It will join 9 other start-ups in the class of 2021 and safe and secure funding from the accelerator as it sets its sights on global expansion.
Plentywaka launched in September 2019, and in the first two months, moved approximately 6 individuals daily, according to CEO Akumah. By its sixth month, this number increased to about 1,500 daily, and the company completed more than 100,000 rides within that timeframe.
In March 2020, the pandemic-induced lockdown hit services across Lagos and other states within Nigeria. Due to the nature of its company, Plentywaka needed to make a small pivot and started transporting important services throughout Lagos, specifically food items. It also opened a logistics service.
As the lockdown eased across the city and travelling resumed, the company moved 60% capability while the operational expense stayed the same. G rowth was constant and picking up, the company began seeking external investment. It got $300,000 pre-seed from its parent business, EMFATO and other early-stage investors like Microtraction and Niche Capital in August.
Backed with the brand-new funding, Plentywaka has since doubled down on its core offering — transporting individuals via buses. The logistics arm that it released, along with an automobile service, have considering that been shuttered. Akumah states the focus on a main offering has actually paid a dividend. The company has expanded its intrastate services into 2 other cities in Nigeria including the nation’s capital city, Abuja and has actually moved about 300,000 people. Following this announcement however, there are instant plans to introduce an interstate service throughout various cities in Nigeria.
This service will see Plentywaka partner with some significant bus travel companies, which collectively have more than 2000 buses and ply over 100 routes in the country. Plentywaka acts as an aggregator, and commuters can see choices of different transportation companies, compare fares, and book on its platform.
“Plentywaka is getting to a point where we’re now becoming more like an aggregator as we onboard transportation companies on our platform. Interstate travel in Nigeria is data inadequate, and we wish to be the very first company to fix this.” Ena, co-founder and president of Plentywaka, said to TechCrunch.
In addition to this and the brand-new capital from Techstars, Plentywaka is looking to scale its platform throughout Africa and North America. Akumah states this global growth plan will begin with a city in Canada, most likely Toronto, on or before Q4 2021.
Sunil Sharma, the managing director of Techstars Toronto, verified this to TechCrunch. According to Sharma, Techstars is backing the Nigerian movement start-up since it’s fixing a massive problem in Nigeria that can be compared to metropolitan transport obstacles in other inhabited cities worldwide.
“We understand that Western cities have tradition transportation systems. , there are lots of transport challenges, even in a city like Toronto,” he stated. “And we think that Plentywaka’s technology and approach in enhancing the lives of residents and their daily commute requirements can be brought over to cities in the West just as they are in Africa.”
Plentywaka plans to introduce its intracity service first after engaging the nation’s necessary stakeholders prior to introducing the intercity design. Sharma thinks that a lot of cities in Canada aren’t well serviced by buses, resulting in a damaged intercity transit infrastructure. Plentywaka’s presence will bring the much-needed alternative the city should have, he says.
“Cities and towns here must have bus connection, however they quite just do not have it, and my view is that the arrival of Plentywaka will be an instant choice to the status quo. It will also resonate with people as a way to supplement existing transport options,” he stated.
Techstars’ relationship with Akumah likewise showed crucial in Plentywaka’s approval into the accelerator. A second-time Techstars-backed founder, Akumah co-founded Farmcrowdy, a Nigerian digital farming platform in 2016. Having actually gone through the accelerator’s Atlanta program four years ago with the agritech start-up, Akumah is doing the exact same with Plentywaka. He functions as CEO at both business.
The serial founder said the relationship with Techstars is one reason the business is expanding to Canada rather of neighbouring African nations.
“If the opportunity we have in Toronto today to broaden was comparable to what we had in Ghana or South Africa, naturally we’ll be having those conversations already. When we have the assistance system from Techstars, Sunil, and regulators in Toronto without even putting feet on the ground, I indicate that makes it interesting for us to expand to Canada,” the CEO mentioned.
African or nigerian start-ups, in basic, hardly ever make their method into Canada. Plentywaka is on the verge of doing so, and it will be seeking to close a seed round from investors to perform these expansion plans and more improve its innovation.
Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.