At the age of 31, Martin Mugo, the CEO and founder of Autotronix Services Ltd, has built a company he started with only Sh15,000 into an enterprise making an average profit of Sh10 million annually.
His love for technology began at a young age. He was intrigued by the technology gadgets around the house.
After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in IT from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, his father gave him Sh15,000 to set up a small business. Driven by his passion for cars, Mr Mugo opted to explore the opportunities available for young entrepreneurs in the automotive industry.
With his technology background, YouTube and Google became his next teacher. He watched multiple videos and attended forums to learn about the trends in the automotive sector. He then used the Sh15,000 to buy basic equipment.
He did several gigs and later joined Amref Health Africa where he worked in the IT department for two years. The company paid well but Mr Mugo wanted to be his own boss.
So, in 2014, he decided to jump off the cliff and build his wings on his way down to make his vision a reality. He quit his job and opened his own company, Autotronix Services Ltd, located in Nairobi’s Ojijo Road, Parklands. He has a branch on Muthithi Road, Westlands.
“Going on YouTube later forums and seeing the magic that people do to cars, working with integrated circuits, processors and programming, it just blew my mind. So this made me venture into this business,” he says.
“It was a daring adventure because I was coming out of the corporate world and diving into business. However, I had my eyes fixated on the end goal which has always been my passion for cars. Having the past business experience, I had the patience to wait until I broke even and here I am now,” Mr Mugo notes.
The company that specialises in providing automobile security solutions started with one employee and a few clients.
Mr Mugo says introducing and marketing their products and services in the crowded marketplace was a challenge.
However, his first client was his turning point because he “over-delivered,” on the order and word-of-mouth of his exemplary services went round.
Being two in the office, they worked tirelessly to continuously provide excellent customer service, gradually increasing their pool of repeat customers, widening their customer base and employing more people.
Today, Mr Mugo has 10 employees and operates in over 10 counties including Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret and Kajiado. They offer several services including car key repair and programming, car security solutions, fleet management solutions and real-time monitoring of moving assets from cars, earthmovers to generators. He partners with Toyota, Suzuki, Porsche, Honda, Audi, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, among other brands.
In Kenya, car thefts have been on the rise. The Association of Kenya Insurers reports that approximately 100 cars are reported as stolen to insurance companies per month.
“We are working to minimise theft of goods, cargo and cars in general for our clients by ensuring they subscribe to our fleet management and tracking services. Our goal is to ensure that there is the proper utilisation of resources in companies to reduce operational costs,” he said.
Driving at a speed of 80-85mph can increase fuel consumption by 25 per cent or more. With the increase in fuel prices in Kenya, it is the interest of all businesses to reduce the rate of fuel consumption to increase profits and reduce the bills.
By managing the behaviour of drivers, fleet management enables companies to save money on fuel, reduce the tear and wear of vehicles, reduce speeding fines and improve safety.
Ford Motor Company estimates that every hour that a vehicle is idling is the equivalent of approximately 25 miles of driving.
Besides running the business, Mr Mugo imports cars and owns another company, Premium Rates Service Provider. He is also a member of the Business Network International, a platform for entrepreneurs.
“My advice to the youth is that they should start small, be patient, think smart and never give up as Rome was not built in a day,” he advises the youth.
“We still have a long way to go but that is something we are working hard to achieve.”