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Innovation showcase

Saudi startup prefers Oracle over AWS to run truck-sharing app

Awini reports that its mobile app, which lets consumers and businesses schedule pickups with independent truck drivers, is 70% more responsive and cheaper to operate on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.


By Sasha Banks-Louie | September 2020


To make good on his 2015 summer resolution to lose weight, Dr. Abdulrahman Alsultan bought a treadmill, quickly assembled it, and then used it religiously—to hang his laundry. When his sister asked if she could have the treadmill (for its intended purpose), Alsultan agreed. But he had one big problem: He didn’t own a pickup truck and had no way of delivering it to her home.

Dr. Abdulrahman Alsultan, Founder and CEO, Awini App

Dr. Abdulrahman Alsultan, Founder and CEO, Awini App

At the time, there were no app-based services—or even conventional trucking companies—that could provide small pickups for local, on-demand deliveries in Saudi Arabia, Alsultan’s home country. So after a few years of brainstorming and software development, he launched Awini, one of the country’s first Uber-style mobile apps for pickup trucks, in August 2018. Today that app runs on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

What makes Awini different from the likes of Uber and Lyft, besides the fact that its drivers use pickups instead of cars, is that they transport goods instead of people. Another difference is its customers’ usage patterns: Whereas Uber and Lyft consumers tend to use those services multiple times a month, Awini, consumers are more likely to use its service only once or twice a year—say, when they buy a day bed and need it delivered that evening, just in time for a surprise visit from an in-law.

Awini’s business customers generally use its services multiple times a month. For example, small grocers in Saudi Arabia used to depend on local farmers markets to buy produce, but those markets have vanished since the COVID-19 pandemic. “Now it’s up to us to help bring fruits and vegetables into Riyadh from the rural outskirts,” Alsultan says.

A better route on Oracle Cloud

To schedule a driver on the Awini app, users swipe until they find the type of truck they want, type in what they would like to have picked up and where it needs to be delivered, and then choose whether they would like assistance to help carry their delivered items from the truck to a place in their home or business. Within 30 minutes, a driver (with or without assistants) will show up to the pickup site and then deliver the items to their final destination.

 

“Everybody in the IT community says AWS is the cheapest cloud. But from our experience, after moving to Oracle’s second-generation cloud, the pricing structure from Oracle is much better.”

Dr. Abdulrahman Alsultan, Founder and CEO, Awini App

Awini originally deployed the app on Amazon Web Services, but as it started to expand, AWS’s pricing structure “became increasingly unclear,” Alsultan says.

At the time, “we didn’t know that Oracle even existed” as a cloud infrastructure player, Alsutan says. But after learning about Oracle Cloud Infrastructure at Oracle OpenWorld in Dubai in 2019, Awini switched to Oracle, which he says offers a much clearer pricing structure and higher-quality support services than AWS.

“Everybody in the IT community says AWS is the cheapest cloud,” Alsultan says. “But from our experience, after moving to Oracle’s second-generation cloud, the pricing structure from Oracle is much better.” Awini’s participation in the Oracle for Startups program also gave it access to expertise that helped the company retool its platform, he says.

As Awini expands its driver network, customer base, and franchise programs across the Kingdom, as well as to new markets such as South Korea and Germany, it’s using Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes to add new features and enhancements to its app, such as route management, driver safety, and fuel tracking capabilities.

Another benefit of running its platform on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is the availability of an Oracle Cloud region in nearby Jeddah. “Our response time is 70% faster since we made the move to Oracle,” says Alsultan, who notes that he wasn’t charged for inbound data on OCI like he was with AWS. What’s more, Awini wasn’t charged for the first 10 terabytes of outbound data, whereas competitors start charging after the first five gigabytes. “We are so happy with Oracle,” he says. “Believe me, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Awini currently has about 3,800 drivers registered on its platform, while it’s onboarding another 27,000. For the millions of individual pickups and deliveries, Awini takes a percentage of the fare. The company also generates revenue through a recently launched franchise program for fleet owners of all sizes, and it offers a cloud native platform to help those customers manage their logistics.

Photography: Awini App
Illustrations: Oracle

Sasha Banks-Louie

Sasha Banks-Louie

An organic hay farmer and writer, Sasha Banks-Louie is a brand journalist at Oracle, covering cloud infrastructure, as well as startups and research institutions.