Friday, January 28

Nigeria’s Shuttlers raises $1.6 million to digitize the transport market across African cities

Shuttlers, a tech-enabled scheduled bus sharing company that provides companies with better mobility options for their employees, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding to expand beyond the shores of Nigeria.

The funding round was led by Chicago and Africa-focused investment firm, VestedWorld and also saw participation from Fintech unicorn Interswitch, Africa-focused VCs Rising Tide Africa, EchoVC, Consonance Investment, Five35, Launch Africa, CcHub Syndicate, CMC 21 & Alsa, ShEquity, Sakore and Nikky Taurus.

After years of bootstrapping, the deal, expectedly, will enable the company to thrive within and outside Nigeria as it digitizes the transportation market which is originally characterized by several people using public transport vehicles to commute to their various workplaces and destinations.

What they are saying

Damilola Olokesusi, the founder and CEO of Shuttlers said that it is helping to solve the problem of transportation in cities. She said, “Every single time that our buses are on the road, we are reducing the number of cars on the road. We are also optimizing routes and reducing the number of buses and emissions on the road.”

“As we proceed, we’ll be very intentional in recording and calculating how much gas emissions we are reducing per route and daily, maybe also release reports on how we’re impacting the environment positively.”

The CEO added that investors’ interest in the company was the main reason behind the company’s first venture capital intake. She said, “We were not actively looking for investors; however, there is now more attention in the shared mobility industry because of companies like SWVL. Now, investors are interested in this and think local mobility plays can be valuable solutions.”

We just made the right decision for the company at this particular right time so we can get ready for the opportunity that happens after. Now we are ready to take over the African market, starting with Nigeria and West African markets in the next couple of months.

Nneka Eze, the Managing Director at lead investor, VestedWorld, said her firm believes the funding will help Shuttlers extend offering to adjacent markets as the mobility firm helps solve inefficiencies in the transportation sector across regions in Africa.

What you should know

  • Shuttlers was founded in 2016 but launched in 2017 to address the issue of inefficient transportation systems in Lagos.
  • Back then, the startup didn’t have a functional mobile application as it relied on an unconventional online model using Slack, email and WhatsApp to communicate with its customers. Hence it offered three main services: the B2B2C that allows companies split payment of transport fares with their employees whichever way they see fit, the B2B, where business clients pay the complete fares of their employees and B2C, which allows individual customers pay fares themselves.
  • Following a revamp in 2019, Shuttlers now offers a fully functional app that allows mobile professionals on its three plans to book rides. Commuters can book a seat on one of the buses that go along predetermined and scheduled routes and pay even less.