Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Big Data

Uber: The Big Data Company

Article Image

Racking up over 2 million trips in South Africa in the first six months of 2015 alone, Uber has experienced a surge in popularity in the region over the last two years, with strong footholds now in Kenya, Nigeria and, most recently, Ghana.

The success of the company's expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa stems from the scalability and transferability of its application, says Uber's senior operations and logistics manager, Timothy Willis: "We can basically turn on anywhere in the world, so no matter where you are on the continent you can actually use the same app to get a trip. That has allowed us to rapidly expand -- the app is super scalable."

Willis sat down with AfricaCom TV ahead of his presentation on big data at AfricaCom 2016 to discuss Uber's operations on the continent and how they have been able to leverage data to improve their offerings to customers.

Talking about how Uber considers themselves a link between driver partners and riders, Willis says that its wealth of data has allowed the tech giant to gain valuable insights into both parties: "We are always looking at the data and the analytics to understand what campaigns work and what we should be driving more of. Everything at Uber is run as an experiment, so we are always learning and A-B testing."

And these experiments pay off -- through their data analysis they were able to roll out a new feature for arguably their most important audience, their driver partners: "A lot of drivers wanted a ride on their way home and we introduced a feature where they can put in the address of where they are going and we will match them with someone going in the same direction. That is just something where we listened to drivers' concerns and tried to make the marketplace better for all those involved."

As to what the future held for Uber, Willis said to "watch this space" as there would be further rollouts in the coming months of both their Uber and Uber Eats services.

You can view the full interview here:

Are you interested in learning more about Africa's technological evolution? You can learn, engage and debate with the architects at the forefront of digital Africa at one of the Connecting Africa series of events.

Upcoming events:

East Africa Com 17 - 18 May, Nairobi

West Africa Com 11 - 12 July, Dakar

Nigeria Com 20 - 21 September, Lagos

AfricaCom 6 - 10 November, Cape Town

Be part of the African tech and telco conversation here:

— Amy Turner, Digital Content Marketer, KNect365

Innovation hub


Paymentology looks to strengthen its African roots

Global issuer-processor Paymentology's CEO Jeff Parker spoke to Connecting Africa about the company's African roots and aspirations to work with more banks, fintechs and enterprises both on the continent and globally.


Women & technology: impacts of the digital gender divide

Connecting Africa correspondent Chiti Mbizule investigates the state of Africa's digital gender gap and the impact this divide is having on access, education and entrepreneurship opportunities for local women.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: February 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in February 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included 5G launches in Senegal and 5G trials in Egypt as well as Kenya's first 5G MVNO. Airtel also launched a new wholesale connectivity business while MTN and Huawei are planning a joint Innovation Technology Lab in South Africa – that and more in this month's Omdia View.


Omdia View: January 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in January 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included a $200 million fintech deal between MTN and Mastercard as well as 5G network trials by Telecom Egypt – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002