On Monday Gawana co-founder's gave a pitch/info session at Kigali's first IT open space: kLab. Klab is a nice mix of IT professionals and housed on the top floor of Telecom House where Carnegie Mellon University Rwanda is also located. During the pitch we explained how the platform will work and left the floor open for discussion. One common confusion about Gawana is that it's a taxi service like Uber. As explained on our website Gawana does not hire drivers but rather acts as a peer to peer sharing service like airbnb--someone has spare seats in their car and can post these seats to our platform to get interested passengers and share fuel costs.
This service has a clear benefit in many countries as we see ridesharing explode worldwide (even in emerging markets like India and Mexico). However, one of the challenges in particularly new markets is alleviating security concerns related to sharing journeys with potential strangers. While we believe these concerns will decrease as more users are active on the platform and have positive experiences, we are also trying to create security measures within the platform. Every registered user is required to have a profile that can include a link to their facebook profile as well as background information about themselves. Both drivers and passengers have control over who they ride with. Drivers can refuse ride requests and passengers and send requests to the drivers of their choice. We also have a rating system that allows users to rate both the passenger and driver after their shared journey.
The info session at kLab was met with lots of enthusiasm and good discussion. Participants also had the chance to sign up to be first testers of our alpha app. Currently we are working with developers from the start up Tunga (a platform of top African developers) and expect to have the bug free alpha version sent out very soon. We are looking forward to feedback from IT people and those interested in the service so if you missed the chance to sign up to be a first tester you can still sign up here.
We appreciate all the initial enthusiasm and support from the Kigali community. We are looking forward to rolling out a full version of the app middle of this year. To keep up to date like our facebook page.