Let’s begin by flashing back to May 2018 when C4DLab was presented an award to implement the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) Startup Accelerator. Being one of the flagship projects of the TUMI Global Urban Mobility challenge of 2018, the acceleration programme was meant to facilitate sustainable urban mobility innovations by offering mobility startups and innovators technical and financial support towards solving urban mobility challenges in African cities. So has this been achieved? Let’s find out!
The accelerator has incubated eight startups for a period of six months. The acceleration process begun in December 2018 with different service providers and mentors taking through the first cohort throughout the 6 months journey until May 2019. This has opened new avenues for the eight startups.
The avenues brought new opportunities for the startups including getting a chance to present their innovations during a mid-term pitching event to investors and government stakeholder workshops in March and May 2019. They also presented their innovations at the Inaugural UNHABITAT Assembly held in May 2019. This notwithstanding, they have also been linked up with potential partners and funders interested in their businesses. The startups pitched to potential investors at the Urban Mobility Summit-Nairobi on the 10th of June, which was a side event of Nairobi Innovation Week, 2019.
The acceleration programme has impacted in the best way possible on each individual startup with all eight enterprises gaining traction in different ways. This is a promise that such ventures when supported can actually solve Africa’s Mobility challenges in the global agenda of sustainable urban mobility and smart cities. Here is a review of the individual startups, their success stories and traction since joining the TUMI Startup Accelerator.
Twende a technology company offering convenient and comfortable alternatives to long-distance travel by providing a platform is now having discussions with a German investor they met at the Mobility Summit (Huss Group) for potential investment. Further, Twende is now working with a resident association (Imara Daima) to mobilize for carpooling. The venture is also currently developing a proposal on carpooling with CODATU and the French Development Bank which is set to launch the startup into new revenue levels.
Auto Truck a green technology company that fabricates and locally assembles electric powered three-wheeler light duty Cabs (Elo-Cabs) and handcarts (Elo-Carts) has been able to partner with the Kenyan government run institution – National Youth Service (NYS) to help in mass production of the electric three- wheeler Cabs handcarts. This is because NYS got most of the machinery that they required.
GetBoda has formed a partnership with Opibus to produce electric motorcycles for sale and also to be used in the GetBoda deliveries. The Accelerator also helped them in setting up a signboard outside one of their pickup stations, this is set to make GetBoda stand out from any other delivery and courier company in Kenya with efficiency and reduction of harmful emissions in the heart of GetBoda.
MyRide Africa after joining the TUMI Accelerator programme has since partnered with Ubabi, a startup admitted in the TUMI Accelerator. This partnership offers Ubabi a digital platform for clients to request for rides. This is the perfect example of the old tale that ‘If you’re making engines and your friend is making car bodies, come together and make cars!’
Through its mobile based platform, MyRide Africa connects commuters, PSV crew (Drivers and Conductors), Owners and SACCOs while collecting real-time data meant to make commuters and the PSV crew make data informed decisions. Recently, the startup got two new partners from the government meet startups meeting: a matatu SACCO and Isuzu. My Ride is branding its posters in all vehicles in the matatu SACCO, selling them adverts to other clients as well as improving their services to be more efficient. MyRide is selling data to Isuzu which is helping the vehicles manufacturer in making decisions for awards it offers to the best Public Service Vehicle (PSV) ‘matatu’ in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ubabi a membership based vanpooling service whose focus is to provide safe, comfortable, convenient, affordable, and environment – friendly urban transportation was previously not making any revenue. By partnering with MyRide Africa, Ubabi has now generated a revenue of KES 40,000 with at least 50 trips done so far. Further, Ubabi is collaborating with the Kenya Bus Service (KBS) to manage the KBS passenger fleets in their bus stations.
Ubabi has also had talks with the Nairobi County and the Kenya Alliance of Residence Association (KARA) and are doing a joint concept to mobilize resident associations to discuss transport as much as they are discussing security and other issues.
Obaigo, a personal mobile and web-based delivery platform which gives users and commuters a new way to make money by making deliveries on trips they’re already taking around the city or upcountry has since admission seen its platform facilitated by the TUMI Accelerator by part payment of the Obaigo platform development.
This is a clear indication of what the TUMI Startup Accelerator can do by working together with innovators and development agencies in the quest for sustainable urban mobility. It’s undisputable that mobility services and infrastructure are essential to achieving most if not all SDGs!