Mobility startup, Treepz, celebrated three years of entering the Nigerian e-hailing sector last week. The transport company began operations in the country on September 16 2019 when its e-hailing app went live in Lagos.
To commemorate its anniversary, the company is set to launch Business Treepz, a new service aimed at providing bus rental service in a structured, accessible, and predictable manner for corporate organisations including companies, schools, tour operators and individuals.
Speaking on the launch of the new service, the Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of Treepz, Onyeka Akumah said:
“Following up on the feedback from our customers, we can better fulfil the requirements of organisations looking to benefit from our high-quality transportation service that also allows the use of technology through our app or websites in Africa. We are focused on growing our partnerships with businesses and schools to make sure more Africans can move comfortably and safely to wherever they have to go.”
According to the founder, Business Treepz has been in its pilot phase for the last 3 months. And, the service has been designed with the user’s convenience in mind to give them access to all types of bus options as well as allow them to choose from a variety of available options close to them.
Co-founder, Johnny Enagwolor said at the anniversary ceremony that Business Treepz is already enjoying patronage from top organisations, startups and tour companies. Previous clients include Reddington Schools, Wakanow, and Tek Experts all in Nigeria, while the likes of Charter House (organisers of Miss Malaika) and MTN Ghana.
He said that the service was used at the Nyege Nyege Music Festival, the largest musical event in East Africa with close to 20,000 attendees. He also added that Business Treepz currently provides transportation for 2,000 children in schools daily while making provisions for over 1,500 employees of companies.
“So, today, with a full launch, we are excited about the prospects of growing its client base significantly”, he added.
A look at Treepz’s numbers at 3
Despite suspending its operations for 5 months in 2020 as a result of the global pandemic, Treepz was able to get 960 vehicles registered on its platform and help its riders commute more than 480,000 times in less than 2 years. Recently, the company was named the Industrial Tech company of the year at the Global Startup Awards.
According to John, the startup surpassed over 7,000 startups to win the award. To date, the startup claims to have completed more than 2 million customer journeys with over 150,000 registered riders and over 2,000 drivers (heroes) across East and West Africa.
About 6 months ago, the startup announced that it has successfully achieved a milestone of 1 million bookings completed across the three countries where it currently operates.
Recall that last year Treepz raised $1.2m just two months after it successfully completed the Techstars Toronto Accelerator Program. That round had participation from Argentil Capital Partners and ODBA & Co Ventures, an early-stage investor in Kuda Bank. There were also a couple of angel investors from Canada, the US and Africa who also participated.
Then, it went on to raise an additional $1.6m (to make a total of $2.8m) in seed funding with new investors coming on board.
Around that time, Treepz also received funds from Google’s African Investment Fund, which the startup will use to aggressively expand its on-demand ride-sharing and intercity bus ticketing services in Africa.
A few weeks after raising $2.8m, Treepz has announced a partnership with CMS Taxi and Motor Nigeria Limited (CMS T&M), a Lagos-based traditional bus company. This partnership will see the CMS T&M passengers have access to convenient payment options and predictable travel times using Treepz’ technology.
At that time, Co-Founder & CEO, Onyeka Akumah told me that the raise is coming at a time when the startup has been able to firm up its offerings going by its experience from over 17 Nigerian cities and is eager to launch into other African countries to solve similar mobility problems.
In fact, Onyeka said that Treepz (Plentywaka) is going to replicate its model across 6 other African countries within the next 2 years and will be looking for the right kind of investors and partners to join the ‘black and yellow’ movement.
True to its mission to build the largest shared mobility startup in Africa, one country at a time, the startup has gone on to acquire Ugabus, a Ugandan bus company. The acquisition is part of Treepz expansion plans and its first foray into East Africa, after acquiring Stabus in Ghana.
Before the acquisition, Ugabus had 70% of all the country’s bus operators on its platform, which includes around 50,000 customers that use the service to travel between cities in Uganda. With an existing infrastructure in mobile money, Ugabus also provides a future possibility for the mobility startup to foray into that space.
Last year Onyeka told me that Treepz’ expansion plans are in full swing and that East African countries like Tanzania and Burundi would soon have access to its services, same with Togo and Benin.
At the 3rd year anniversary, the CEO re-emphasised the intent to build an Africa-wide, world-class company:
“We continue to focus on how we build a world-class company that Africans will be proud of its accomplishments in making transportation better on the continent. It is still day one for us and we go back to the drawing board daily to figure out how we do this incredible work of making transportation better for Africans one country at a time.”
Going forward, the founders said that Treepz will be focused on expanding its services in the three core markets while seeking partners in new African countries, especially in Southern and Northern Africa.
They conclude that the company will continue to ensure it’s at the forefront of sustainable transportation solutions powered by electric and gas vehicles to save CO2 emissions and there will be more around this in the coming years.
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