Uber, the world’s coolest taxi-booking service is in 33 countries and at the last count, over 92 cities. n the SF-based company’s quest for world domination, Lagos might actually be the next destination.
Uber typically deploys a three-man team to begin operations in a city — a general manager, operations manager and community manager. The persons who constitute the team are almost always local people resident in the area and know the city intimately.
Uber’s foray into Africa seems to be going well, going from the outlook of their South African operations. Launched last year, Uber cabs have been operating in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg. We’ve heard that they’ve been scoping Kenya out too, but the only evidence of that is speculation from local tech press and a google search result to a deleted job listing on Uber’s site.
Uber not making the expected pit-stop in Nairobi is probably good news for the online car-hire services currently duking it out amongst themselves there. But for their peers in Nigeria, what would happen if Uber were indeed serious about coming to Nigeria?
“Nigeria is one of the most exciting places to be in today with a growing middle class so I would not be totally surprised if new players were to enter the market”, says Bankole Cardoso, CEO of Rocket Internet-backed Easy Taxi. “The beautiful thing about competition is that it prevents you from being complacent and forces you to continue innovating”.
Easy Taxi is still a relative newcomer, at least compared to Tranzit, which was previously Taxi Park and is the real OG of Nigeria’s online taxi space. The founders of the almost two-year old startup don’t seem fazed about the possibility of Uber’s arrival on their turf and even contemplate the possibility of a respectful co-existence at the very least, if not a partnership even.
“Uber coming to Nigeria means that this business opportunity is a significant one. Regarding what we would do, we think working with Uber could be beneficial to both parties.”, said Nicole Ugbomeh, Tranzit co-founder. “We have similar emerging business models, and Tranzit has an extensive working knowledge of how the Nigerian market operates”.
Yesterday, Uber launched UberRush, a crowd-sourced bicycle powered item delivery service that is available first in Manhattan with plans to expand coverage. Tranzit has been using its taxis as well as motorbikes to run a similar service in Lagos since it emerged from beta last year.
Easy Taxi and Tranzit’s cab-hire operations are still limited to Lagos. Both speak of plans to expand to other cities soon.
We have contacted Uber for comment.