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Five mobility startups to watch in 2024

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Fuelled by a wave of innovative startups dedicated to revolutionizing Africa's mobility ecosystem, the sector has been undergoing an extraordinary transformation.

With African cities being some of the most congested in the world, reducing carbon emissions is of the utmost importance.

In recent years, e-mobility startups have taken center stage on the African continent, revolutionizing transportation and paving the way for a more sustainable future.

From developing electric vehicles and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, to creating and deploying charging mechanisms, these startups are playing a key role in decarbonizing and optimizing the transportation industry on the continent.

Connecting Africa has compiled a list of five mobility startups that are making a difference in the communities they serve.

1. BuuPass (Kenya)

Kenya's online bus, train and flight ticketing platform, BuuPass is a business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) mobility marketplace that enables users to search, compare and book travel tickets via web, app or USSD.

Founded by Sonia and Wyclife Omondi in 2016, the company's SaaS platform helps bus operators manage their operations, inventory and sales.

Boasting a fleet size of over 1,200 vehicles, the company works with 29 active bus companies while being the exclusive ticket provider for Kenya Railways, making it easy for travelers to book their intercity bus, train and plane tickets online.

Founded by Sonia and Wyclife Omondi in 2016, BuuPass' SaaS platform helps bus operators manage their operations, inventory and sales.   (Source: BuuPass).
Founded by Sonia and Wyclife Omondi in 2016, BuuPass' SaaS platform helps bus operators manage their operations, inventory and sales.
(Source: BuuPass).

In April the company acquired QuickPass, a fellow Kenyan bus ticketing venture which aggregates long-distance bus tickets in a marketplace, making it easier for users to compare prices and book journeys.

With the acquisition of QuickPass, BuuPass now has a presence in South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. The company has plans to expand into eight new markets by 2025.

2. BasiGo (Kenya)

Kenyan electric bus company BasiGo is making significant strides in revolutionizing public transportation across East Africa by leasing electric buses to local bus owners.

Founded in 2021 by Jonathan Green and Jit Bhattacharya, the e-mobility startup has a pay-as-you-drive financing model which eliminates the high upfront cost of purchasing an electric bus.

BasiGo has a pay-as-you-drive financing model which eliminates the high upfront cost of purchasing an electric bus.   (Source: BasiGo).
BasiGo has a pay-as-you-drive financing model which eliminates the high upfront cost of purchasing an electric bus.
(Source: BasiGo).

Bus drivers who opt for a pay-as-you-drive arrangement have allowed transit agencies and organizations to adopt electric buses without shouldering a high upfront cost.

Moreover, BasiGo provides access to a reliable charging and service network for electric bus owners, ensuring that bus operators can conveniently charge their vehicles and maintain them effectively.

3. Parkwell (Nigeria)

Founded in 2021, Parkwell helps drivers easily book parking spaces around Lagos, Nigeria. Through its app, users can create accounts with their phone numbers, browse the nearest free parking spaces and book spaces for set hours or days.

Parkwell's app also matches drivers with available, safe parking spaces while providing drivers with information about nearby parking spaces, including availability, pricing and safety features, allowing them to make informed decisions quickly.

Parkwell allows property owners to list their parking spaces for optimum use.   (Source: Parkwell).
Parkwell allows property owners to list their parking spaces for optimum use.
(Source: Parkwell).

The platform also lets property owners list their parking spaces for optimum use. Parkwell aims to bridge the gap between drivers who need convenient parking spaces and property owners looking to get the most out of their parking assets.

4. SWVL (Egypt)

SWVL is a startup whose platform allows users to book fixed-rate, reliable and comfortable rides on high-quality buses and vans.

The company's app enables users to plan their journeys, book seats, and make cashless payments, guaranteeing them a hassle-free trip experience in the North African country.

The SWVL app allows users to plan journeys, book seats and make cashless payments.   (Source: SWVL).
The SWVL app allows users to plan journeys, book seats and make cashless payments.
(Source: SWVL).

Founded in 2017 by Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah, and Mahmoud Nouh with their own initial investment of US$30,000, the company initially wanted to curb traffic congestion in Egypt and provide affordable transportation options.

In 2018, SWVL closed Series A and Series B funding rounds, raising a total of US$33 million. These rounds were co-led by BECO Capital, DiGAME, and Silicon Badia.

In 2019, the startup expanded into Kenya and Nigeria partnering with BRCK in Kenya to provide free Wi-Fi on its buses. It has since expanded into Pakistan and Jordan.

5. Zembo (Uganda)

Electric motorcycle company, Zembo produces high-performance electric bikes designed for sustainability.

Running on state-of-the-art batteries, Zembo motorcycles provide riders with comfort while also contributing to reducing CO2 emissions.

Known as 'boda boda' drivers in Uganda, Zembo motorcycles are powered by replaceable batteries, making them an eco-friendly alternative to traditional gasoline-powered bikes.

Zembo operates a network of solar charging stations where riders can recharge their motorcycle batteries.   (Source: Zembo).
Zembo operates a network of solar charging stations where riders can recharge their motorcycle batteries.
(Source: Zembo).

Founded in 2018 by Daniel Dreher and Etienne Saint-Sernin, Zembo operates a network of solar charging stations where riders can recharge their motorcycle batteries.


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In 2021, the company raised US$3.4 million in funding towards growing the business and Saint-Sernin said Zembo's aim is to grow the incomes of boda boda drivers in Uganda.

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*Top image source: Image by drobotdean on Freepik.

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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