Uber's Kenyan rival is bringing the battle to Nigerian roads

They might be little, but they are coming with mighty force.


Little, the cab-hailing coming which seems to be upsetting Uber and not doing too badly for themselves, are coming to Nigeria.

'Little' might seem like a bad name for this cab company born in Kenya, but this company is doing big things. The company is the love-child of East and Central Africa's biggest telco, Safaricom, and Craft Silicon, and it has been winning over customers even though it's been less than a year.

How do we even know they are coming?

CEO of Craft Silicon, Kamal Budhabhatti who said:

“We are now only operating in Kenya but we are launching in Uganda soon. Safaricom is a good partner but they may not be in every market but we have to figure out how to grow the business to other markets. Craft Silicon operates in 45 countries globally and we are going to launch in all these countries even if Safaricom is not there. We are launching in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2017.”

What does this mean for the local market?

In the first few days of November, Uber announced a slash in prices of cabs by 50%. For over a week, a poll we conducted revealed that people were more inclined to use Ubers. We also observed that most people complained of constant surges in that time.

Picture this scenario. You need ride, so you open your Uber app, but what do you see? A price surge.

Before, you'd have to wait for the surge to disappear, but now you won't have to. There's a strong alternative. You have Little.

(Mpesa Rates)

What selling points are they bringing to the market?

From what we know of them in Kenya, Little has some of Uber's features; you can see fare estimates before a trip starts, you can decide whether your driver you should turn the radio on or off, but there are a little differences.

For one, Little is telling you that there will be no price surges, the one of the problems Uber users seem to have. Also, some Uber drivers have free WiFi, but Little is saying every single one of their cabs have free WiFi, according to their website.

And you know, Nigerians and free WiFi are like this;

While abuse reports are mostly unheard of from women in the Nigerian ride-hailing space, Little has an option in Kenya called the Lady Bug, where women can get female drivers, just so they can feel safer. It's hard to tell if they'll be bringing this option to Nigeria.

How will the local competition respond?

Price slashing, most likely. Uber did this in Kenya when Little came for a share of the market. They'll most likely do the same here. The customer wins.

Oga Taxi is another competition, but they don't even look like they have a big share of the market. Unless some miracle happens, we don't expect that they'll get a bigger share.

No one seems to be hearing much from My Cabman and Afro Cab, but they're probably still hanging there.

What of the standard 'Oko Ashewo' Yellow Cab?

Their market might be shrinking now, since they have almost equal competition with better services, but we know they still have a strong share of the market. For now at least.

But say 5 years from now, it's hard to tell if we'll still see the yellow cabs roaming the streets, driving slowly, and searching for customers on the roadside.


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