shuttlesa Nigerian shared mobility company that allows individual and corporate passengers to ride multiple bus routes via an app has raised $4 million in a new funding round led by Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures (VKAV), a pan-African-focused venture capital firm.
The round welcomed participation from follow-on investors, including VestedWorld, which led the mobility startup’s $1.6 million round 18 months ago. SheEquity, CMC 21 & Alsa and EchoVC are the startup’s other backers in this round, helping the mobility company secure more than $5.6 million in venture capital in total.
Shuttlers’ activities mainly focus on business travel and commuting. In Lagos, Africa’s most populous city, the average professional travels to work daily or several times a week – whether by private car or danfo minibuses And Okay — encounter roads filled with intense traffic congestion and dangerous carbon emissions. Since transportation is no ordinary perk for workers in Nigeria, this is what Shuttlers has managed to do since CEO Damilola Olokesusi launched the startup in 2016 and offers partner companies in Lagos and Abuja a bus sharing platform with mobility options for their employees.
Shuttlers allow these employees to reserve seats on one of the buses along predetermined and scheduled routes. The other features include live bus tracking, traffic-based optimal routing, digital payments, and ride scheduling. It has three payment plans: companies pay the full rate for employees, companies share rates with employees, and individual customers – not affiliated with a partner company – pay the rates themselves. The rates range from N850 (~$1.96) and N1300 (~$2.60).
Shuttlers has doubled its traction since we completed its starting lap in November 2021. At the time, the Lagos-based startup said it had more than 100 buses on 30 routes across the city. According to co-founder and CEO Olokesusi, nearly 260 buses are currently running daily across 300 routes through Lagos and Abuja. Meanwhile, with a customer base of more than 80 companies including Interswitch, MainOne and Paga, the company sells more than 9,000 tickets to individual and corporate passengers every day – and recorded 3 million trips per website. The company claims that more than 70,000 users have taken a ride on its platform.
Bus reporting platforms do not contribute to inner city congestion like the more popular shared mobility segment: ride-hailing services. The model is such that more people are encouraged to take public transport and private car ownership is reduced. So in addition to helping commuters relieve the stress of driving to work or using disorganized public transportation, Shuttlers help reduce pollution and congestion. The mobility newcomer claims to have reduced its commuters’ carbon footprint by 85% (about 4 million pounds of carbon emissions). The company’s impact on the environment is one of the reasons lead investor Verod-Kepple supported it, according to partner Ory Okolloh, who said in a statement: “[Shuttlers’] commitment to creating impact aligns with our vision to invest in entrepreneurs who solve big challenges and companies that have a positive impact on society.”
Shuttlers’ seed round, which secured the company after four years of bootstrapping and processing more than $1 million in transactions, gave it room to improve its technology, Olokesusi told businessupdates.org. Now, this additional funding, obtained by the 55-person team, will help build infrastructure to power its mass transit business, enable employee transportation for more companies, and increase market share in a space that includes Techstars-backed Treepz, while it is expanding to other cities in Nigeria. It will also ramp up hiring in its sales, marketing and customer support departments, Olokesusi added.
“Before our initial funding, when we didn’t do marketing and PR, I think we had the largest market share in bus registration and space sharing. But now there is no doubt that we are miles ahead of the competition in terms of number of customers, technology and routes. We have built an infrastructure that allows us to expand into different regions inside and outside Nigeria and supports multiple stakeholders from partners and drivers to marshals and administrative agencies. Our main focus is to take over the bus sharing space and become this huge startup that is, you know, very profitable,” Olokesusi said of Shuttlers position in the Nigerian bus services market, adding that the startup plans to go live in five years. other cities across the country by next year.