In a bid to digitize the public transportation system and provide safer, reliable and comfortable commute options across Africa, Toronto-based shared mobility company, Treepz, has announced its acquisition of a similar Ugandan bus company Ugabus.
Treepz was founded in 2019 and currently operates in Nigeria and Ghana. It is simply a platform that powers road transportation systems using technology. Treepz operates a digital platform allowing passengers to book daily rides along fixed routes within Lagos and Accra. They also serve as an aggregator for over 12 bus travel companies including the likes of GUO, Efex Executive, Libra Motors, ABC Transport who commute customers on Treepz across 21 cities in Nigeria in the last 6-months since launching this product. Transport operators can now make better use of their bus systems by replacing manual servicing and ticketing with digitalized offerings and services from Treepz.
Ugabus started in 2016 and currently has 70% of all bus operators in the East African country on its platform with a mobile money technology for easy payments.
Speaking on the acquisition deal, the CEO and Co-founder of Treepz, Onyeka Akumah said, “Everyone at Treepz is excited to welcome the team at Ugabus to the Treepz Family. This has been in the works for sometime, along with our deal that happened in Ghana a few months ago, and so, we are really happy about closing the deal successfully. East Africa is an exciting target for Treepz and from Uganda, we would work with this new team led by Hakiza in Uganda to explore our growth plans across the neighbouring countries as we aim towards building the largest shared mobility platform in sub-saharan Africa.”
The Treepz all in one app allows passengers to search, compare and book rides within cities and from one city to the other, conveniently from the comfort of their homes. Ugabus’s indegious intercity-focused technology therefore complements Treepz’ progressive model to bring on-demand public transportation and shared mobility to a new terrain in Africa including mobile money technology.
“We care alot about how people move from one city to another, and we did our best to build the most reliable bus booking app in Uganda. Now we’re joining the TREEPZ family to accomplish a bigger vision-one that we think we can better achieve with TREEPZ. We have known and respected the exploits of the founding team led by Onyeka Akumah and today, we are very happy that we would be pioneering the business growth of Treepz in East Africa starting with Uganda,” said Ronald Hakiza, CEO and Founder Ugabus.
The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the 100% acquisition will see Treepz impressively extend its geographic footprint in East Africa, given that Ugabus operates in all cities in Uganda. Ugabus will now be renamed as Treepz Uganda and will begin operations on the 1st of December 2021 with the support of the Ugandan Government expected that day. Also, Ronald Hakiza who was the CEO of Ugabus will now become the Country Manager for Treepz Uganda and will be bringing on board his team to support the business growth plans.
In addition to expanding into new markets and building the largest shared mobility in Africa, Treepz has announced today that is has raised an additional $1.6 million USD in seed funding with new investors coming on board. The company has now successfully closed its oversubscribed seed round after raising a total of $2.8 million USD in the last 3 months starting in August 2021 when their seed round was announced with $1.2 million in investment. The impressive growth at Treepz has also attracted attention of the team at Google with extra funding from the Google Africa Black Innovation Funds announced in October 2021. According to Onyeka, the 2-year-old startup will be using all of these funds to aggressively expand it’s on-demand ride-sharing and intercity bus ticketing services in Africa.
The new investors joining the round includes Japanese VC, Uncovered Fund along with Dubai based venture capitalists including Blanford Capital and Jonomi Capital. Also, Egypt-based fund, Jedar Capital participated in the round with follow-on investments from previous investors.
According to Takuma Terakubo, CEO & General Partner of Uncovered Fund Inc, he discussed their investment and said, “Treepz has impressed us with their remarkable traction in the latter part of the year and are poised for even further expansion, particularly through strategic partnerships. 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. We look forward to their building the infrastructure for people’s mobility through digital value. As a Japanese VC who places importance on the mobility industry, we would like to provide a lot of value to them.”
Also speaking on investing, Founding General Partner, Jedar Capital, Sherif Nessim had this to say; “I am happy to be supporting Onyeka and treepz team on their mission to modernize daily transportation for African people. Onyeka’s reputation as an award winning entrepreneur and ex co-founder of successful startups as well as the strong team brought me to a strong conviction that this a team focused on executing a great vision to become the largest mobility and transportation provider in Africa, supporting in-country and intra-countries travel for Africans where many depends on travelling to neighboring countries for work every day, this round will help them boost and fuel their expansion plan in West and East Africa and I am sure they will continue to grow across these regions the coming 12-18 months.”
Treepz is now one of the leading mobility startups in Africa in the just 2 years since launching in Nigeria focused on powering public transportation systems starting with buses. With its presence in Nigeria, Ghana and now Uganda, the startup is leveraging local expertise, its technology-focused solutions, a strong leadership team and well-managed government relationships across Africa to digitize the transportation space one country at a time.