Consumers who search through all of the ride-hailing and mobility options within Lagos, the biggest city in Africa, will no longer only find cars as their only option.
Over the past 18 months, motorcycle-hailing startups have become players in the city’s tech ecosystem, all competing for traction and market share in a city beset with some of the continent’s worst transportation challenges. By itself, the idea of an on-demand, flexible transport service to get around Lagos’ hours-long traffic jams and congestion is an appealing proposition for millions of Lagosians. It’s also cheaper compared with established car-hailing services like Uber and Taxify.
To be clear, commercial transport motorcycles, known locally as okadas have long existed in Lagos, like in many other African cities where they have names like boda boda or moto. However, while okadasare known for being reckless at the expense of their passengers’ well-being, the relatively new motorcycle-hailing companies are trying to position their new services as the safer option. They emphasize features like carrying one passenger at a time, insist on passengers wearing helmets and training their motorcyclists or riders to comply with traffic laws.
It’s a value proposition that’s proved a strong enough pull for customers so far. Max.ng, a motorcycle-hailing startup founded by two alumni of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says it has over 1,000 motorcyclists (also referred to as riders) signed up and has completed over 850,000 trips since launch while Gokada, its main rival, also boasts over 1,000 riders signed on to its service.
The sub-sector is also winning investor interest as well. Last week, Gokada raised $5.3 million in a Series A round led by Rise Capital. Opera, the internet company best known for its Opera Mini browser, has launched Oride in Lagos this month while SafeBoda, the East Africa player, has announced an expansion to Nigeria.
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