A more effective transport system will ease trade and commercial activities, increasing Lagos’ influence as the gateway to other West African nations, and reduce rural-urban migration, stemming the population explosion.
To solve one of the numerous challenges – the government has a rapid bus transit (BRT) system while the private sector and the tech ecosystem are employing ride-sharing apps.
Recently, Gokada, the Lagos-based on-demand motorcycle taxi app, secured $5.3 million in a Series A funding, about the same period Opera's ORide made an entry with a $40 million investment into the bike-riding market.
In 2017, MAX opened up the on-demand motorbike hailing and delivery service in Lagos. The company had said its mission was to fix Africa's notorious last-mile delivery and online-retail problems by using mobile and web platforms to connect consumers and retailers.
Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa by Pulse engaged Ayodeji Adewunmi, Director for Africa at Rise Capital and now Co-CEO of Gokada on the future of bike-sharing app in the country, future prospect and finding a solution to the transportation mess in Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre.
BISSA: You went from heading a recruiting agency to being in charge of one of the top bike-sharing companies in the country. How has the experience been for you?
Adewunmi: I have a dual role at Rise Capital as Director for Africa and now as Co-CEO of Gokada. I've always been an active investor no matter what else I was doing. When I was CEO of Jobberman I was actively investing in startups and mentoring other entrepreneurs, even while I was building into Jobberman into the largest jobs platform in Sub-Saharan Africa and eventually selling the company to Ringier Group. It will be the same while I'm at Gokada and investing on behalf of Rise Capital.
BISSA: What lessons did you learn from Jobberman that you now find yourself applying in this new role?
Adewunmi: Build the team and then you build the company.
BISSA: Nigeria's population is growing at a faster pace and there's a need for businesses to tap into the various business models at solving the transportation problem, does Gokada have plans to expand to other parts of the country?
Adewunmi: Definitely. One of our reasons for raising this Series A was to increase our fleet and rider volume with the intention of not only continuing to cement our position in Lagos but to expand beyond Lagos. The two-wheel transportation business is not just a Lagos-based opportunity but a Pan-Nigerian one, and we do see ourselves growing beyond the one city in the near future.
BISSA: What about other transportation verticals, any hint on any vertical at the moment?
Adewunmi: We’re always looking towards innovation at Gokada and this does include exploring opportunities available with other verticals which we will unveil in due course. We did recently launch G-Medic; our rapid response service which will administer first aid to Gokada pilots and passengers in the event of an accident.
We’re really proud of this service and the impact that it will make in ensuring the safety and peace of mind of our employees and customers. Safety has always been our top priority and this is one of the ways in which we intend to demonstrate that.
BISSA: Gokada just raised Series A Funding of $5.3 Million, tell us more about this?
Adewunmi: As mentioned earlier, we will be using this fund to not only increase our fleet but also out rider volume by tenfold. We will also be looking at acquiring more local tech talent as we grow our team and will be exploring (as you’ve already asked), new verticals for business growth.
BISSA: What are the plans in place to stave competition in the Okada ride-railing business in Nigeria?
Adewunmi: At Gokada, we don’t look down at or take competition lightly. We view ourselves as our own competition and are constantly working towards investing in product development and market research that will prove tricky for other companies to replicate. We are all about innovation; and the more we can challenge ourselves in this respect, the more confident we grow in what we have to offer to our customers.
BISSA: What are the main challenges facing Gokada and other bike-sharing apps?
Adewunmi: I think it comes down to having the talent to execute and this is the most important challenge in my view. I think every other thing can be easily replicated and be solved for by capital.
BISSA: Where do you see Gokada in the next 10 years?
Adewunmi: Gokada as the future of transportation in Nigeria with different asset verticals and services verticals. I see a future where we become a truly pan-African internet franchise acting as the operating system for cities to power mobility, on-demand services, and financial services. The holy grail is to become the Super App for the region.