According to a report in the paper citing Taxify, the company has 2.4 million active users in six African countries including Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana. To be considered an active user of the company, the person has had to request a ride within the past month. Uber meanwhile has 1.3 million active users, reported the WSJ, noting the latter also has operations set up in Egypt and Morocco.
In an interview with the WSJ, founder Markus Villig said the company reached unicorn status in May when it raised $175 million, giving it a $1 billion valuation. Investors in the round included Daimler AG. The company plans to use the funding to grow during the next couple of years. The investment by Taxify is going to be in the “hundred of millions” of dollars range, the executive told the WSJ.
“Demand in Africa for ride-hailing services is a lot bigger than in the developed world and Europe because of the lack of public transport and low car ownership,” Villig told the WSJ. “And due to high unemployment, people look for easy and flexible ways to make money.”
The paper noted that Taxify has been able to get ahead of Uber by catering to the needs of the locals in the countries it operates in. For instance, in Uganda, it is ahead because it started first with motorbike hailing. Uber waited close to two years to enter the Ugandan market with UberX car service and then motorbike hailing after that.
“Very quickly, we realized this is a boda boda industry and that there was a huge opportunity here,” said Julian Byamugisha, Taxify’s operations manager in Uganda, referring to motorbike hailing. “We said let’s do boda as quickly as we can do boda.”