Struggles of a Startup: Ever heard of ‘Fill ya tank’?

Over the last decade, information technology has swept through every fragment of our lives as Africans, influencing every of our daily activities—from the most basic to the fearfully complex. Today, we simply source for news on Twitter, shop from a host of online megastores, stock our fridges with cooked food by placing an order off the phone, and hail a cab directly from our bedrooms.

Uche Dim is furthering this cause with Fill Ya Tank, an app that lets you find the closest petrol station anywhere in the country and allows you compare prices directly from your mobile phone, especially now that retailers can sell at any price in the N135 – N145 range. Uche’s revolutionary service gained significant recognition during the recent fuel crisis that had Nigerians sleeping in petrol stations and buddy-ing up black marketers.

In this interview, Uche shares with us his vision for Fill Ya Tank and how he expects to further ease the lives of Nigerians by leveraging technological advancements.

Vision behind Fill Ya Tank

We believe we can make life easy for you, we believe we can make life easy for ourselves and we believe we can come together to do that. This is our vision:- bringing everyone together to build a Strong community.

How the app works

Download FillYaTank from Apple App Store (IOS Users) or Google Play store (Android Users) or Amazon app store (Blackberry Android users) -> Register using your mobile number -> After registering you will then have access to be able to: Choose a state – to see list of locations that filling stations are in, Choose a location – to see list of filling stations in the chosen location. You can also Search by street, area, town to find a location.

If you are registered as a spotter (A spotter is someone who can report prices as sold in a filling station), you can report price and availability for a station by clicking or pressing on the name of the station and it will take you to UPDATE PAGE where you can report the price and availability of a chosen station.

How to become a Spotter – For android users you have to chance to become a spotter right from when you are registering to use the app. For every user including Android users go to SETTINGS-> BECOME A SPOTTER -> GIVE YOURSELF A 6 LETTER NICKNAME AND SUBMIT. Simple you are now a Spotter.

Spotters have the chance to win 3000 Naira daily when they spot or report 5 filling stations in a day. When you spot or report up to 5 station you automatically enter the day’s draw, to win 3000 Naira and to become the “Top Spotter” for the day.

Benefits Fill Ya Tank offers current and potential users

It helps Users save time and money. The bigger picture is to give power or change the power to buyers of fuel products, instead of the Producers and the Sellers of Fuel products. Which is why building a strong community is important.

Other problem(s) does Fill Ya Tank helps tackle

There is this problem in Nigeria where consumers beg to use service providers, instead of services providers competing for the attention of consumers. We want FillYaTank to be an example that helped facilitate such change. That is what we hope to achieve by building community of spotters. If we can help each other report prices and we always or most of time buy where Petrol, diesel, kerosene or gas is cheaper, it means Filling station with high price will have less customers, which will mean less income for them. To meet up they will have to compete, to compete, they will have to reduce prices and do Sales, or bonanza, which ultimately result to FILLING STATIONS COMPETING FOR THE ATTENTION OF CONSUMERS. It is happening already. In Port Harcourt, a Filling station at Peter Odili Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers, did a Bonanza of 144Naira/liter.  Have you ever seen that before ever? A filling station doing Bonanza to get the attention of Consumers? This is the change we want at FillYaTank, this is one of the reason’s we built FillYaTank for.

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Services open to people beyond Nigeria’s major cities

We want it to be beyond Nigerian major cities, in fact we built it, in way that will facilitate it, being beyond major Nigerian cities by allowing users to add Filling stations or tell us via our social media pages a location that is not yet in the application and we will almost immediately add it. We also intend for it to extend to the entire African continent.

Acceptance is great but there’s a long road ahead

We appreciate the numbers so far, but we need more people to download and also register as spotters and report prices and availability to make it a very effective and real time app. We are aware that things that are this disruptive takes a bit of time for people to get use to, but we are hopeful that people will soon get the hang of it and in effect make their lives easy and also save them money and time.

How Information Technology has helped in enhancing business prospects

It has helped a great deal. I mean you now stay in your room and reach up 3000 people with 10 Dollars (Approximately 3000 Naira) with Facebook, Instagram or twitter ads. That is just amazing. With the use of SEO you can get your website shown when people search Google about anything concerning filling stations. Which sometimes might not cost you much if you know how SEO works. You can create a content that is interesting enough for people to want to share it on social media. Bottom line, you can reach more people by innovating and not necessarily having loads of money in the bank for marketing.

Getting to remote locations

It is extremely difficult to get to remote location as funds are limited, but we intend to do a very good job in major cities, so much so that “Word of mouth” will then push FillYaTank to the remote locations, before we start coming up with plans to conquer remote locations properly.

Commercialising Fill Ya Tank

The aim of FillYaTank is to make life easy for people and we are planning to launch ‘online mobile filling stations’ in the nearest future, where products are ordered and delivered to you in the convenience of your home or office.‎ We are working hard to see that happen as soon as possible.

Not there yet

We can’t actually claim success now, because the figures surrounding FillYaTank do not say success yet. But it says “Great potential for success” and so we have to keep working to learn and know our users more, find out which directions they want us to go which indeed will or could mean new products and or services for our current and potential new users, like the “online mobile Filling stations” mentioned previously.

Quick Fire Questions

Favorite business brand?

Google

Favourite business leader?

Steve Jobs

Most Inspiring Quote?

“Don’t find a chance to complain, find chance’s solve problems.”

Most admired Nigerian Entrepreneur?

Jason Njoku –  founder of IrokoTv

Top Travel Destination?

U.S.A