We’ve invested R2.3m in ride-hailing app – former security guard, prison warden


A former security guard and former prison warden have teamed up to launch Taxi Live Africa — South Africa’s latest in long string of e-hailing apps — and claim to have invested R2.3-million of their own money in the startup so far.

The Durban and Cape Town based company is South Africa’s latest in a number of ride-hailing company, following the launch earlier this year of “Sushi King” Kenny Kunene’s Yookoo Ride and Ridver, launched by Opynio Media and Technology, a black women owned company (see this story and this one).

Former prison warden Luvuyo Ntshayi (pictured above) and Soyiso Qotyiwe, a former security guard turned taxi driver, last month launched the app to residents in Durban.

Ntshayi told Ventureburn yesterday that the company — which he says he’s spent two years researching and developing — has signed up over 700 drivers in Durban and more than 100 in Cape Town, where the company aims to expand to next (see also this story by our sister site Memeburn).

Luvuyo Ntshayi, former prison warden and Soyiso Qotyiwe, a former security guard, claim they have invested R2.3m in Taxi Live Africa

The startup has initially focused on meter taxi drivers — to help them to compete against e-hailing sector, which was why the company kicked off operations in Durban, where Ntshayi says he received strong demand from local meter taxi drivers for the offering.

But he says this doesn’t mean the app is only for meter taxi drivers. Private drivers from the e-hailing sector are also welcome to use the app.

The company charges drivers a commission of 13%, a rate which Ntshayi says is both fair to drivers and sustainable for his business.

Ntshayi estimates that he and Qotyiwe have together invested R2.3-million in developing the company and the app. He says the amount includes the cost of travelling to Asia where he claims he visited several companies to research the idea of an e-hailing app further. He declined to name the countries and companies he visited.

The company, he says, presently has 14 employees — eight in a Durban office and six in Cape Town. It also has an outside developer team of four.

Ntshayi says in 2008 he joined the correctional services department as a prison warden. In 2012 he completed an HR Diploma before a year’s stint in 2014 as an HR officer at the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

He left his life as a public servant after he secured a R50 000 grant in 2015 from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to set up a detergent manufacturing business in Blue Downs, Cape Town.

However, he says despite help from a mentor, the business never got off the ground. He puts this down to his lack of experience in manufacturing.

Ntshayi — who says he’s had calls from those in neighbouring countries to offer his app’s service there — says however that he’s not focusing on competing with the likes of Uber and Bolt which together dominate the ride hailing sector.

But he points out that his business’s focus on customer care, including the use of a call centre and a live online chat facility will help it to gain acceptance in the market.

Says Ntshayi: “We’re not really wanting to be better than anyone from the word go — we just want to learn.”

Read more: Taxi Live Africa brings Uber-like ehailing features to metered taxis
Read more: Court case looms for Yookoo Ride – but Kenny Kunene claims his startup is ‘okay’
Read more: Meet Ridver, the ride-hailing app that has netted interest from Zambian investor
Read more: How SA ride hailing startup Hailer wants to undercut industry giants Uber, Taxify

Featured image: Taxi Live Africa co-founder Luvuyo Ntshayi (Facebook)



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