Ugandan startup SafeBoda, which operates an Uber-style app for motorcycle taxis with added safety features, has raised GBP160,000 (US$227,000) in funding from the London-based Global Innovation Fund (GIF) to help it through its pilot phase.
Uganda’s Uber for Motorbikes, SafeBoda is a startup which provides a safer and more convenient way of getting around Kampala city on a motorcycle by providing quality bright orange helmets for the passenger and rider, trains riders in customer service, safety, rules of the road, first-aid in partnership with the Ugandan Red Cross, and boda boda maintenance.
The convertible note investment from GIF – a non-profit innovation fund – will help fuel SafeBoda through their pilot phase, while they iterate their revenue model and prove demand for their services.
“Despite receiving comparatively limited resources and attention, road traffic safety is ripe for innovation and disruption. SafeBoda is a high-potential innovation whose testings offers valuable lessons for the entire sector,” GIF said.
“SafeBoda’s model creates clever incentives for behaviour change. SafeBoda has adapted some of the lessons from the success of group lending in microfinance to road safety. Just as borrowers want to recruit safe money managers to their loan group, SafeBoda drivers want to recruit safe drivers to the network. SafeBoda uses financial incentives and peer pressure to fuel changes in motorbike drivers’ behaviour.”
The GIF investment is one of eight other investments/grants to a total of GBP 3Million (US$4.25 million) at the launch of the project. GIF is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DfID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Omidyar Network, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia.
“Through these inaugural investments, the Global Innovation Fund is demonstrating our audacious mission to back ambitious social innovations that scale to reach millions of the world’s poor,” said chief executive officer (CEO) Alix Zwane.
Kenya’s PoaPower, a business that provides off-grid communities with affordable clean energy using an innovative ‘pay-as-you-go” model is one of the other beneficiaries of GIF to the tne of GBP150,000 (US$213,000) in a convertible loan.
GIF is using a unique approach to support social innovators across the developing world with ground-breaking businesses to not only lift their communities out of the poverty cycle but also to improve the health and productivity of their people.