Ugandan ride-hailing firm SafeBoda has nabbed an undisclosed Series B round co-led by Go Ventures an investment unit of GoJek, a transportation network company and logistics startup company based in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Valued at about US$10 billion as of February 2019, GoJek is the first unicorn company and also the first Decacorn company in Indonesia, having raised money from powerful tech companies like Google and Chinese internet giant Tencent.
Another investor in this round is Allianz X, the digital investment unit of the Allianz Group, a German multinational financial services company.
According to a May 7 statement issued by Allianz X, it is their “first investment in an African-headquartered company” though they’ve co-invested in multiple firms with Go Ventures.
Though SafeBoda has been tight-lipped on the money it has raised, available data indicates that it has collected more than US$1.3 million, including a $227,000 convertible note picked from Global Innovation Fund in 2016 and $1.1m collected in 2018.
In the May 7 statement, Allianz X said its investment in SafeBoda shows its commitment to supporting the growth of firms in emerging markets.
“Our investment in SafeBoda underlines our continued commitment to growth markets. We are excited to participate in the development of ride-hailing ecosystems in Africa,” said Oliver Ullrich, Corporate Development Director at Allianz X. “SafeBoda has successfully established itself in the ride-hailing market in Uganda and we look forward to supporting the company’s expansion into additional countries and services.”
Allianz intends to leverage its regional presence and capabilities, working with SafeBoda to transform transportation, logistics, and payment sectors in Africa.
“SafeBoda is a promising start-up with substantial growth potential, including the development of relevant financial services and insurance products,” said Coenraad Vrolijk, CEO of Allianz Africa. “We look forward to our strategic collaboration and to being part of SafeBoda’s success story.”
On his part, Alastair Sussock, Co-CEO, and Co-founder of SafeBoda said: “SafeBoda is excited to have Allianz X join our investor group, particularly as we deepen our platform and add a number of important FinTech services for both SafeBoda drivers and passengers.”
He added, “We are confident that collaborating with Allianz will enable us to grow the business and impact the wider community across East and West Africa.”
This funding round from Allianz X and Go Ventures comes at a time SafeBoda is trying to position itself among the biggest players in digital transportation in Africa.
The firm has already hired a country director ahead of launch in Nigeria, which will be its largest market on the continent so far and while there, it will be competing with Godaka and Max, which launched in 2018 and 2015 respectively, making them younger than SafeBoda.
Both Nigerians firms are still operating only in their home country, but with a smaller number of riders registered to their apps, compared to SafeBoda which has attracted thousands in Uganda and hundreds in its first international market, Kenya.
However, both Godaka and SafeBoda have previously attracted funding from the same VC firm, CRE Ventures, implying it saw in them growth potential.
Aside from expanding to more African nations, SafeBoda is also strategizing to join the food delivery industry.