Minibusses, the three-wheeler known as “keke,” and taxi motorbikes colloquially known as “okadas” are the most frequent modes of transportation in Nigeria.
With millions of Nigerians relying on these modes of transportation to reach their various workplaces and destinations, mobility companies have attempted to digitize the market but have had limited success, particularly in the two-wheeler mobility area.
While the majority of mobility technology in the country is focused on two-wheelers and car-hailing, there has been little targeted disruption in the bus-sharing and public transit sector.
Shuttlers, a tech-enabled scheduled bus sharing firm, has raised $1.6 million in seed capital from a number of investors in order to expand quickly both within and outside of Nigeria.
VestedWorld, a Chicago-based investment firm focused on Africa, led the fund, which included significant names such as Fintech Unicorn Interswitch, Africa-focused VCs Rising Tide Africa, Launch Africa, EchoVC, Consonance Investment, CcHub Syndicate, CMC 21 & Alsa, ShEquity, Fives35, Satore, and Nikky Taurus.
The Techstars-backed startup is aggressively expanding across Nigeria and Ghana, having raised over $1.6 million in capital, which was also used to acquire a comparable player in Ghana.
Shuttlers was founded by Damilola Olokesusi in 2016 but only officially debuted in 2017 to remedy Lagos’ poor transportation infrastructure.
The firm didn’t have a working mobile app at the time, so it depended on an atypical online approach of communicating with clients via Slack, email, and WhatsApp.
As a result, it offered three main services: B2B2C, which lets corporations split payment of transportation fares with their employees in any way they see fit, B2B, which allows business clients to pay their employees’ entire fares, and B2C, which lets customers pay their own fares.
Shuttlers now have a fully working app that allows mobile professionals on its three plans to schedule rides, thanks to a redesign in 2019.
Commuters might save even more money by booking a ticket on one of the buses that run on fixed and regular routes.
Commuters who use its service rather than competing ride-hailing services “without surges and peak-period pricing” save 80 percent, according to the startup.
Live bus tracking, traffic-based routing, and digital payments are among the other features, according to the business. It also includes a subscription feature that allows commuters to plan rides ahead of time for a set length of time.
According to a recent survey performed by Shuttlers, about 30% of daily commuters use Shuttlers own cars.
In other words, the corporation is minimizing the amount of carbon dioxide that those commuters would have emitted if they drove their automobiles every day.
Shuttlers have grown by leaps and bounds since 2016, despite only raising $3,000 from friends and family and grants. The company says that its mobile app and website have over 10,000 users.
On its platform, more than 100 unbranded and branded buses travel over 30 routes in Lagos, stopping at over 300 bus stops. Since the company’s beginning, they have documented more than 2 million travels.
Olokesusi went on to say that her company sells over 6,000 bus tickets per day, implying that over 3,000 passengers take two-way travels every day.
Furthermore, Olokesusi claims that investor interest in the company was the primary driver of the company’s initial venture capital infusion.
She stated that, while the company was not actively seeking investors, there is now a greater interest in the shared mobility market as a result of companies such as SWVL, and that investors are particularly interested in this and believe local mobility strategies can be valuable answers.
Shuttlers, according to Olokesusi, made the proper option at this time so that the company may prepare for the opportunity that would follow.
The corporation is preparing to enter the African market, beginning with Nigeria and West Africa in the coming months.
The company has started operations in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, but Olokesusi does not disclose where else Shuttlers will expand to next, both within and outside of Nigeria.
In a similar vein, Nneka Eze, managing director of lead investor VestedWorld, believes that the investment will enable Shuttlers to expand its offering to neighboring areas and address shortcomings in the transportation sector throughout Africa.
Featured Image: Damilola Olokesusi, Co-founder and CEO OF Shuttlers
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