Ever had your car break down in the middle of the road? Then when you had to fix it, you ended up paying $5000 instead of a $100. Looking back at the incident, you now realized that you simply needed to replace your front brake pads, but somehow your mechanic convinced you that you had to change the brake rotors, the timing belt, the oil, the filters, the battery and half the drive train as well as the tires.
Oh Yes… you can blame your own ignorance, idiocy or what not?
You can even heed the Daily Star’s advice and go read Car forums online. But why would you do that, if you only knew about Dryvlist’s existence.
Dryvlist… What Exactly Is It?
Dryvlist is a platform, a website which allows you to have your automotive in one place. In short, it will help you find everything you are looking for related to your car.
Imagine being able to look up all the nearby garages that fit your specific problem at your specific location!
Not only that, you will also be able to find which garages cater to your specific car make, and where your specific car parts can be found.
If you don’t even want to go to the garage you can search for the garages that offer road assistance on the site itself.
A list of all the related garages will appear. You can then filter them according to distance, or from newest to oldest. Depending on the category chosen, filters can include everything from general to all sorts of mechanical services and beyond.
The great thing about Dryvlist is you can directly contact the garage of your choice without thinking twice about the garage’s credibility, because the search has already been done for you. You can even get direct road assistance by searching for it, and calling the relevant garage.
So whose behind the Idea?
How Did He Come up with It?
Back in 2014, Abed Wehbe was struggling with the same old car problems we all struggle with. His Golf car broke down in the middle of the road. After a lot of huff and puff trying out different mechanics, and wasting a lot of money and time, as well as stressing out Abed ended up selling it for a mere $4500 after having bought it for $10,000. What more,the same issue happened with a friend of his, only that friend ended up paying a whole lot more.
Finally, Abed had had enough.
Since he already worked in the sales insurance industry, he realized he could collect all the garage addresses in the country, and make it possible for regular people to have access to the proper garage of their choice. Having went through a lot of difficulties with his car, Abed knew that successfully fixing any car problem highly relied on specialized expertise.
“Today, if you have a BMW, you cannot go to a garage which fixes Honda, or Hyundai! Times have changed; in the olden days you could go to any mechanic to fix your car. Nowadays cars are computerized, so it’s not enough to go to any garage. You have to make sure the garage caters to your car make, and has parts for your specific car make. In a way, Dryvlist has solved that problem because it showcases all the garages relevant to your search. It also allows you to contact them directly”, noted Abed.
Motivation & Inspiration
The idea had been lingering in Abed’s mind ever since 2014, but he truly got motivated to take action when he was scrolling through one of Entreprenergy’s posts on Facebook, where Andre Abi Awad dared to challenge his readers to take action by asking them whether they would launch their business if they were offered $15000.
Probing further, Abed learned from Andre that World Bank ISME Kafalat was offering a grant of $15000 for good start up ideas. So, he took courage and applied under the name of PartsNjobs. Through thorough preparation he won, but things didn’t go as planned.
Struggles Along the Way
Though he had won, Abed was not able to spend the full $15000 in six months as required. Instead he had only spent $5000 since he was cautious on how to spend it as every penny spent had to be reported on. Thus, the $5000 spent was mainly on logo, business design etc… He also struggled greatly with freelance developers as they would start and then stop mid -way once they found a full time job.
However, he learned a lot from such mistakes; he learned to always follow up with the developer daily or weekly, to give directions in written form, and most importantly to sign a non-disclosure agreement, an NDA, with freelancers.
An NDA creates a confidential relationship between parties to protect any type of confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets. As such, an NDA protects non-public business information.
Abed also applied for accelerators; however, since he had no team he couldn’t continue with them.
“That was really an obstacle. I was a working man; I was willing to sit in the accelerator for three months, but I couldn’t get my brother who lives in France to leave everything to come sit with me for my dream. The accelerator model mostly fits fresh graduates! There should be other models for working people. Not all are graduates”, noted Abed
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Having consulted his brother Rami for development advice, and through his own efforts, Abed managed to build Dryvlist’s website in early January 2018.
Currently Dryvlist has 200+ garages listed on its site, as well as 40,000 visits ever since adopting a tracking system four months ago.
Abed credits his success to his seventeen years of experience, his hard work and small team which consists of his brother, himself, and a few well selected freelancers. Mostly his background and experience greatly helped him pave the way forward. After all, he has tackled many fields: procurement, sales, logistics and aircraft maintenance. He has worked in different countries: Qatar, Nigeria, and Lebanon. Thus, his “know-how” is comprehensive and all encompassing since he also strove to gain relevant certificates along the way. A major one is his Certificate in International Supply Chain Management CISCM.
Supporters Along the Way
Other than his brother Rami, Abed would like to thank a few amazing people who assisted him along the way.
- Fadi Abbas, founder of Mobsting, a wonderful friend and mentor who was always there to answer his every question
- Jessica Abou Haidar, founder & creative director of Takween, and Gaelle Meouchy, Takween’s community manager, who designed the first look and feel of Dryvlist concept
After all, he acknowledges that “one hand alone cannot clap.”
Dryvlist’s Future Vision
The future vision involves a short-term and a long-term one.
The short-term one involves offering a VIP service for regular users. Once a user registers their name, and car number they can have access to that service. The VIP service allows users to directly have their cars’ needs catered too. This means they do not have to search or call the desired garage, rather Dryvlist’s staff will conduct all that hard work for them. This service of course will come at a charge.
The long term vision involves scaling and expanding Dryvlist’s model all over Lebanon and across other countries. A mobile application is on its way too.
Advice for New Entrepreneurs
For new entrepreneurs, Abed recommends they do their market research before they launch their product.
“It’s important to conduct a needs analysis, or market survey to check the feasibility of the idea. You should also have planned the life cycle of the application or business. Additionally, make sure your business requirements are well written and communicated so that your developer really gets what you want. Make sure to sign an NDA with your freelance developers. Last but not least, persevere and trust in God”, says Abed.
Wishes for the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in the Region
Dryvlist’s entrepreneur noted that accelerators in Lebanon follow the Silicon Valley model’s approach which does not necessarily fit what Lebanese entrepreneurs really need. This is also what other Arab entrepreneurs like Ibrahim H. Al-Zararee, Hani W. Nagui, and Rola Fayyad highly agree with according to a post by
Abed also commented that there is too much emphasis on pitching and presentation skills. Rather than give entrepreneurs real-life honest advice on what they should do and how to proceed, it’s mostly a show where the best presenter wins.
This also coincides with what managing partner of Kuwait-based VC firm Faith Capital, Abdulaziz Alloughani states according to Paracha’s MENAbytes, July 12 post.
“We don’t need case studies to fill in college courses, we don’t need articles to post on the web/magazines, we don’t need stories to tell on a podcast or on the news, we don’t need wannabes telling entrepreneurs what to do. We need real entrepreneurs to start being more active in the community without spreading themselves too thin. We need real life experiences and learnings to be shared first-hand. We need founders to be more forward in sharing their experiences with managers publicly.”Abdulaziz Alloughani
Finally, whether accelerators in Lebanon and the MENA in general are effective or not highly depends on many factors like :being transparent, and working on having more comprehensive, honest, ongoing, practical start-up programs as suggested by Haidar Al Mosawi, cofounder of Sirdab Lab, on MENAbytes.
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Also published on Medium.