SA tech startup expands platform to provide e-hailing service for women

Local, a South African tech startup, has expanded its product offering  from providing a grocery delivery service to offering female driver only e-hailing option for women titled, HER.

HER caters to providing an e-hailing service for females, children and LGBT community members

The startup launched in 2019 in Johannesburg and was founded by local entrepreneur, William Moshabi. Initially, the startup focused on providing a grocery and delivery service but has expanded its model into an e-hailing service for women. 

The platform provides two options for commuters; “Local” and “HER”. The primary option “HER” provides female drivers to women and children passengers. While “Local” has provided lifts using Sedans. 

Passengers can use the platform through the app by downloading it through iOS or the Google Play store.

Moshabi explained that the name, “Local” was chosen for the startup because it has become associated with a short taxi trip.

“This resonated with us even further as we are passionate about solving localized problems – starting with transportation as a whole,” said Moshabi.

Start of Local and “HER”

To develop and launch “Local”, Moshabi worked with a team of experts who had experience in ride e-hailing platforms. 

Moshabi stated that developing the “Local” app was the easier part because they could similar apps such as Uber and Bolt as “reference points.”

In just over a year, they had completed a “closed beta” test. The test allowed Moshabi’s team to have 1200 drivers to join “Her” as drivers. The test also allowed them to enlist approximately 7000 drivers first in Johannesburg and then in Cape Town.

Moshabi added that the biggest challenge for him and his team has been the struggle to meet the demands of the market. Currently, they are working towards ensuring their customers are able to get a ride with five minutes.

To overcome this challenge, “Local” is currently preparing to raise funds in the next three months and they are reviewing options from Venture Capital firms that they have received in the past.

Safer transport for all 

While the “HER” option was originally aimed at creating safe transport for women, Moshabi stated there had been an increase in demand for their services from the LGBT community. He added that because of this “HER” began expanded its service option to those in the LGBT community.

Moshabi explained that the demand from the LGBT community was due to the need for safe places to exist for certain communities and the “HER” option was able to accommodate this.

“None of the competing ride-hailing apps offered that convenience,” said Moshabi.

Moshabi explained that his team has been regularly adding female drivers to their platform to meet the growing demand. By the end of this year, the tech startup plans to add a further 12 000 drivers to meet the growing demand for their service.

Covid-19 halts rides

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit South Africa, Moshabi explained that it had a “direct impact” on their business. He added that the lockdown had drastically reduced the number of their daily rides as their primary business involved providing transport to passengers.

“We moved from thousands of daily rides to close to nothing,” said Moshabi.

This led to Local investing in the creation of their food delivery service on the same platform. Moshabi explained that the business used 7000 of their independently contracted vehicles to launch their food and grocery delivery service option called Food.

He added that since the delivery service had been a success, it would be added permanently added to their platform.

“Now our customers can move from any point A to B or order from one of the 100+ stores we have on our platform, including grocery and fast food stores,” said Moshabi.

Read more: Meet Afri Ride, SA’s latest ride-sharing app [Q&A]
Read more: How SA ride hailing startup Hailer wants to undercut industry giants Uber, Taxify

Feature image: Peter Fazekas via Pexels 



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