10 New Ride-Hailing Firms Competing With Uber And Bolt In Africa
U.S. firm Uber and European competitor Bolt, formerly Taxify, have established operations in African countries. Bolt is active in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda.
Uber has a strong presence in English-speaking countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco, but recently announced plans to expand into francophone West Africa.
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A new mix of local and international players is threatening Uber and Bolt’s dominance.
There are almost 60 ride-hailing operators across 21 countries on the continent, according to the United Nations publication Africa Renewal.
They’re coming up with new business models and approaches to attract customers and gain market share.
Here are 10 new ride-hailing firms that are competing with Uber and Bolt in Africa.
In August 2018, Norwegian tech giant Opera launched mobile money firm OPay. In July 2019, OPay raised $50 million in total funding for its African expansion, according to a press release. Part of that expansion included the launch of motorcycle ride-hailing service ORide. The new ride-hailing service operates in Lagos, one of Uber’s biggest markets. The Nigerian city suffers constant traffic gridlock, hence the popularity of motorcycle ride-hailing options.
Russian ride-hailing startup InDriver recently launched in its fourth African market. The company’s mobile app allows passengers to bargain with the driver, naming their own fare for nearby drivers to accept, decline or counter. The global ride-hailing firm operates in Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania, and began operations in Kampala, Uganda in July 2019, according to Techcrunch.
Taxi Live Africa
The newest entry on this list, Taxi Live Africa is a South African e-hailing app that operates exclusively there for now. Launched in June 2019, Taxi Live Africa has been designed to give metered taxi drivers as well as private and owner taxi drivers their own app to connect to people who need a ride. The company decided to first launch in Durban, one of South Africa’s bigger cities. Plans are underway to expand to other major cities in the country and the company has ambitions to be a pan-African service in the future, according to Techcentral.
Johannesburg-based Zimbabwean entrepreneur Malvin Nkomo is the man behind Hailer, another of the startups fighting for market share in the South African ride-hailing industry. The founder aims to compete with Uber and Bolt through a competitive pricing and commission structure, security, and safety features and by marketing Hailer as a local brand, according to Ventureburn. For the moment, Hailer operates in South Africa only, in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Kimberley.
Nigerian on-demand motorcycle ride-hailing startup Gokada is competing with Uber and Bolt in the massive Nigerian market. Founded in 2018, Gokada is an on-demand transportation service where customers can order a motorbike ride through the company’s website or on mobile app. In May 2019, Gokada raised a $5.3 million Series-A investment led by Silicon Valley VC firm Rise Capital and is expected to expand across Nigeria, according to CNBCAfrica.
Egyptian minibus ride-hailing firm Swvl recently announced plans to begin operations in Lagos, Nigeria following a $42 million Series A investment.
The company is essentially a premium alternative to public transportation, which in Egypt is considered unsafe and unreliable. It is also cheaper than using a taxi. Uber launched a minibus service in Cairo in December 2018 to compete with Swvl which already ran minibus services in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt, and in Nairobi, Kenya, according to Moneyweb.
South Africa-based Africa Ride is a small firm competing with Uber in one of its most popular markets. Launched in 2017, the local ride-hailing firm
gained popularity by accepting payments via mobile money services, according to Bizcommunity.
Nigeria’s Oga Taxi allows for a car-pooling option where users can pay a discounted rate to share a ride with others. It also lets riders bargain with drivers over the price they will pay for the ride. This ensures that the culture of bargaining for the best price between the seller and buyer is not lost in the app process. Oga Taxi operates in Nigerian cities, Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt, with both Uber and Bolt also present in Lagos and Abuja, according to ITNewsAfrica.
In June 2019, Paris-based Heetch raised $38 million in Series B funding to expand in francophone Africa. The ride-hailing firm is already doing business in Morocco and Ivory Coast and aims to launch in Cameroon, Algeria, and Senegal in 2019, according to ITWebAfrica. In its European markets, France and Belgium, Heetch uses casual drivers and operates only late night until dawn, when public transit shuts down and taxis are scarce in the city and non-existent in the suburbs.
Max.ng was founded in 2015 as a delivery service by CEO Adetayo Bamiduro and chief growth officer Chinedu Azodoh. The company added on-demand motorcycle-taxi hailing platform in 2017 when the demand in Nigeria became clear, Weetracker reports. The company has grown ever since. In June 2019, Max.ng raised a $7 million Series A funding round which is expected to be used to expand across West Africa. Ten new cities have been targeted for expansion in Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast, TechCrunch reports.