Nigerian startup MaaS Treepz closes $ 2.8 million funding round to fund expansion in East Africa – TechCrunch
Nigerian Mobility as a Service Platform Treepz (formerly Plentywaka) has acquired Ugabus, a Ugandan bus company that brings together intercity bus operators. Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Onyeka Akumah, CEO and co-founder of Treepz, told TechCrunch that the acquisition was funded by a recent $ 1.5 million raise that was used extension to a previous round table.
The startup extension, which came from new investors including Japan-based Uncovered Fund, Dubai-based Blanford Capital and Jonomi Capital and Egypt-based Jedar Capital, comes on top of a $ 1.3 million increase in August, funding that Treepz used to buy Stabus, a Ghanaian bus company, to expand across the continent. Treepz closes the funding round at $ 2.8 million.
The acquisition, which will see Treepz acquire all operations and personnel of Ugabus, marks Treepz’s first entry into the East African market. Ugabus, which will be renamed Treepz Uganda on December 1, currently has 70% of all bus operators in the country on its platform, which includes around 50,000 customers who use the service to travel between Ugandan cities, according to Treepz.
“We will be able to serve most of the big cities in Uganda, but the good thing about East Africa is that they have very transparent borders between countries, so it’s easy to move from Uganda to Rwanda, from Uganda to Tanzania, from Tanzania to Burundi, and so on, ”Akumah told TechCrunch. “The plan is to expand into Tanzania and Burundi first. These are places we will pay attention to next year. We are also very interested in Ethiopia. So the same thing we were doing with Ghana, through Ghana to Togo and Benin from Nigeria for the West Africa region. Next year, we will therefore consolidate our positions on East and West Africa and begin to collapse on sub-Saharan Africa.
In Lagos, Treepz’s hometown, the startup’s business model consists of three verticals. The main service, “Daily Treepz”, is like Uber for minibuses and buses. It offers passengers in a city fixed daily routes from bus stop to bus stop, allowing them to reserve seats using the app and pay through a digital wallet system. “Travel Treepz” is the startup’s intercity bus service, which allows Treepz to act as an aggregator for other bus companies, like the Ugabus model. Finally, Treepz recently introduced corporate reservations, providing transportation services for businesses.
When Treepz Uganda launches this week, it will start with long distance and corporate services.
“We will be looking at whether to do Daily Treepz there in the future, but for now it’s easier for us to get started there with what we already have and what the team is up to. already used to it, ”Akumah said.
Intra-city travel makes up the majority of Treepz customers, Akumah said, as it’s a daily service that people use twice a day, five days a week, spending an average of $ 2-3 a day. .
“Bus operators are starting to see us as a technology partner in the face of competition,” Akumah said. “Treepz technology as an inventory management system can now be used by bus operators to power their various systems. And that… turns out to be a tremendous growth opportunity for us. So we see a future where we bring the city-to-city bus operators together, and we also work with the bus operators within the cities. It just increases the numbers over time around the transactions that occur on our platform. “
In addition to seed funding, Treepz also recently received funding from Google’s African Investment Fund, which the startup will use to aggressively expand its on-demand ridesharing and intercity bus ticketing services in Africa. The company had previously presented plans to expand to Toronto, where Treepz has support after being accepted into Techstars Toronto, but instead focuses on digitizing and modernizing the African transport ecosystem.
“Treepz is building the most important mobility infrastructure in African mega-cities,” said Takuma Terakubo, CEO and general partner of Uncovered Fund, in a statement. “The development of public transport is essential in African countries where urbanization is progressing.