The frightening thought of your car breaking down out of nowhere really scares the hell out!! But worry not!! Auto-Sahulat is a digital marketplace that connects mechanics with motorists through the website, mobile application and even a call center.
So we sat with the innovative duo behind this amazing start-up: Mohsin Amjad (Co-Founder And CEO) & Ghazanfar Iqbal (Co-Founder And CMO) to discuss further about this brainchild.
For starters, I would like to ask what is the Auto Sahulat? What is the main idea behind it?
To make it very simple, we wanted to address the hassle of road-side assistance for vehicle breakdown. We ourselves experienced this problem with our vehicles and observed that there is no streamline solution and that’s when we started working on it. Thus, we formed AutoSahulat which connects mechanics with motorists (vehicle owners and drivers) for road-side assistance and other vehicle related services through a website, mobile application and a call center.
Could you share with us how the idea came into your mind?
I (Mohsin) experienced a flat tire issue on my bike and had to drag the bike for couple of Kilometers on a hot summer day with my 7-year-old daughter just to get a basic flat tire issue fixed. I could not find a nearby shop on Google maps nor there was any other platform at that time. This issue actually got me thinking and I started working on providing solution to people with such problems through the means of incorporating technology.
Was it challenging to be first in the market?
It definitely was and still is, as with every new concept it’s not easy to convince all the stakeholders involved to believe in what you are building up. For investors it’s about numbers, for us it’s the vision, for customers it’s about price and quality. The other thing is that the business model keeps evolving over the time period based on the feedback we receive in real time but the idea is to get started and then refine it accordingly.
You had the opportunity to travel and present your idea both nationally and internationally, how has been the experience?
It has been simply a roller-coaster ride with ups and downs, the long nights preparing for the pitch to be perfect in terms of not only what you are explaining but the timing, the eye contact and hand gestures. Nothing was left to a chance, so the experience has made us more confident and resourceful in addressing all the issues involved in running a company from matters of registering your company to talking to investors, planning out the customer acquisition cost to pitching in front of over 500 people in Google APAC in Singapore. To summarize 10 years of corporate experience did taught us a lot but it was nothing compare to a year we have started working on our startup.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
Be consistent and giving your 100% is where you need to start from, the other important thing to keep in consideration is that most founders are so in love with their idea that usually they do not pivot even when the numbers are telling them to do so. So don’t be stringent with your idea it has to evolve so be open to that. Also, failure is only failure when you give up. If something does not work, we should learn from it and try something different. There are times when motivation goes down, but we have to start true to our long term vision and be willing to learn and be open.
What has been the most rewarding part of your start-up so far?
The first and only Pakistani team to get selected by Antler and Raising a pre-seed round was definitely the highlight of our journey.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Never stop learning and be open for feedback, for pivoting, and for making tough decisions. Don’t just get into entrepreneurship because everyone is doing so or because it sounds cool to get into.
Our experience certainly tells us that it’s not an easy thing; you will be giving up on a lot. The future is uncertain and be ready for sleepless nights and giving up on your family and social time. It’s stressful to run a startup and is an uphill task, so be very clear and committed when you decide to follow this path.