In many large cities across Africa, motorcycle taxis are as common as yellow cabs in New York.
That includes Lagos, Nigeria, where ride-hail startup Gokada has raised a $5.3 million Series A round to grow its two-wheel transit business.
Gokada has trained and on-boarded more than 1,000 motorcycles and their pilots on its app that connects commuters to moto-taxis and the company’s signature green, DOT– approved helmets.
The startup has completed nearly 1 million rides since it was co-founded in 2018 by Fahim Saleh — a Bangladeshi entrepreneur who previously founded and exited Pathao, a motorcycle, bicycle and car transportation company.
For Gokada’s Series A, Rise Capital led the investment, joined by Adventure Capital, IC Global Partners and Illinois-based First Midwest Group. Coinciding with the round, Nigerian investor and Jobberman founder Ayodeji Adewunmi will join Gokada as co-CEO.
Gokada will use the financing to increase its fleet and ride volume while developing a network to offer goods and services to its drivers. “We’re going to start a Gokada club in each of the cities with a restaurant where drivers can relax, and we’ll experiment with a Gokada Shop, where drivers can get things they need on a regular basis, such as plantains, yams and rice,” Saleh told TechCrunch.
The startup differs from other ride-hail ventures in that it doesn’t split fare revenue with drivers. Gokada charges drivers a flat-fee of 3,000 Nigerian Naira a day (around $8) to work on their platform. The company is looking to generate a larger share of its revenue from building a commercial network around its rider community.
“We don’t do anything with the fares. We want to create an Amazon Prime-type membership…and ecosystem around the driver where we’re going to provide them more and more services, such as motorcycle insurance, maintenance, personal life-insurance and micro-finance loans,” Saleh said.
“We’re trying to provide a network of great services for our drivers that makes them stick with us, and not necessarily see a reason to switch to other platforms,” said Saleh.
Competition among those platforms is heating up, as global players enter Africa’s motorcycle taxi market and local startups raise VC and expand to new countries.