transport company in the demand, already, that he considers as “the ancestor of Uber”. Since then, he has pursued an entrepreneurial career, creating in particular, in France, a network of rental agencies for passenger vehicles and utilities, while investing in politics: he is one of the co-founders of the Union of Independent Democrats (UDI), alongside Jean-Louis Borloo, Yves Jégo, Hervé Morin and Rama Yade.
Born in 1976 in Khouribga, Morocco, Aziz Senni obtained in 1997 a BTS of transport and logistics. Eager for years to work internationally, he starts in 2015, and puts his suitcases in the district of Mermoz, Dakar, that made him discover a friend.
There, he quickly launched a market survey of more than 250 taxi drivers in Dakar and developed his model: “I decided to allow these drivers to become owners of their taxi, without input or guarantee, to train them managing their microenterprise and helping them reduce their insurance and maintenance costs, “says Senni.
The adventure begins in May 2015, with a training of eighty hours for about fifty taxi drivers, delivered in partnership with a French business school. The latter could then submit a file to join Cmontaxi, and take the wheel of a vehicle they will become owners in thirty-six, forty-two or forty-eight months, depending on the chosen formula.
This lease-purchase route is currently underway for six of them, others still have their case under review, says Aziz Senni. The latter explains having negotiated, alongside these contracts, partnerships with insurers Axa and Saham, as well as with four mechanical garages that provide a commission to the business provider while guaranteeing a competitive price to drivers financed by “Cmontaxi “.
As a result, Cmontaxi can offer a rental of vehicles at 9,000 F CFA per day, “10% less than the competition”, says the founder of the platform, while generating 196% of commercial margin. In addition, the rental of advertising spaces for taxis generates an additional income for the young company. As for the communication with the customers, it is managed via a mobile application “free for the first 300 drivers who will use it”, indicates the contractor.
Ambitions in other French-speaking cities
If, with six taxis now and only one employee, a head of operations based in Dakar, Cmontaxi starts small, its founder, who has invested 100,000 euros in personal funds in his business sees big: he launched a fundraising of 800 000 euros (on which he indicates having already obtained 110 000 euros from three business angles French) from international investors interested in the transport sector in Africa, in order to duplicate his model in other cities, such as Yaounde, Libreville or Abidjan, “where drivers have the same problems of access to financing,” said Aziz Senni.
Its goal: to reach 750 vehicles in three years, for a turnover of 3 million euros on the only Dakar pilot site, and 3,000 taxis in seven years, throughout Africa. French-speaking West.