My Business Story

Is Your Tokunbo Car Legit? New App Offers A Solution

Buying a second-hand car just got a bit safer, thanks to an award-winning app developed by three friends: Okeke Vincent, Samuel Ikechukwu Ogbujimma and Inimfon Ukpong

How does one avoid buying a stolen tokunbo car, except by taking the dealer’s word for it?

When Okeke Vincent, Samuel Ikechukwu Ogbujimma and Inimfon Ukpong went shopping for a car at a popular car stand in Abuja in August 2016, they told themselves that relying only on the dealer’s word was not good enough.
That was how they conceived LegitCar, a venture that uses an app to confirm whether the car had been registered as a stolen vehicle, saving the would-be buyer from potentially serious trouble in case it was.
The team lead, Vincent, recalled: “We went to check out a tokunbo car and to test drive it. The price was right. Everything about it seemed okay. But there was something else we needed to know: How were we sure this was not a stolen vehicle?”
In an effort to answer the question, the three friends started developing an app in September 2016 and, by November, it was already running on the web and mobile phones. 
It was Vincent’s idea, but he relied on his two friends, Ogbujimma and Ukpong, who have ICT background, to nurse the idea to life.
The LegitCar app works by pooling data of reported stolen vehicles from relevant authorities and insurance firms, so that when an active user wants to buy a car, the buyer can use the app to confirm whether the car had been registered as a stolen vehicle in the LegitCar database.
Apart from functioning as a car-theft deterrent, the app can also be used for car verification, tracking, and sales aggregation.
The quality of the service, therefore depends highly on the quality and scale of LegitCar’s database.  
“People are running searches every day,” Okeke said. “Now, imagine a situation where vehicle owners or buyers know about LegitCar, and use the app to track missing vehicle or to verify the legitimacy of the vehicle they want to buy.”
He said even though the company’s current database is still in its infancy, “With time, we will get there.”

That time does not appear to be very far. A few weeks ago, LegitCar participated in the first UN-sponsored hackathon held in Lagos for IT entrepreneurs and emerged one of the three firms to represent Nigeria in a global competition at the UN in June.
Influx Trust, the UN partners that organised the Lagos hackathon, has also put LegitCar on its crowd-funding platform.
So far, LegitCar has gulped over N2.5 million in personal contributions by the co-founders without generating any significant returns on investment.
About 1,500 monthly users may not sound like a large number for an app designed to prevent the public from buying stolen vehicles, but Vincent, Ogbujimma and Ukpong said they are working hard to raise the numbers.
They have approached the Police for collaboration, which could grant them access to the police missing-car database. This could be a potential game changer, but they are worried about the negative impact of bureaucracy.

According to Okeke, there is a bigger dream to make LegitCar a launch pad for bigger and more valuable ICT data services. However, LegitCar’s immediate concern is to prevent your next visit to a tokunbo car shop from landing you in police net.