A while back, Sendy,a Kenyan logistics startup that uses a mobile application to connect motorcycle riders, drivers of vans and pickup trucks to customers wishing to send packages ventured into the taxi hailing space offering both cab and boda-boda services. For the services, Sendy was to charge a minimum rate of Kshs. 300 for up to 3 kilometres and Kshs. 70 per kilometre beyond 3 kilometres for the taxi service. The boda-boda service on the hand was to charge Kshs. 240 for up to 7 kilometres and Kshs. 30 per kilometre beyond 7 kilometres. Sendy was to capitalise on its knowledge of the logistics market in offering the service, which was also to serve as a value-added service for its riders. Techweez can now authoritatively confirm that Sendy is set to exit the taxi hailing and boda boda space. In response to our queries on whether they were looking to exit, Sendy’s Alloys Meshack said “Yes, we have suspended the pilot as we focus on our core logistics business where we have seen a spike in demand and complex customer needs that we have set out to solve – Keeping our logistics promise”.
Alloys went on to outline some of the achievements Sendy had made with its service including the lowering of ride confirmations from 15 minutes to 30 seconds. Pickup times also improved from 40 minutes to 26 minutes. Sendy may in the future revisit the service when we have excess capacity in the future. Also set to exit the space is Taxify, the Estonian company which partnered with the Kenya Taxi Cabs Association in offering its service. Taxify is said to be looking towards selling its driver database to Safaricom and Craft Silicon’s Little. Taxify did not reply to our emails for a comment on the same.
In July, an editorial on this blog talked about how the smaller players in the taxi hailing business were likely to have it hard going forward. The author noted that going forward, smaller players were likely to either exit or consolidate in light of increased competition and decreasing working capital. The pace has so far seen several exits so far, where Brazilian company Easy Taxi already folded its African operations and opted to concentrate on its native Latin American market. We sought to know from Alloys what would be the right mix for anyone looking to succeed in the space “Many challenges in the enterprise taxi service remain unsolved – we believe more needs to be done especially understanding the enterprise customer and having the knowledge that moving them from point A to point B is just 20% of their needs(they need reports/analytics, optimize trips to lower their costs, consistent drivers who understand their business, controls and approval, budget allocations)”, he said.
Taxify has finally replied to our emails and stated that they are not exiting the Kenyan market. They have however stopped cooperation with Digital Online, their previous partner for the Nairobi market, and have employed their own local team. “We remain focused on providing a reliable and safe ride to every rider in Nairobi and will continue to do so. We do not have any plans to stop our mission for Nairobi”, said Alex Mwaura, Taxify’s Operations Manager for Kenya. On talk of selling their driver database the firm said “we have no plans to sell any of our internal information to other companies. We do, neither do we wish to nor intend to, disclose any database information to third any party”.