He aims to help maintain a healthy environment and make life easier for Moroccan travelers. An entrepreneur specializing in mobility, he has received several awards for the impact of his solution.

Hicham Zouaoui (photo), a Moroccan entrepreneur and computer scientist, is the co-founder and CEO of Pip Pip Yalah, a startup aimed at simplifying and reducing the cost of travel for Moroccans through a long-distance carpooling platform.

Established in 2018 by Zouaoui and Otman Harrak, Pip Pip Yalah connects drivers embarking on long journeys with passengers via its namesake app, to cut travel expenses and CO2 emissions.

The concept of Pip Pip Yalah originated in 2013 as a Facebook page where drivers used to post their offers and interested passengers responded by commenting or sending private messages. “The social network allowed us to test the market fit of the concept freely and organically,” Zouaoui stated.

Boosted by Orange Fab, the startup has amassed a community of over 400,000 members and has facilitated more than 1,000 journeys across Morocco.

Zouaoui, a graduate of Moulay Ismail Meknes University, earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in 2011 and a master’s degree in quality, health, and safety management from Ibn Tofail University in 2015.

He started his professional career in 2014 at Webhelp, a data company, serving as the continuous improvement manager. In 2017, he joined CloudControl, a software company, as a global key account manager. In 2021, he became a partner at Ideancy, a creative agency specializing in digital communications consultancy and web marketing in Morocco and France.

Zouaoui has been recognized with several awards for his impactful contributions. In 2020, his Pip Pip Yalah solution was honored as the best application of the year at the Maroc Web Award. That same year, he secured the second prize at the Orange Social Venture Prize POESAM in Morocco.

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

In Africa, there is a growing presence of e-mobility companies. Multinationals like Uber and Bolt coexist with local initiatives on the continent. 

Lefa is an e-mobility solution developed by an eponymous Namibian startup. It enables users to easily send drivers on their errands. 

Through its Android and iOS apps, a user can create an account by entering his/her phone number and a valid email address. Once this step is completed, users can start ordering cabs. The process is simple. They just need to enter their destination to get things started. To make the order process even simpler, Lefa has a feature to save favorite destinations. 

The solution offers various types of cars and rates, depending on users’ preferences. Its applications integrate real-time monitoring features as well as several payment methods. Nevertheless, users can also pay for their rides with cash. 

"LEFA charges a minimum of N$40.00 per trip. Fares are calculated based on the distance and duration of the ride at N$4.00/kilometer plus N$3.50/minute rate. Once you enter your pickup and dropoff address, the LEFA app will automatically calculate the fares before you confirm your trip. LEFA offers no fixed fares or surge pricing," the startup explains in its FAQ section. 

In addition to on-demand errands, the start-up also offers a variety of services such as personnel transport, event transportation solutions, and parcel delivery services.

Since its launch, its Android app has been downloaded more than 10,000 times, according to Play Store data. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

The African e-mobility sector is attracting giants from all over the world. In Sudan, a tech entrepreneur has partnered with his friends to establish a solution to compete in his country.

Tirhal is a technological solution developed by a Sudanese start-up. It connects passengers and drivers in four regions of Sudan. Based in Khartoum, the start-up was founded in 2016 by Mohamed Elzakey, Omer Elzakey, Yaser Abba, and Siddig Eltaj. Since its launch, it has already raised approximately $500,000 to support its growth and develop its technology.

"Tirhal's vision is to work to facilitate people's lives by providing various transport services that suit all groups," the platform states.

The mobile App is available on iOS and Android. Users register by creating an account, allowing them access to various features of the app. To take a ride, users simply input their destination, the type of vehicle, and the starting point, and Tirhal displays the fare for the ride. It is also possible to book a taxi for a future ride.

The start-up also offers delivery services, such as delivering parcels and taking orders from restaurants. Tirhal has a fleet of more than 200 motorcycles. For taxis, the start-up works with 2,900 vehicles that have already traveled more than 100,000 kilometers. A laudable record, despite rocky beginnings.

"When we started, we only had three cars, my uncle's and two of my friends'. Today, we have 45,000 drivers and 4.5 million customers," Mohamed Elzakey explained in 2019.

Tirhal charges 10% of the ride fare. This is a low percentage compared to what start-ups operating in the sector earn. However, this strategy, coupled with the quality of the fleet's vehicles, has allowed the start-up to dominate the Sudanese market. According to Play Store statistics, the Android version of the application has already been downloaded more than a million times.

In 2023, it was among the finalists of the AfricaTech Awards, an event that took place last June 15 on the sidelines of the Parisian technology exhibition, VivaTech.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

After spending several years in the US, Afery Johnson (picture on the left) returned home to Togo, and set up his transport startup.

Lomé Taxi is a ride-sharing solution developed by a young Togolese company. It allows customers heading in the same direction to share transportation costs. Through this solution, users can travel around the city in cars at affordable rates. Already, the startup operates in 11 designated zones within the urban area of Lomé.

