Nigeria-based mobility-as-a-service platform Treepz (formerly Plentywaka) has acquired Ugabus, a Ugandan bus company that aggregates inter-city bus operators. The terms of the deal were not disclosed to the media, but Onyeka Akumah, CEO and co-founder of Treepz, confirmed that the acquisition was funded with a recent USD$1.5 million (approximately UGX5,356,890,000) raise that acted as an extension to a previous seed round.
The seed extension came from new investors including Japan-based Uncovered Fund, Dubai-based Blanford Capital, Jonomi Capital, and Egypt-based Jedar Capital. Investors’ seed fund adds onto an August rise of USD$1.3 million (approximately UGX4,642,638,000) funding Treepz to purchase Stabus – a Ghanian bus company, as its expansion plan across the continent. Treepz is closing the seed round at USD$2.8 million (approximately UGX9,999,528,000).
The acquisition, which will see Treepz fully acquire all of Ugabus’s operations and staff, marks Treepz’s first entry into the East African market.
According to Treepz, Ugabus will be renamed Treepz Uganda on December 1st, 2021, and currently has 70% of all the country’s bus operators on its platform, including 50,000 customers that use the service to travel between cities in Uganda.
“We’ll be able to service most of the major cities in Uganda, but the good thing about East Africa is they have very seamless borders between the countries, so it’s easy to move from Uganda to Rwanda, Uganda to Tanzania, Tanzania to Burundi, and so forth,” Onyeka Akumah the CEO and Co-founder of Treepz told PC Tech Magazine.
Treepz Uganda will be extending into Tanzania and Burundi first. “Those are places we will pay attention to next year,” said Akumah —who further said they are also really interested in expanding to Ethiopia, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria. “Next year, we will consolidate our positions on East Africa and West Africa and start collapsing into Sub-Saharan Africa,” he noted.
In Lagos, Treepz’s hometown, the startup’s business model consists of three verticals; The main service, “Daily Treepz,” is like Uber for minivans and buses. It offers riders in the city fixed daily routes from the bus stop to the bus stop, allowing them to reserve seats using the app and pay via a digital wallet system.
Travel Treepz is the startup’s intercity bus service, which allows Treepz to act as an aggregator for other bus companies, similar to what Ugabus’s model is.
When Treepz Uganda officially launches, they plan to start with intercity and corporate services. “We will look at the opportunity of doing Daily Treepz in the future, but for now it’s easier for us to launch with what we already have and what the team is already used to,” said Akumah.
Akumah says Intracity trips account for the majority of Treepz customers because it’s a daily service that people use twice a day, five days a week, spending an average of USD$2 to USD$3 (roughly between UGX7,000 to UGX10,000) commuting.
The Treepz technology as an inventory management system can now be used by the bus operators to power their different systems.
Meanwhile, Treepz also recently received funds from Google’s African Investment Fund, which they stated will be used to aggressively expand its on-demand ride-sharing and intercity bus ticketing services in Africa.
The company had previously outlined plans to expand as far as Toronto, where Treepz has backing after being accepted into Techstars Toronto but is focusing instead on helping digitize and modernize the African transportation ecosystem.
In a statement, the General Partner and CEO of Uncovered Find, Takuma Terakubo said Treepz is building the most important mobility infrastructure in Africa’s megacities. “The development of public transportation is essential in African countries where urbanization is advancing,” he said.