Kampala, Uganda, October 4, 2022 – In Kampala, a bustling city of 3.6 million people, commuting can be fraught with challenges. An estimated 80% of Kampala's transportation system is matatus—local minibuses which are often dirty, overcrowded, poorly maintained and a major contributor to the city's carbon monoxide pollution. Many matatu drivers are also underpaid, lack formal training and operate congested and time-consuming routes.
But Easy Matatu, a minibus ridesharing service, is leading the charge to reform such conditions with an investment from Renew Capital, an impact investment firm growing small and medium-sized businesses in Africa through its network of investors, the Renew Capital Angels. The investment will help Easy Matatu to grow its already successful end-to-end technological platform in which riders reserve a seat on a well-maintained and refurbished matatu through a smart phone app, and once aboard, their highly trained, competitively paid drivers take them on a faster, safer and more comfortable commute. Some of the matatus even come with refreshments and Wi-Fi.
“We realized that beyond just building an app that connects people from Point A to Point B, public transportation in African cities needed to be reformed or disrupted, and technology really presented the best tool to do that,” says Easy Matatu co-founder Carl Andrew Lema.
Thanks to this investment, Easy Matatu will grow its fleet of vehicles and increase its capacity to handle more than 200,000 monthly rides. Moving forward, Easy Matatu hopes to scale its platform to provide safe, clean and reliable transportation in other African cities.
“Public transport in Africa is broken. Every day, 50 million commuters on the continent struggle to get to work, home or move around. We want to be part of the solution that fixes that,” Lema added.
"Commuters in Kampala, where I live, and many cities across the region, face huge challenges simply getting to and from work. The current mobility solutions are not sufficient. The problem is even more acute for women commuters,” says Renew Capital Senior Investment Manager for Uganda, Diana Njuguna. “Easy Matatu is not only revolutionizing the transport sector by making it safer for commuters, but also by using data and analytics to create optimized routes that increase efficiency. In addition, Easy Matatu offers a properly serviced fleet, cutting down on emissions and pollution. It's a great company for these many reasons, and for the fact that it’s playing a pivotal role in driving infrastructure development. We're proud to add them to our expanding Uganda portfolio."
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. With a presence in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda, Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. Since the establishment of the network in 2012, the Angels have been actively investing in the region, mobilizing millions of dollars into Africa's middle market.
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.