Ugandan mobility startup SafeBoda will resume operations in Kenya on February 5 2024 pausing operations in the country since November 27th 2020.
- This decision comes after SafeBoda temporarily suspended its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- SafeBoda had established itself as a key player in the Kenyan market, offering customers several benefits such as rider safety through mandatory helmet use and discounts.
- The departure impacted over 4,000 SafeBoda riders, highlighting the broader repercussions of such decisions on stakeholders within the industry.
Despite making significant strides in the market, the company faced difficulties sustaining its operations, leading to its exit in 2020. Many riders expressed discontent with the company’s business practices. They claimed that the Ugandan based startup prioritized customer satisfaction by offering numerous discounts and lower prices to their customers, while neglecting the riders who bore the expenses of maintaining and fueling the bikes.
In response to reduced profit margins due to low fares, riders reportedly resorted to canceling ride requests between January and March 2020. This period saw significant reductions in trip fares on SafeBoda compared to its competitors.
Alastair Sussock, Co-founder and CEO of SafeBoda, underscored Uganda’s substantial market potential, with over 1.5 million rides occurring daily in greater Kampala alone. This success serves as a testament to SafeBoda’s ability to thrive in markets with favorable conditions and strategic partnerships.
- While the Kenyan market posed challenges for SafeBoda, the company’s expansion into other African countries has encountered varying degrees of success.
- In 2020, SafeBoda ventured into the Nigerian market with ambitious goals, but ultimately withdrew in 2022, citing economic viability concerns.
- Its operations in Uganda have been largely successful, thanks to a supportive business ecosystem that has bolstered its activities.
As SafeBoda prepares to re-enter the Kenyan market, the company is poised to introduce a new product called SafeCar. It is still unclear whether SafeCar will offer a cashless payment system, as it does in Nigeria.
There is also some speculation about whether the company will expand its services to include food delivery, akin to its competitors such as Bolt Food and Uber Eats. The burgeoning demand for food delivery services, presents a lucrative opportunity for ride-hailing companies to diversify their offerings and capitalize on evolving consumer preferences.