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SafeBoda bets on super app to boost recovery from pandemic slump – TechCrunch

Powered by 25,000 bike taxis initially of 2020, Safeboda was at its peak, ferrying 1000’s of pillion passengers in cities throughout Uganda and Nigeria. And then the covid pandemic hit, throwing the whole lot right into a spin. Containment measures like work from dwelling directives meant a slump in enterprise, which was worsened by the lockdowns, curfews and bans on public transport, bringing the bike taxi enterprise to an unprecedented lull.

While this pause badly affected SafeBoda, it fueled the startup’s change of technique from a single service supplier to an built-in multi-service and digital cost expertise platform.

The startup, which was co-founded in 2017 by Ricky Rapa Thompson, Alastair Sussock and Maxime Dieudonne, lately obtained a funds license from the Central Bank of Uganda, formally marking its debut within the fintech house, and including to an inventory of the brand new companies it has launched during the last two years.

“When we entered the space, we realized that people needed more than rides. People who interacted with the app kept telling us that it could do more. By listening to them, and taking their feedback seriously, and by doing research, we have been able to provide a number of other services besides rides… and that’s going to help the business be more sustainable going forward,” SafeBoda co-founder Thompson informed TechCrunch.

SafeBoda co-founders (L-R) Ricky Rapa Thomson, Alastair Sussock, and Maxime Dieudonne. Image Credits: SafeBoda

Using its new SafeBoda pockets, customers can ship cash to one another without charge (different suppliers available in the market, like telcos, cost switch charges) – a service that makes it attainable for the taxi operators to obtain cashless cost too – as card funds stay very low throughout the continent. Users may pay accomplice distributors utilizing the pockets in addition to withdraw money at a payment from the over 200 brokers throughout Kampala. Savings within the SafeBoda pockets additionally fetch a ten% annual curiosity.

In a approach, the pockets has contributed to the monetary inclusion development inside the nation because the riders, most of whom are unbanked, can now generate a historical past of earnings that can be utilized to assess their creditworthiness for loans. This can be paving the way in which for the introduction of latest companies.

“These drivers were actually earning money, but they cannot even have access to loans and other financial services. And we actually know that to drive inclusion, we need to get the right partners to work with, but we also need to have our users’ history. With the help of our platform, we are now able to generate a history of income for the riders and that is a game changer right now.”

Thompson mentioned that the corporate is lining up new merchandise within the close to future – maintaining with its technique of repeatedly reevaluating and enhancing its providing, whereas extending to prospects the much-needed comfort. He mentioned the brand new merchandise have been constructed for a worldwide viewers as SafeBoda is eager to launch them in new markets.

“We are building a global product that is going to be available in cities across Africa…and SafeBoda will continue to build better services that will allow us to serve the population better and grow beyond Uganda so that anyone in Africa will have access to services just by clicking a button. We will also make sure that the lives of our drivers are improved,” he mentioned.

SafeBoda, which lately turned the primary to profit from Google’s $50 million Africa Investment Fund, is trying to faucet its person base (over 1 million downloads) to develop its new companies and preserve opponents at bay. It’s different traders embody Allianz X, Unbound, Go-Ventures and Gojek, the Indonesian multi-service super app.
In the line-up of companies SafeBoda has lately is an e-commerce platform, which was launched in April of 2020, with the riders on its log getting used to fulfill last-mile supply. The e-commerce enterprise, which was an addition to the startup’s parcel and meals supply companies, ensured that as the necessity for on-demand ride-hailing service dropped beneath lockdowns, the riders had been stored occupied, successfully making certain enterprise continuity. It additionally marked the start of the startup’s journey as a super-app.


A curfew on Motorcycle taxi (bodaboda) operators, which has been in impact since 2020, was lifted two weeks in the past in Uganda. Image Credits: SafeBoda

By including extra worth choices for its customers, Safeboda is ready to stay aggressive in an surroundings that has the presence of well-funded trip hailing operators like Uber and Bolt, in addition to e-commerce platforms like Jumia.

Two weeks in the past, Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni lifted the curfew for bike taxi (bodaboda) operators, which has been in impact since 2020, paving the way in which for the resumption of hailing companies by SafeBoda and Uber and Bolt.

“We are the number one ride hailing company in Africa for motorcycle taxis. We have gone through waves of different competition; big guys have entered our market and we still remain the market leader in this space.We will continue to grow and stay very competitive,” mentioned Thompson.

The results of the Covid pandemic on the mobility business weren’t distinctive to Uganda ‘s transport business. The world over, transportation companies had been badly affected by journey restrictions and lockdowns, main to the collapse of some companies within the transport business, amongst them airways and taxi firms. But slowly the business is coming again to life and, general, the worldwide ride-hailing service business is predicted to greater than double over the following seven years to hit $98 billion, with an anticipated 10% CAGR year-on-year in accordance to this report.



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