The Safaricom backed Kenyan taxi-hailing firm Little or Little cab as some patrons call it got an investor boost of over $3 million after it sold just about 10 % of its shares to an unnamed Indian investor earlier in the week.
Nairobi-based software developer Craft Silicon has already injected some $6 million in its subsidiary company Little cab, which competes with Uber and Taxify with the Taxi-hailing service poised to overtake rivals as number 1 in Africa.
According to the CEO of Little, Kamal Budhabhatti, the investment was unplanned andLittle still has to raise $100 million for Pan-African expansion would look towards Silicon Valley in the United States to raise its target of $100 million (Sh10billion).
He said operations in Uganda had started followed by Rwanda later in June then Zambia, Ghana and Tanzania.
Operations in Uganda
Earlier in the month of May, Little launched it services in Uganda, marking its maiden foray outside Kenya.
The expansion comes two years after the firm first announced its plan to venture into Uganda and Nigeria, a populous nation it has set sights on since setting up.
“Business in Uganda is good and we have about 800 drivers on the platform now. We are also integrated to MTN mobile money so that it is easy for our riders to take rides and pay via mobile money,” said Kamal.
Plans to Penetrate Rwanda
The online taxi-hailing app, Little also announced plans to launch its services in Rwanda this June.
The announcement comes barely a month after Little rolled out its services in Uganda.
Little’s team is in Rwanda in preparation for the June launch as the ride-hailing firm increases expansion momentum in the East African region. The company plans to roll out its services in West Africa after conquering East Africa.
“Little is an African product, and we must be spreading our wings to all the African countries. Kigali is a smaller city compared to Nairobi and Kampala but we have sufficient resources towards the growth in Rwanda,” said founder Kamal
Little Ride launched in Kenya in July 2016 sparking off a price war that pitted it against Uber and Dubai-based Mondo Ride, which responded by slashing their fares. In Kenya, Little’s services are available in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa. The firm is also eyeing Nakuru and Eldoret.
Budhabhatti had told Reuters in September last year that the company, has about 5,000 active drivers and 345,000 active users.
The Storm Ahead
With recent issues confronting Uber in the sub-region, like the case of Ghana where some regulatory issues and uproar by private taxi and commercial passenger bus operators have called for more scrutiny in the operations of Uber in the areas of taxes and appropriate regulations, the question however remains whether Little is well braced to stand the test of time.
Uber, the San Francisco-based taxi e-hailing giant, launched its services in Kampala, Uganda in June 2016.
Uber rolled out its operations in Lagos in August 2014 while Taxify entered Uganda last year.