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Two Ghanaians and a Nigerian who have just netted seed funding from a Nigerian investor for their mobility platform, believe Mauritius is the ideal base from which to launch into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The announcement that Oui Capital, an early stage venture capital (VC) fund based in Lagos, has invested in mobility platform Vite, was made in a post on Medium by the investor on Tuesday (28 January). Oui Capital did not disclose how much it had invested in Vite.
Vite’s app matches riders with driver-partners, enabling users to access convenient, comfortable and personal transportation services.
For mobility startup Vite founded by Ghanaians and Nigerian in 2016, Mauritius is the ideal place to start a tech business aimed at Africa
The startup was founded in 2016 by Ghanaian Isaac Agyemang (pictured above, middle with co-founders Anthony Takyi, left and Ukeme Jonah, right). Agyemang (who serves as COO) was joined by Nigerian Ukeme Jonah (who serves as CEO) in 2017.
Ghanaian Anthony Takyi joined (as CMO) in July last year after meeting the duo in Ghana when they were scouting for investors.
The trio’s tech lead is based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Takyi added that the startup has five core team members at present.
Agyemang and Jonah went to school in Mauritius, where they became aware of the problem of high taxi fares and there being no real-time way for riders and drivers to connect, while co-organising a TEDx event in 2016 in Mauritius.
‘Mauritius a good place to start’
So, why Mauritius?
“If you are going to do business and get things smoother than smooth in Africa, Mauritius is certainly the starting point. It is the gateway to the SADC region,” Takyi told Ventureburn today in an email.
He pointed out that Mauritius is an easy place to do business (ranked number one in Africa by the World Bank in ease of doing business) and pointed out that entrepreneurs are given plenty of incentives on the island country.
In addition, over 80% of Mauritians use the internet — double the average internet penetration of 40% on the continent — and there is a political drive for innovation and entrepreneurship on the island.
‘We’ve put in $35k previously’
Before the current seed round, the two co-founders, together with an angel investor, had put $35 000 in the business, said Takyi.
Their seed round is designed to provide Vite Technologies with the financial and operational support necessary to launch full operations on Mauritius, after its highly successful beta-testing which saw more than 6500 app downloads and 500 completed trips.
Since then downloads have grown to over 11 000, with over 200 drivers currently on the platform.
Takyi stressed that while their tech lead is still based in UAE, the startup does have a team “on the ground”. Agyemang is heading for Mauritius today, with Jonah expected to follow next week. The tech lead may also follow, added.
He said the startup aims to launch the platform “before close of Q1 this year”. “Currently we are doing a few ground works, like meeting and training our drivers and shaping our current and to-be customers; preparing to publish new app upgrades,” he explained.
The question is, given all the trouble mobility startups face elsewhere, will Mauritian authorities welcome the platform with open arms — once it is up and running? Other African startups will be waiting to hear if indeed it will, with bated breath.
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*In the below caption we incorrectly referred to Vite’s Anthony Takyi as a co-founder, when he is just the CMO. We regret the error.
Featured image (from left to right): Vite CMO Anthony Takyi, with co-founders Isaac Agyemang and Ukeme Jonah (Supplied)