Urban mobility is a real challenge in large African towns. To address the situation, startups like GoMetro are developing alternative solutions.

South African logistics startup GoMetro secured ZAR16.3 million (US$1 million) in pre-A funding from Kalon Venture Partners, Hlayisani Capital, and several others. 

According to the release published Thursday (May 5) by Kalon Venture Partners,  the funds raised will help GoMetro “accelerate its growth, bolster its commercial team and rapidly expand into the South African, UK, and American markets.” 

GoMetro was founded in 2011 by Julien Coetzee. It helps manage bus and car fleets and improves operational efficiency, security, and predictability. Unlike on-demand transportation, with GoMetro, trips depart and arrive at specific points. 

“By using our mobility management platform and digitizing their entire fleet, operators can save up to 30 percent in operating costs by increasing overall vehicle utilization, controlling excess mileage, and managing back-office costs. We have also seen our customers increase the certainty and accuracy of their delivery windows by 50 percent,” said the CEO of GoMetro, Justin Coetzee.

GoMetro’s Android and iPhone apps show pickup points, departure and arrival points, routes, and the schedule of available shuttles. Users can therefore choose the closest locations and save time. Payments are made with the integrated wallet.  

The startup also has a mobile app specially made for drivers. On that platform, drivers can view pending tasks, check their driving scores and perform vehicle inspections. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Tech

In the past few years, global leaders in on-demand transportation have heavily invested in African markets. Bolt, Yango, and Uber are notable names but, their solutions are sometimes not efficient. Local startups like Moja Ride are building their solutions to address those minor inefficiencies.   

Moja Ride is a Mobility-as-a-Service startup launched, in 2017, to make life easier for Ivorians. In March 2021, the startup created by Jean Claude Gouesse (photo, center), raised an undisclosed amount from Mobility 54, a venture capital fund set up by Japanese firm Toyota. 

The eponymous platform developed by the startup is an alternative to ride-hailing giants operating in Abidjan. With its platform, Moja Ride wants to offer an urban mobility solution to its users but it also wants to help them build a network by offering simple, affordable, and efficient alternative mobility solutions. 

The app allows ride-sharing between friends, neighbors, and co-workers to help save on daily travel expenses. It also allows transport operators to easily manage their fleets and routes. 

Each of the rides planned through Moja Ride is insured for up to XOF2 million for individual accidents and up to XOF300,000 for healthcare coverage.  

To facilitate payments, Moja Ride developed an internal solution based on the payment network Visa and fare collection O-City’s systems.  To access its services, users just have to download the mobile app from AppStore or PlayStore and fill in a set of information. Its revenues come from commissions generated on rides booked and payments collected by drivers.  

 In October 2020, Moja Ride was selected to participate in the Africa Tech Summit Connects, a competition offering startups the possibility to raise pre-seed, seed, or Series A funding. 

In 2021, the startup was claiming over 1,200 taxis and buses available for booking through its platform in Abidjan. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

 Trella entered the Egyptian market in 2018. Within years, it expanded to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan with hopes to enter every MENA country with support from leading investors.

Trella is an e-logistics platform launched by its eponymous startup, in 2018, in the Egyptian market. The platform, available on playstore, acts as a network connecting shippers with transporters and even goes an extra mile to resolve issues that may arise between the two parties. In June 2021, Startup Trella successfully completed a US$42 million funding round thanks to its innovative business model. 

Founded by Muhammad El Garem, Ali El Atra, and Omar Hagrass, the startup aims to improve efficiency and reliability in the trucking market. “The cost of moving goods in Egypt is two to four times more expensive than it is in Europe and the US,” said Trella’s CEO, Omar Hagrass. For the CEO, by making the sector more efficient, Trella brings costs down and wins the market. 

Before Trella, “carriers used to make hundreds of phone calls every day just to be able to take one load. (...) Sometimes, they would spend three to five days idle because they did not have anyone to assign them any loads,” he added.  

In addition to its reliability and transparency, Trella also allows shippers to track their shipments in real-time. It also provides key transportation trends and performances. 

To access the various services offered by Trella, users either register online or via the mobile app. Then, they can fill a set of information to be informed about everything needed for their loads to reach the started destination.  