"The carpooling concept at Lomé Taxi emerged from the need to lower transportation costs for our customers. Faced with the repetitive rise in fuel prices, we had to increase our fares, and we noticed a decline in the use of our services due to the high cost of living. Through careful consideration, we found a solution that would allow our customers to continue using our services affordably," said Afery Johnson, founder of Lomé Taxi.

The solution does not require a mobile application. Users can easily access it through a web browser. To do so, they only need to provide information such as the departure date, departure time, departure neighborhood, destination, phone number, email address, and the number of passengers. The last piece of information is necessary to notify the start-up that you are open to sharing your ride with another person.

Besides the web platform, reservations can also be made through social media platforms like WhatsApp. SMS and direct calls are also available methods for contacting the start-up to make a reservation.

Lomé Taxi boasts a fleet of over 25 cars and operates from five offices across the Togolese capital. The fare for a trip downtown is CFA2,000, and CFA3,000 for trips to peripheral areas. The startup also offers a special service for people visiting the country.

"The driver picks them up from the airport to their place of residence. For those who no longer want to rent expensive cars during their stay, the company owner provides his car fleet at very affordable rates, tailored to their schedule," according to the platform.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

He founded a company that digitizes the transportation sector and connects freight shippers and carriers. Backed by several investors, the company collaborates with major transport companies.

Moustapha Ndoye (see picture) is a Senegalese computer scientist and graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology. With Alioune Ndoye, he co-founded Chargel, a logistics technology startup created in 2021. The company's mission is to make road transport more efficient, reliable, and transparent.

The startup helps carriers find freight at any time via its platform. This helps the users avoid empty trips while enjoying prompt payments.  In addition, it offers value-added services such as the supply of GPS trackers, assistance in purchasing fuel at discounted rates, and support for repairs in case of breakdown.

With his startup, Moustapha Ndoye, its CEO, hopes to build the largest network of road freight transport in French-speaking West Africa. This will facilitate shippers' access to thousands of trucks at the best prices. 

In April 2023, the company successfully raised $2.5 million to expand its operations in Senegal and neighboring countries such as Mali, Guinea, and Mauritania. Chargel has recently been selected for the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund and was ranked among the top 20 African startups to watch in 2023 by Jeune Afrique magazine. 

Since its launch, Chargel has entered partnerships with several global giants, including Maersk and Grimaldi. In 2022, the company recorded a gross merchandise volume of $1.2 million.

Before starting Chargel, Moustapha Ndoye was the CEO of Xtreme Design and Engineering - an iOS mobile application development company, from 2009 to 2018. In 2013, he co-founded Teranga Solutions, a company that provides an outstanding hotel experience by leveraging mobile and cloud technologies.

After serving as CEO of Teranga Solutions, he became the Chief Operating Officer of HotelOnline in 2018. In 2020, he joined Wave Mobile Money as Director of Products until the launch of Chargel the following year.

Melchior Koba

Published in TECH STARS

While on-demand transport services are undeniably useful, they are not without their problems. In particular, women who use these services have reported incidents of harassment, which highlights the need for measures to improve safety in the on-demand transportation sector. An Nisa Taxi is one such solution that seeks to make the industry safer for women

An Nisa Taxi is a women-only taxi service developed by a Kenyan start-up. It allows women to commute safely without being harassed and enables women drivers to do their jobs peacefully. According to founder Mehnaz Sarwar, the startup has a team of women drivers and caters to women and children. “We also offer monthly packages for parents and working women. [...] We empower our drivers by offering them better rates while working in a safe environment for both our drivers and customers,” she added.

Currently, the solution only has an Android app, with the iOS version still under development. Using the app, users can create An Nisa accounts and access various services. They only need to choose the type of car they want, and depending on the route and location, the app suggests the closest driver. Users can then book their rides, wait for the driver to arrive -and even follow them in real-time- and pay. An Nisa Taxi's policy is so strict that a woman cannot take a cab with her partner unless it's an emergency.

An Nisa derives its revenues from subscriptions, partnerships with companies, and margins on daily rides. The startup collects a 15% commission on the rides performed by its “self-employed” drivers. To work with An Nisa, drivers need to own their cars and pass the verification process.

The startup is still self-financed and has not yet attracted outside investments despite its strong growth in recent years. According to its figures, it reached the 10,000-user mark this year and hopes to expand to Saudi Arabia, where it has many partners.

Adoni Conrad Quenum 

Published in Solutions

The solution was launched by two foreign students in Mauritius as they believe the country is the best place to start, to quickly penetrate Southern African markets. 

Vite is a digital solution developed by a Mauritian start-up. It allows users to book rides and parcel deliveries. 

