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Covid-19: Tunisian bike taxi startup IntiGo temporarily pivots to delivery services because of Coronavirus

Tunisian bike-taxi startup has temporarily pivoted to offer different types of delivery services to consumers and businesses because of Coronavirus, it told MENAbytes today.

The startup that had raised $300,000 last month has completely suspended the ride-hailing service during the daytime as it saw the demand drop enormously, IntiGo’s co-founder and CEO Bassem Bouguerra said, in a conversation with MENAbytes.

Tunisia had announced on Friday that a lockdown will come into effect across the country from today (Sunday) to control the spread of Coronavirus. The country at the time of writing has 75 confirmed Covid-19 cases and three deaths.

IntiGo’s bike-hailing service still remains active from 6 pm until midnight but mostly to help nurses, police officers and others who work during the lockdown.

The two delivery services that IntiGo has launched include a concierge service that allows users to book an IntiGo captain to run their errands on an hourly basis for about TND 12 ($4) an hour.

The second service allows grocery stores to deliver groceries to their users. IntiGo has already partnered with multiple grocery stores to do this on their behalf and is in discussion with many to onboard them too. The orders are received and prepared by themselves.

Both services are available in Grand Tunis (Tunis, Ariana, Ben Arous), “We are receiving a lot of requests from potential customers and partners asking us to expand our services to other major cities including Sfax, Sousse, and Nabeul. We are looking into it.” said Bassem.

IntiGo had plans to launch a concierge service next month with its new app but they decided to prepone the launch after witnessing a drop in ride-hailing and surge in demand for delivery services.

“As time is pressing, we decided to launch [the delivery services] last week and have been receiving orders on our Facebook page, phone and Google Forms. These are very difficult times and our users cannot wait for another month for the launch of new app to be able to order the delivery service,” noted Bassem, speaking to MENAbytes.

The startup also had plans to launch a food delivery service but has put those plans on hold for now.

All the 60 bikes that IntiGo currently has are owned by it. Its captains, however, are not on IntiGo’s payroll. But Bassem explained that they’re now looking to onboard independent captains with their own scooters and even cars as the demand is growing exponentially.

The users are currently using the concierge service to order groceries, books and even send cash to each other, with about 80 percent of orders for groceries.

Speaking about the safety measures IntiGo is taking, Bassem said that they’re following the instructions of the Tunisian Health Ministry by having their captains use gloves and facemasks. It is also instructing them to clean the bikes in regular intervals with cleaning gel and bleach.

IntiGo’s decision to pivot to delivery services, it said is temporary. The startup will continue to change its offerings to align with the market.

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Founder at MENAbytes
A tech and startup enthusiast based in Lahore, Pakistan. Zubair apart from leading MENAbytes is also building Qraar, a career discovery and development platform for millennials in MENA. He can be reached on Linkedin, Twitter or zubair [at] menabytes [dot] com.
Zubair Naeem Paracha
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