By 2021, Trella was already employing 100 people. At the time, it claimed more than 350 shipping partners and more than 15,000 carriers on its platform. With automated dashboards and 24/7 customer service, the platform is keeping up with the competition. Its next step is to expand in the whole MENA region. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum





we are tech

Published in Solutions

In Egypt, 40% of deliveries fail. This is four times higher than the global average, which is about 8%. Concerned by the situation, several local entrepreneurs have been trying to deal with this challenge which plagues a sector that is worth about US$3.1 billion in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

ShipBlu is a digital platform that provides last-mile delivery services in Egypt. It fulfills orders not only from individuals but also from online shopping platforms and local stores. It was co-founded in 2020, by Ali Nasser (photo, center), Ahmed ElKawass (photo, right), and Abdelrahman Hosny (photo, left). In October 2021, the startup completed a US$2.4 million funding round, with investors including Nama Ventures and Orange Ventures, to improve its services and support expansion.  

The idea for ShipBlu came from Ali Nasser’s realization of the state of delivery services in the country.  “Roughly 56% of the time when someone in Egypt places an order online, they don’t even get a delivery date. After you place your order and you get an email confirmation, it’s complete silence until, on a random day, you’re going to get a call from the agent who’s on their way to you asking if you are available to pick up the package. We’re changing that,” he explains.

To change things as they put it, ShipBlu founders created a platform allowing users to access marketplaces and online stores of partner brands operating in Egypt. The partners usually have stocks in ShipBlu’s warehouses to allow the startup to quickly deliver placed orders. Right from their ShipBlu dashboards, users can monitor the status of their orders. 

The startup, accelerated by Y Combinator, usually delivers orders within three hours and users always have an idea of when they will receive their packages.  

Deliveries are billed per the size of the package, the delivery time frame selected, and the destination. The startup claims to have developed an Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithm to “reduce costs, meet delivery constraints and refine its operating assumptions.”

ShipBlu’s system improves the quality of the services offered by online shopping platforms in the country despite addressing problems that arise due to inaccurate or non-existent postal codes. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Published in Solutions

The Tunisian transport market has welcomed, since 2016, a new operator. eFret.tn is an innovative startup that connects shippers (individuals or companies) with transport and transit companies. It operates an online market platform where shippers describe their needs and receive free quotes from carriers, movers, and international transport companies as well as customs agents.

With this method, carriers can offer competitive rates, optimize their routes through grouping and also reduce empty returns. After delivery, the carriers are evaluated twice both by the site and the customers.

eFret.tn was created in 2016 by two partners specialized in e-commerce, e-business, and logistics. The idea was to simplify logistics in Tunisia and optimize transport by making it cheaper and facilitating the obtention of transport quotes. The platform takes into account different types of services, including local land transport (moving, parcels, transport of goods within Tunisia); international air transport (transport of goods, parcels, and freight, to and from Tunisia in import or export); international maritime transport (transport of goods, containers, and goods to or from Tunisia); customs transit (freight forwarder service to carry out the customs formalities for all import or export operations to or from Tunisia).

eFret.tn is a sort of transport exchange that makes the activity more optimized and economical. Co-founder Wajdi Ben Rejeb (pictured) explains that by optimizing the movements of carriers through the grouping and management of empty returns, the startup can reduce CO2 emissions and help preserve the environment. This innovation earned it the 2017 Orange Social Entrepreneurship Award. Wajdi Ben Rejeb pointed out that obtaining this award has helped increase tenfold the number of ads from shippers on the platform.

Ruben Tchounyabe

Published in Solutions

The World Resources Institute (WRI) announced it has launched, in partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD), a challenge to reward initiatives that aim to transform the transit systems in Africa by utilizing technology.

The DigitalTransport4Africa (DT4A) Innovation Challenge focuses on sustainable mobility initiatives, particularly those related to artisanal or "informal" transport in African cities through innovative digital tools and technologies. It is open to NGOs, research and academic institutions, and private companies. All eligibility and application conditions are available at digitaltransport4africa.org. The deadline for submissions is February 16, 2022, at 11:59 p.m., East African time.

The four best digital innovations, according to the jury, will each receive a $30,000 award to implement a new initiative over 12 months.

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