By Tamara Pupic
How Sebastian Stefan, founder of LoadME, built his freight exchange business in the UAE.
Our latest Entrepreneur of the Week is Sebastian Stefan, founder of LoadME, an online marketplace for freight exchange.
Earlier this year, LoadME won the first Dubai Smartpreneur competition launched by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Smart Dubai Office.
Furthermore, LoadME has been winning competition after competition in the region’s entrepreneurship space, including the TURN8 Demo Day, the Intel Challenge, and the MENA ID Cristal Congress.
Stefan’s innovative business solution also received the Smart Living City People’s Choice Award and the Global Innovation Summit Sustainability Award.
LoadME is an online platform that uses GPS tracking to connect load owners with available lorries and arrange pickups in their area, with prices starting from as little as $50.
Stefan explains that in the last six months more than 10,000 users have registered on the platform, with about 15 percent of trials being converted into subscribed users.
Not only is LoadME a solution that accelerates time in the logistics industry, but it is on a mission to reduce total carbon footprint in the UAE by 10 percent, Stefan adds.
“Since we introduced a totally new concept to this region, we first had to raise awareness about our solution to the problems which were perceived unsolvable before,” he says. “We also had to convince our users to change their behaviour by starting to use a web platform to communicate instead of making phone calls.”
The start-up is supported by DP World through its TURN8 Accelerator, and Prime Venture Partners.
LoadME supports Catalin Voicu, a racing driver who won the Best Novice Driver Award 2015 at the Radical Middle East Cup.
“We will soon be launching a challenge for our truck drivers, to reward those who have got the best reviews on the platform with a tour of the Dubai Autodrome,” adds Stefan. “We want to convey a message that racing is for the circuit and not for the street. In this way we want to contribute to Dubai’s initiatives to reduce car accidents.”
By the end of 2016, the LoadME team plans to launch the Arabic and Urdu versions of the platform and consolidate their position in other GCC countries.
“If you are in the UAE and want to become an entrepreneur, you have no excuse not to execute your idea because you can get a lot of support and mentorship from people who simply want to help,” says Stefan. “Having no money is not an excuse either. You need to scale down the business to what you can do and soon enough you will have the followers who will finance your project.”
Submit your nomination
Do you know an entrepreneur who deserves to be our Entrepreneur of the Week?
Please explain in 200 words why your entrepreneur of choice deserves the Entrepreneur of the Week accolade and send your nominations to email@example.com
Please note that the final decisions are made at the discretion of our editorial team.
For information, tips and advice on setting up a new business or insights from those who have taken the leap into the world of entrepreneurship, click on the Arabian Business StartUp section.
Interesting idea but 6 companies in USA and Europe have all closed down after raising millions to make this model work. Factors were insurance of loads, employee / contractor status, rates and logistics. Good luck to this company but based on others, this is not the UBER of trucking, its limited and full of hidden costs and risks that a startup either passes on to a client or subsidises with investor capital.
Is this platform including trucks for transport of containers, or only small bulk loads?
Thanks for comment. Can you please name those companies in USA and Europe that have shut down their operations? I'm curious as I'm making a research on this topic. Thanks