The former interstate bus ticket booking startup, Tiketmobile, appears to have risen from the dead. Following a controversial blogpost by its erstwhile CEO, Celestine Ezeokoye, the startup went off the radar. A few days ago, the website was observed to have been reworked, and the interface now now offers e-hailing services for commuters heading to or from the Abuja airport.
The new initiative, which is in conjunction with Kouba Transport Services, will see Tiketmobile handling the online booking and inventory management, while Kouba Transport Services focuses on the actual taxi operations.
The first iteration of Tiketmobile received a $5000 grant from Tony Elumelu Foundation which kept the engines running, till it ran out. Celestine would write of the grant that it was just enough to get them stranded. Before the Tiketmobile began to reach the end of its rope, its founders were offered $25,000 in angel funding from Jason Njoku’s SPARK fund, which was turned down. The reasons and prevailing circumstances for the rejection were murky.
By this time Tiketmobile had also begun to experience competition from Oya.com.ng, a similar service created by Chika Nwobi of L5Labs. Rebuffed by the young entrepreneurs, Jason Njoku created Bus.com.ng as a SPARK startup, and recruited Amy Muoneke to run it. Oya.com.ng would later be acquired by Wakanow.
Tiketmobile’s second coming has seen it move away from bus transport to ultra-niche e-hailing, signaling that it has given up on that model. But other questions remain unanswered. Has Tiketmobile raised funding to execute its new direction? Is the founding team still intact? Have other people joined? Is this a joint venture with Kouba transport services? Is Tiketmobile’s original patron, the Tony Elemelu Foundation, technically an investor with a stake in the startup, or has that relationship been managed otherwise?
Celestine Ezeokoye declined comment for TechCabal’s inquiry. He however appears to be actively involved in the platform’s relaunch.
“As regards to the ‘second coming’ of Tiketmobile, we aren’t currently giving official words out to any blog/press about what’s happening. Anything you’ve read aren’t official words from us. Just some assertions, which followed promotional tweets both from me and the Tiketmobile partners,” he said.
Celestine Ezeokoye, the CEO at the time and best known of Tiketmobile’s founders managed a soft landing with a gig at Interswitch. He later quit to found the venture he currently runs, Ocaman.com, a design marketplace for event invitations. The softer-spoken Constance Okoghenun moved to a user interface and experience position in Vconnect after winning a Hackathon, while Joseph Benson-Aruna copped a gig with Jobberman. The last we heard, he’d gone on to join Constance at Vconnect.
Bankole Oluwafemi contributed to this post.