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Launched on the 28th of January, TransitKonect, an e-hailing service under ByandBy technologies, is trying to raise $300,000 on crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo.

The crowdfunding campaign began on the 26th of January, 2015 and the company is seeking the fund to develop “leading edge technology” for its e-hailing taxi service.

Should this profit oriented venture seek crowdfunding as against raising venture capital?

There’s no single answer to this question. Notwithstanding, I’ll bite.

In 2013, Erik Herman’s Ushahidi raised over $170,000 on a crowdfunding platform for its internet connectivity hardware project, BRCK. The campaign hit and surpassed its $125,000 target. Clearly many people wanted to see the BRCK initiative succeed.

TransitKonect has also taken a similar route to get investments to boost its service. Touted as a traffic and unemployment solution for Africa, individuals contributing to this solution will get the attendant perks that come with crowdfunding.

So, what is unique about TransitKonect? Why should we pay attention?

According to a post by the company, “We need $300,000 to develop leading edge technology, which provides sustainable solutions for taxi drivers and customers alike.”

Interesting. It appears that ByandBy technologies has developed tablets and the TransitKonect app with specific functionalities for the use of cab drivers and commuters. The tabs will be mass produced and given to the drivers. The tablet’s primary function is to serve as a dashboard navigation tool for the driver. The TransitKonect app will facilitate the booking and monitoring of taxis by prospective commuters. However, the tab will also display advertising from ad agencies that TransitKonect is partnering with.

“TransitKonect has signed advertising agreements with third parties, who will present their products and services on the TransitKonect bespoke tablets mounted in every yellow taxi across Lagos.”


This is where we’re a bit concerned and are like “wait, is this safe?”

Is it really okay for a driver on the road to navigate with an eight inch screen that also displays advertising? Wouldn’t that be dangerously distracting?

TechCabal asked TransitKonect these questions via email. On the rationale behind crowdfunding the project after its launch, they said their reasons are “highly confidential” and “cannot be divulged”. Which is kind of odd because crowdfunded projects are by their definition supposed to be transparent. On the question of safety, their response was even more interesting.

TC: Why is TransitKonect using tablets and not phones? Has the company considered the safety implications of a larger and potentially more distracting screen?

TransitKonect: Safety, for both our drivers and users, is a top priority at TransitKonect and we had thought carefully on this before deciding to give tablets to drivers. The choice of an 8.1” tablet was arrived at after the cumulative result of several road-test and researches proved it to be safe for the driver, passenger and other road users.

Tablets are even more safer [sic] than mobile phones for use by the taxi drivers as they do not have to bring out the phones from their pockets or wherever it has been kept, and then struggle with typing in the proper inputs when accepting the bookings.

In contrast, the tablet is easily manipulated by the driver for receiving booking requests which requires just a few touches on TransitKonect. Also, our focus on a thorough training program for drivers ensures that they observe best safety practices while driving. Training programs are organized for the drivers immediately after sign-up and registration at our office and scheduled meetings at the parks are also regularly organized to keep them abreast with these safety measures.

Additionally, across the mega-cities of the world, taxi cabs are now equipped with GPS navigation devices mounted on their dashboards and these devices are almost of same size with the tablets being used by drivers on the TransitKonect platform.

Well, alright then.

As at the time of publishing this article, the company has raised $74 dollars so far, with a little over 48 hours left for the close of the campaign. This is probably for the best.

Photo Credit: niznoz via Compfight cc

Lulu Fadoju Author

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