Getting a road map designed by a Nigerian has its unique advantages. The idea of specificity plays a crucial role in determining the judgement of the efficiency of an app. For Lara.ng, turning up for Nigerians when they need a road guide was the goal. 8 years later, the platform seems almost forgotten even by the people it was created for.
Samuel Odeloye, Nnamdi Nwanze and Ladi Ojora launched Lara.ng in 2014 after well-structured data on transit routes, bus stops and local transport rates had been collected the previous year. Lara.ng is not your regular auto map. Its easy-to-use interface connoted a made-in-Nigerian for Nigerians mindset for users.
Lara.ng was created with the intention of creating an engaging platform for everyday road users as they navigate the streets of Lagos. Lara.ng is not just a platform that tells you what direction to drive, it is software caters for the real Lagosians; the danfo-driving, bike climbing and even the Uber-riding Lagosians.
Lara is supposed to be that great friend that’s helping Nigerians get to places. The platform’s great assistant offers users a God’s eye view of Nigeria. All users needed was to open the page and follow the interactive session to get clear and direct instructions.
Lara.ng conveys adopts a Whatsapp-like interface where users can chat with an assistant and get directions to a destination. Lara functions as the friend that one can call on 24/7 when they’re in a bind, to get directions. It’s basically the girlfriend who knows the area like the back of hand.
So what has happened to arguably the best direction guide for Nigerians? Lara should be talking expansion right now. It is sad that expansion is not the case at the moment as the platform is barely noticed by anyone.
Is Lara.ng having a funding Issue?
Lara.ng has been almost bootstrapped save the Facebook FBStart grant of $25,000 it received in 2018. The CEO had complained in 2018 that the startup had had conversations with several investors but none have made actual commitments. This is never a good experience for startups look to scale as they can barely escape insolvency.
The CEO also claimed that hiring had been a major challenge for the startup. The explained that they had difficulty getting employees whose salary expectations fits their budget. Although they needed people who could quickly hit the ground running upon employment, they could not get them because of their budget.
Also, because Google maps are preloaded in most android devices, a large number of Nigerians thinks it is the best map software available for them. Save its growing popularity in Lagos and Abuja, the Lara.ng is yet to be on the lips of the Nigerians. The same people that really need the software on a daily basis.
These are problems that could be fixed through funding. The platform’s solution remains significant in solving mobility issues in Nigeria, but this remains a shadow. The question remains, what happened to Lara.ng?