- Title: Kenya ride-hailing app Little looks to raise funds in 2018.
- Date: 8th September 2017
- Summary: PEOPLE WALKING IN STREET (SOUNDBITE) (English) NAIROBI RESIDENT, MONICA WARUGURU, SAYING: "I requested little cab because you can request a woman, you can also go by 20 Ksh per kilometer which I find cheaper. You can also use the SOS tab which is the security feature, which is also very very efficient for me." MORE OF PEOPLE WALKING IN STREET
- Embargoed: 22nd September 2017 16:40
- Keywords: Little cab Safaricom transport app Uber
- Location: NAIROBI, KENYA
- City: NAIROBI, KENYA
- Country: Kenya
- Topics: Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA0036XQKJ87
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: It's been a year since Lilly Muriuki signed up with Kenyan ride hailing company Little, a local taxi-call platform that seeks to compete with Uber.
With a return of between 266 USD and 400 USD a week, Muriuki is amongst a growing number of Kenyan drivers who are joining Little.
Little, which has a partnership with telecoms operator Safaricom plans to scout for an investor in Silicon Valley next year to help it expand across Africa.
There are not many young female taxi drivers in Kenya, and Lilly says Little gives her the opportunity to vet her customers and vice versa.
"It's a unique company, to me I think it's a unique company because there is an option for our clients to choose from basic, there is the lady bug option. So mostly my clients are ladies and they choose the lady bug option so mostly my clients are ladies, and I prefer they have the option so mostly I get lady clients," she added.
The one-year-old app has grown to challenge Uber for the top spot in the local market. Little has close to 5,000 drivers who can offer 12,000 rides a day in peak times, Kamal Budhabatti, the CEO of Little said, adding that potentially puts them in second place after Uber.
Uber Kenya said it has 5,000 active drivers and 345,000 active users without offering the figure for daily rides.
"I think the journey has been good for the last one year we have learned a lot of things. For us it has been a new business we also took some time to learn a few things but it has been very good. We have introduced a lot of new features. And I think you must understand why we are doing this because we are competing with some of the bigger players, and if you compete with bigger players if you want to win you can't win them on a capital, you can win them on innovation. So that's the view we have always been focusing on coming up with innovative new things," said Budhabatti.
Little's parent company, Nairobi-based software developer Craft Silicon has invested $6 million in the app. It plans to start operations in Nigeria in a month's time.
Little also plans to start offering rides using motorcycles, locally known as boda-bodas. It is also importing an electric bus that will offer shuttle services on set routes in Nairobi, a city clogged by traffic and pollution, allowing Little users to book their rides on the application.
"The plan is to get a big bus; the plan is also to get electric bus. I think traffic is a big problem, traffic and pollution is an issue in the city, so we feel that in whatever small way if we can contribute to making it better then that's why we are getting an electric bus, that's why we are getting a nice bus where people would love. I mean today somebody may not want to jump into a matatu (minibus taxi) just because they might feel it too loud, it's too crowded, it's not on time it's not clean. Here we want to give a good bus which is extremely well designed, " added Budhabatti.
Little also offers extra features to beat other firms, such as an SOS button on the app.
If a customer feels unsafe for whatever reason during their trip and they press the button, they get an escort from the police or a partner security firm within five minutes, something that has been popular with customers such as Monica Waruguru.
"I requested little cab because you can request a woman, you can also go by 20 Ksh per kilometer which I find cheaper. You can also use the SOS tab which is the security feature, which is also very very efficient for me," she said.
Other features include free Wi-fi in all the cabs and an inbuilt electronic wallet offered in conjunction with Safaricom on the M-pesa money transfer platform.
Budhabatti said they were also in talks with Safaricom for a possible investment in the company, but did not give details.
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