San Francisco VC Firm Invests $5.3M In Nigerian Motorcycle Ride-Hailing Startup

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

San Francisco-based venture capital fund Rise Capital is behind an investment that will allow a Nigerian on-demand motorcycle ride-hailing startup to expand its driver fleet in the country.

Rise Capital, a Silicon Valley investment firm that backs internet-enabled businesses in emerging markets, led a $5.3 million Series A investment in Lagos-based Gokada, according to CNBCAfrica.

In Nigeria, commercial motorcycles are known as “okadas” — inspiration for the company’s name.

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With offices in Lagos, Rise Capital has a history of backing Nigerian companies, including on-demand video streaming service Iroko, job search platform Jobberman, edtech company Prepclass, and vehicle classifieds website Cheki, according to Crunchbase.

Nazar Yasin is the founder and managing partner at Rise Capital. He believes that tech entrepreneurs in emerging markets will become some of the most impactful individuals in the world over the coming years.

The funding included participation from Adventure Capital, a U.S. incubator and venture fund focused on transportation, renewable energy and fintech startups; Dubai-based VC fund IC Global Partners, and Chicago-based real estate development firm First MidWest Group, according to Techcrunch.

Founded in 2018, Gokada is an on-demand transportation service where customers can order a motorbike ride through the company’s website, or by using their mobile app.

motorcycle ride-hailing
Gokada Co-CEOs Fahim Saleh and Ayodeji Adewunmi. Photo – Gokada

The company’s drivers are trained, insured and verified, providing users with helmets which Gokada claims are U.S. Department of Transportation-approved, according to a press statement.

Motorcycle ride-hailing startup responding to demand

The ride-hailing firm claims to have completed close to 1 million rides and its app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times, Ventureburn reported.

It plans to use the investment to respond to increasing demand by expanding its driver fleet and increasing daily rides.

Nigerian investor and Jobberman founder Ayodeji Adewunmi will join Gokada as co-CEO alongside co-founder Fahim Saleh. Co-founder Deji Oduntan is stepping down as part of the deal, iAfrikan reports.

Jobberman is an online career portal operating in Nigeria. Founded in 2009, the platform makes it possible for people to find and advertise jobs that are available.