Ugandan Ride-hailing Startup Safeboda Exits The Nigerian Market

A Safeboda driver pictured with his passenger

Ugandan ride-hailing company Safeboda has announced its exit from the Nigerian market today. The announcement follows just about three months after the startup announced its expansion from bike-hailing to include car-hailing. 

The latest development will see thousands of Nigerians losing their jobs. As of the time of writing this publication, the details around the exit are still sketchy but have been confirmed by several reports from several publications. 

Safeboda is leaving Nigeria to focus on “bringing the company to profitability by deepening its core transportation offering” in Uganda, its largest market, according to these reports. The latest development makes it the second time the startup would be leaving the market. Safeboda which was founded in 2019, exited Kenya due to the negative effects that the coronavirus pandemic had on its business. 

The announcement of its exit follows after the company announced a new product called SafeCae both in Nigeria and Uganda. “We’re very excited to launch SafeCar with a safer, more convenient solution than what is offered in the market. We’ve talked to drivers and passengers, tested our product, and we are going to change transportation in Ugnadaforever, we are going completely cashless,” the startup’s co-founder Ricky Thomson had said during the product’s launch. 

Earlier in March, the company celebrated a 4 million rides mark with 50,000 deliveries, more than 10,000 riders, and 100,000 passengers. Although it launched in Ibadan, Nigeria in December 2019, the startup began operations in March 2020.

In just a little time over one year since it launched in Ibadan, Nigeria, Safeboda hit the one million rides milestone while growing at an impressive 150 percent month-on-month.  In another eleven months, it completed three million rides and became very dominant in the region. 

According to a press statement, Safebod is leaving Nigeria because the motorcycle business (or Okada as it is called locally in Nigeria) “in its current state is not economically viable and unfortunately requires significant investment at this challenging time in the global economic landscape.”

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