Ride hailing Little plans to raise Sh5b for expansion

Kenyan ride-hailing company Little is expanding to Tanzania and Ghana by May and plans to raise about $50 million (Sh5 billion) more from investors, its chief executive officer said on Friday.

Little, which competes with global players Uber and Taxify in Kenya, is valued at about $70 million (Sh7 billion) to $75 million (Sh7.5 billion), Chief Executive Kamal Budhabhatti said, a minnow compared to rivals but it has aims to expand across Africa.

The company will offer rides in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam from next week and plans to launch in Accra by May, Budhabhatti said, adding to operations in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.

“We want to get into a lot more countries than what we are in at the moment,” he said.

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The CEO said Little was talking to investors to raise about $50 million in series A funding, the financing received when a start-up opens up to outside investors for the first time. It aims to finalise this by mid-2019.

“We are meeting a couple of investors, both on the continent and in Silicon Valley. The interest is there,” he said, adding that new funds would be used to develop technology and to expand to more countries. He did not name the potential investors.

Without the deep pockets of its ride-hailing rivals in the region, Little has been attracting drivers by encouraging them to offer extra services to earn money, Budhabhatti said.

“Our drivers are agents, they can sell insurance to you, they can sell (mobile) airtime, they can pay light and water bills, they can do all those little things around that increases that income,” he said.

Little, which has a marketing partnership with Kenya’s biggest mobile operator Safaricom, is also available customers who do not have a smartphone.

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