Easy Taxi Sold In Kenya & To Be Rebranded Little Cabs
I just got off the phone with a source who confirmed that although Easy Taxi is closing shop in Kenya at the end of May 2016, they have been acquired and will be rebranded to Little Cabs from the 1st June 2016. As of this writing, Easy Taxi has over 3,000 drivers in Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa. In addition, during the time Easy Taxi operated in Kenya it executed over 150,000 rides to-date which is really impressive!
A key driver behind the exit of Easy Taxi not only in Kenya but in all of Africa was the fact that Goldman Sachs had pumped US$ 245 Million into the Africa Internet Group (AIG) earlier this year. AIG is the holding company that owned and operated the Easy Taxi business throughout Africa. At the same time, Goldman Sachs had invested US$ 1.9 Billion in Easy Taxi’s competitor Uber at the start of 2015. Therefore, it stands to reason that AIG had to drop Easy Taxi in Africa given that it was effectively competing with Uber with a common investor in Goldman Sachs.
Little Cabs will be powered by an on-demand taxi platform developed by Craft Silicon. In addition, apparently, Safaricom is heavily involved as a partner in the roll-out of Little Cabs which should lend much needed gravitas in making the brand stand out. Even though it would appear that Uber is now leading the on-demand taxis sector in Kenya, other players like MondoRide have just joined the fray and its rumoured that on-demand courier business Sendy also plans to launch an on-demand taxi service in the very near future.
To make matters even more interesting, I understand that Lyft is soon launching in Kenya too with the backing of General Motors. I am particularly keen to see how the on-demand taxi sector will pan out in Kenya given that there are other players like Pewin Cabs’ Dandia and Mara Moja also in the market. Going forward, it seems inevitable that some consolidation will be needed for some of the smaller players to achieve any sort of meaningful impact.
Given that Little Cabs has the backing of Safaricom as a partner and some significant investment as well as a good on-demand taxi services platform, this should give them some level of market advantage? It also does not hurt that their legacy client base from Easy Taxi makes it the second largest on-demand taxi service in Kenya after Uber from the get go. Whatever the case, it looks like there are interesting times ahead for Kenya’s nascent on-demand taxi services sector!