San Francisco-based Rise Capital and other investors lead Lagos-based on-demand motorcycle taxi app, Gokada, in securing a Series A funding of $5.3 million. This investment is expected to see the company expand its driver fleet, increase daily rides by 10 fold and acquire local tech talent in order to dominate Nigeria’s estimated billion-dollar Okada riding market.
“Our green Gokada motorcycles have become a regular feature of Lagos’ roads in the 14 months since our official launch. Gokada was built with the intention of becoming the future of two-wheel transport in West Africa, and we are fast becoming the go-to platform to hail a motorcycle ride in Lagos. Today’s announcement allows us to accelerate our growth projections significantly, as we continue to grow our market share and look to introduce more product features and services,” said Fahim Saleh, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Gokada.
Gokada was launched in 2018 by Fahim Saleh and Deji Oduntan who has now been replaced by Rise Capital Director and the Co-founder and former CEO of Jobberman, Ayodeji Adewunmi. Since its inception, the startup has secured close to 1,000 bikes and completes around 5,000 rides across Lagos’ Mainland and island each day, with rides approaching one million in total.
“It is an incredible time to be joining Gokada on this journey to transform transportation in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. I am truly excited about the promise of Gokada becoming the operating system of how cities function optimally and efficiently across Africa. There is no doubt in my mind that this will become one of the most important companies in Africa” Ayodeji Adewumni said.
This news comes at a time when the bike hailing startup has been struggling with several issues which seems to be a threat to its survival in Lagos. Recently, its bikes were ceased due to regulatory issues with the government. There were also allegations of mismanagement against the company’s former CEO and if the government decides to go ahead with the motorcycle ban, the company will still be in existence as it has plans to diversify across other means of transportation.
It is also worthy to note that motorbike usage has been criticized by many governments in different Nigerian states, saying that the riders of bikes or Okada as they are popularly called in Nigeria, are involved in series of crimes and are responsible for the high percentage of deaths and loss of limbs in parts of the country, a statement not proven to be true.
A 2016 Road Traffic Crash (RTC) report stated that accidents caused by motorcycles ranked third after cars. Cars accounted for 457 cases (36 percent) of the 1,259 accident that occurred, next to mini buses which accounted for 243 (19 percent) before motorcycle at 230 cases (18 percent). Despite this fact, the Federal Road Safety Corps proposed a nationwide ban on commercial motorcycles.
“Gokada’s rapid entry into Lagos’ transport market has been transformative. We have noticed that some markets like Nigeria and Indonesia, which both have large populations and inadequate road infrastructure, are more likely to be dominated by motorcycle-hailing companies rather than traditional car-hailing players, and Gokada’s relentless focus on product, customer service, and safety has enabled them to take advantage of this dynamic and produce some truly impressive growth metrics. They are reshaping the tech-enabled transport market in Lagos, and we are excited to be partnering with them as they scale, said Nazar Yasin, Founder and Managing Partner at Rise Capital.