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Abdulkader Almkinzy

SAUDI ARABIA - Transport

Abdulkader Almkinzy

CEO, Telgani

Bio

Abdulkader Almkinzy is CEO of Telgani.

"Our ambitions extend beyond borders, as we plan to expand into other countries in the near future."
TBY talks to Abdulkader Almkinzy, CEO of Telgani, about changes in the car rental industry, innovation, and strategic partnerships.
Can you provide an overview of Telgani’s operations in Saudi Arabia and its mission in revolutionizing the car rental industry?

Telgani was founded in 2019 as a car rental aggregator, inspired by platforms like carrental.com. At that time, there was a gap in the market for such services. Recognizing the tech-savvy nature of Saudi youth, who prefer app-based solutions for their needs, we launched our platform. Since then, we have made significant strides in improving transportation accessibility. Our customers can conveniently book cars through our app, and we ensure doorstep delivery across more than 40 cities. With a fleet of over 50,000 cars available on our platform, our presence has been firmly established in Saudi Arabia. However, our ambitions extend beyond borders, as we plan to expand into other countries in the near future.

What key innovations set Telgani apart from other traditional car rental companies, and what do the customers benefit?

Up until 2018, the conventional process for renting a car involved customers physically visiting branches or offices, bringing along various documents for negotiation while rental agents assessed potential risks like late returns or damages. However, Telgani has revolutionized this approach, leveraging automation to streamline operations and gain a competitive edge over traditional car rental companies. Through our platform, whether one is an expat or a visitor, renting a car is simplified to just a few clicks. By uploading their driver’s license, with just a few steps, customers can arrange for a car to be delivered directly to their home or the airport. Our journey toward this achievement involved significant collaboration with transportation authorities and car rental companies. In 2021, when Saudi Arabia witnesses many tourists from abroad, a challenge emerged: Many visitors could not readily rent cars. Telgani facilitated discussions between rental companies and the Saudi Transportation Authority, proposing a digital solution where visitors could input their passport or border numbers into the system for seamless processing of penalties. This initiative was successfully implemented, enabling most car rental companies to serve visitors. Additionally, we persuaded over 80 companies not to expand on branches but rather to utilize Telgani’s hub. Some 80% of our orders are delivery-based, with the remaining 20% catered to airport pickups. We assist rental companies in optimizing their operations by advising on zoning and integrating their fleets into our app, allowing for efficient management and vehicle operation. This streamlined process enables customers to order a car and have it delivered within an hour, regardless of their location. The pandemic served as a catalyst for our growth. Many companies partnered with us in 2021 with small fleets, but due to our efficient technology-driven approach, they rapidly expanded their fleets. Today, some partners manage over 5,000 cars through our platform, relying on us as their technology provider. Our services have evolved beyond short-term rentals. We now offer leasing options and are partnering with other platform for car sales, recognizing that rental companies often need to sell vehicles after a few years of use.

There are estimated more than 4.6 million car rental booking other than operation lease Saudi Arabia only. What strategies are you employing to remain relevant and increase your market share in the Kingdom?

Telgani operates as a strategic partner and technology provider for car rental companies, offering them a symbiotic relationship where we drive demand and enhance their operational efficiency. Despite many of these companies having their own apps, they prioritize working with us due to the value we bring. Our services include inventory management solutions and a user-friendly app for their drivers to facilitate quick car deliveries. To incentivize prompt service, we have implemented a reward program. For instance, drivers receive monetary rewards, shared equally between us and the rental company, for on-time deliveries. Our operations manager and CEOs of partner rental companies have access to an app that provides real-time insights into all orders, including delivery statuses and performance metrics. Moreover, we extend our support to car rental agents and drivers by offering guidance on the most sought-after vehicles and fair pricing strategies. For smaller companies aspiring to expand, we assist them in securing favorable deals with car dealerships by leveraging our partnership and knowledge of their financial standing to negotiate better terms. Our relevance lies in our collaborative approach, treating rental companies as true partners rather than merely clients.

Who are the primary consumers of Telgani’s services?

For the past four years, all our customers have been locals. However, there is also immense potential in catering to expatriates and tourists, given the challenges they faced. Initially, our focus was on capitalizing on the local customer base, refining our services before expanding to other segments. To better serve expatriates, we took several strategic steps. We began hiring English speakers for customer success roles, ensuring effective communication and support for non-local customers. Recognizing the need for improved translation in our app, we renegotiated terms with our partners, making it mandatory to hire expatriates for translation services. This shift is no longer optional but a requirement. To further facilitate expatriate rentals, we have reduced deposit requirements from the typical SAR3,000-5,000 to as low as SAR1,000-2,000, making it more accessible for them to utilize our services.

Are you actively seeking strategic partnerships?

Last year, we successfully closed our Series A funding round, This round helped us to grow in Airport and Railway stations. Moreover, introducing new products and serving corporates. Currently, we are actively meeting with strategic partners in automobile and mobility industry who align with our vision and can contribute significantly to our growth trajectory. Our ideal strategic partners include companies with a vested interest or expertise in tourism, transportation, and mobility. These sectors directly complement our business model and strategic goals.

What key priorities and goals are set in your 2024 agenda?

Our flagship project, Flex Lease, offers flexible mobility solutions across Saudi Arabia. Whether leasing a car in Riyadh and traveling to Jeddah, or catering to expatriates and visitors through partnerships with agents like Visit Saudi, we ensure all mobility needs are met seamlessly. Additionally, our B2B solution enables organizations to efficiently book vehicles for employees and visitors. Through Flex Lease, we aim to be the leading mobility platform, providing convenience and reliability to all users.

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