Through its mobile app, accessible on Appstore and Playstore, users can use its on-demand transportation services or even request the delivery of items like food, spice, etc as well as send for an errand. The platform integrates a WhatsApp link for users to report any issues that arise. 

The solution claims more than 700 partner drivers, over 10,000 customers served and more than 24,500 trips and orders completed. To improve its efficiency, it is partnered with various entities. For example, it provides delivery services to more than 250 restaurants. 

Based in Grand Bay, its founding startup was launched, in 2017, by Isaac Agyemang and Ukeme Augustine Jonah, two foreign students. Commenting on why it was launched in Mauritius, Vite’s chief marketing officer Anthony Takyi said: “If you are going to do business and get things smoother than smooth in Africa, Mauritius is certainly the starting point. It is the gateway to the SADC region.” 

In 2020, the startup completed a funding round of an undisclosed amount to develop its technology and accelerate its growth. It is growing steadily and hopes to expand into the sub-region in the coming years. To date, its Android app has been downloaded more than 10,000 times from PlayStore. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

The solution aims to help merchants with their transportation needs.

Garri is a digital solution developed by an Ethiopian startup. It allows shippers to easily and reliably move their goods anywhere within Ethiopia using carriers and drivers approved by the startup. The solution, launched in 2020, has raised $100,000 to support its growth. 

It aims to eliminate freight logistics hassles by optimizing and digitizing every aspect of the industry. For that purpose, it developed mobile apps -for Android and iOS devices- to make the process easier. Shippers and drivers sign up and Garri handles driver approval to allow only trusted ones on its platform.

It explains that its “vetted drivers earn more money per trip, have a safer and more flexible work experience, and develop better relationships with transporters and shippers, with increased opportunity to own/operate their own truck.” 

“Garri works to find round trips and multileg to minimize empty miles and maximize customer earnings,” it added. 

Before booking a driver, shippers need to request a quote via the mobile app or the web platform. Once the price is agreed upon, Garri matches the shipment with the best carrier for the job. Then, when a driver is assigned to the shipment, the startup notifies the requester, who can then track the delivery in real-time.  Upon successful completion, all paperwork is handed to the requester.  

In 2022, Garri was selected among the 60 startups to participate in the second cohort of the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund for Africa, receiving a share of the $4 million support dedicated to the participants. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

After the suspension of the on-demand transport company Yango in Cameroon last February, local engineers and the Cameroonian diaspora launched an alternative to fill the void left behind. 

On Monday, April 17, 2023, a new digital car and cab booking service launched its activities in Cameroon. Deployed by the start-up Intelart Technology founded by Lamine Nyamoutet, Ongo is currently available in the cities of Yaoundé and Douala. It facilitates urban and interurban travel in Cameroon.

“We will initially offer our services in the political and economic capitals but we plan to extend the services to all the 10 regions in Cameroon,”  said Didier Ndengue, Intelart Technology’s public relations officer.  

The solution has a mobile app -Android and iOS apps- through which users can register and access its services. With the account, a user can choose his/her destination. The app will then suggest the driver closer to the departure point and, if the user agrees with the estimated fare, he/she can confirm the trip.  

The transport fare depends on the type of vehicle chosen. Apart from on-demand transport services, Ongo also offers vehicle rental services for events such as weddings and family celebrations. Several types of vehicles are available for rent, depending on users’ financial capabilities.

Since its launch, the Android version of the mobile application has already been downloaded over a thousand times. Despite competition from Gozem, Ongo is on track to possibly fill the void left by Yango, which was suspended by Cameroonian authorities last February.  

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions
vendredi, 24 mars 2023 14:44

Rwanda: Yegomoto facilitates bike hailing

Motorcycle taxis are one of the most widely used transport modes in Africa. But, the sector is sometimes disorganized and hailing bike drivers can be a hurdle. In Rwanda,  a start-up wants to make bike hailing easier.  

Yegomoto is an urban mobility solution developed by the Rwandan start-up Yego Innovision Ltd, a subsidiary of the Singaporean firm Kommlabs. It allows Kigalians to easily move around town on their preferred transport mode, motorcycle cabs.  

Through its mobile apps -available for Android and iOS devices, users can request a bike ride or even hail car drivers. Its motorcycle taxi drivers are identifiable by their bright-red helmets. So, if a user doesn’t want to or is unable to book a ride through the mobile app, he/she can just hail the Yegomoto drivers on the roadside and easily get to their destination. In the two cases, once at the destination, the cost of the ride is displayed by meters, allowing the user to pay via mobile money, the Tap and Pay card, or Yegomoto’s  Ride-tap-Pay card.

In addition to public transport, the start-up is active in last-mile delivery. Since its launch, the Android version of the application has been downloaded more than 10,000 times. Yegomoto claims more than 16,226,575 trips and more than 84,820,632 kilometers traveled. It plans to launch in Harare and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe before eying other African countries.  

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions
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