By Mohammed Shamsi
Saudi app Morni is your summer road savior.
“I got a flat tire.” That’s how Salman Al Suhaibaney, founder and CEO of Morni, described his eureka moment, in August 2013, when he first thought of his now thriving app.
“I couldn’t fix the tire myself, so I drove to the closest gas station looking for a tow truck. I couldn’t find any. I thought to myself ‘Why can’t it be as easy as Uber?’ Being stuck in the middle of nowhere, I was reminded how Uber tracks your location exactly, making the process much easier. This was the problem we were trying to solve.”
Towing cars, tire repairs (on the spot), battery charging and replacement, car transportation, plus petrol pumping (for those who forget to fill their gas tanks) are the main services provided by Morni, who aim to become “the automotive hub” of the region, as Al Suhaibaney put it (Morni is now active across the GCC, along with Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt).
Uber was the inspiration. Morni used a similar business model. “That way, we can track the quality of the experience with our customers while ensuring that no abuses happen, pricing-wise.” Development began in April 2014, launching in July 2015.
Their biggest challenge? Ensuring their platform keeps on working. “There was no documentation,” says CTO Abdullah Al Yahya. “When I first joined, I had to learn the coding language for the platform over six months. The mobile version was another headache; it was a black box that we needed to figure out.”
Redevelopment began in July last year. “Starting from scratch; that was the biggest challenge we had. But it was worth it, because now we know our code inside out.”
“We jumped off a cliff, building our wings on the way down,” was how Al Suhaibaney put it. “Today, we’re better, faster, smoother and more user-friendly.”
“Our success was from word of mouth; from customers who are using the service. Our focus was on ensuring a quality experience for individuals and corporate customers: in terms of follow up with customer care, providing more services, proposing value rides for people who need us. In terms of advertisements, we have sponsorships in motorsports.
The Saudi Champion in Drifting for 2016 was a Morni driver, along with motorsports events (The local Dodge club among them).
They’re also considered a strategic service provider for some companies, as they’re very active in the transportation and logistics for the automotive industry, with tens of trips daily going from warehouses to branches and customers, especially for the exotic car market.”
What do you owe your success to?
Good team, with passion to drive growth of the business; that’s our biggest success factor.
What made you choose this business?
It’s a green field. There are no standards or benchmarks; we want to be the standard. We want to be the AAA of the region.