SafeBoda bets on super app to boost recovery from pandemic slump

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Powered by 25,000 motorcycle taxis at the start of 2020, SafeBoda was at its peak, ferrying thousands of pillion passengers in cities across Uganda and Nigeria. And then the COVID pandemic hit, throwing everything into a spin. Containment measures like work from home directives meant a slump in business, which was worsened by the lockdowns, curfews and bans on public transport, bringing the motorcycle taxi business to an unprecedented lull.

While this pause badly affected SafeBoda, it fueled the startup’s change of strategy from a single service provider to an integrated multi-service and digital payment technology platform. The startup, which was co-founded in 2017 by Ricky Rapa ThomsonAlastair Sussock and Maxime Dieudonne, recently obtained a payments license from the Central Bank of Uganda, officially marking its debut in the fintech space, and adding to a list of the new services it has introduced over the last two years.

“When we entered the space, we realized that people needed more than rides. People who interacted with the app kept telling us that it could do more. By listening to them, and taking their feedback seriously, and by doing research, we have been able to provide a number of other services besides rides… and that’s going to help the business be more sustainable going forward,” SafeBoda co-founder Thomson told TechCrunch.

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