Uber rival, Taxify eyes motorcycles and rickshaws in East Africa as battle for customers heats up

The ride-hailing app is seeking to take on its main rival, Uber, in the battle for customers in Europe and Africa.

The company, which already operates in five cities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, said it saw the best opportunity for growth via taxi services in motorised rickshaws and motorcycles - locally known as "boda bodas and " tuk tuks" respectively.

“Our focus is on providing the most appropriate means of transport for the customers and in East Africa we can see that boda bodas are getting the highest value for us,” Karl Aru, Taxify’s Expansion Manager for Africa, told Reuters.

It raised $175 million in May in a funding round that included German automaker Daimler and brought its valuation to $1 billion.

Five million users

Besides East Africa, Taxify also operates in Nigeria and South Africa, and has a total of five million active users on the continent as a whole. Close to half of Taxify’s business is in Africa, the company said.

Aru said the firm plans to expand into other markets in East Africa including Ethiopia but did not give a timeline.

He, however, said that the company still faces a few challenges in the market including low smartphone penetration, internet connectivity and safety.

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