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Plentywaka Gets Techstars Backing For Global Expansion

● As the ‘uber-for-buses’ startup in Nigeria launches city-to-city bus travel service.

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Plentywaka founders

Plentywaka, the ‘uber-for-buses’ startup in Nigeria that is focused on providing comfort and convenience to daily commuters using technology, Wednesday announced a new investment from Techstars as it sets its sights on global expansion after a successful one year of moving over 300,000 riders in Nigeria.

The startup will also join 9 other startups in the Techstars Toronto accelerator program, Class of 2021.

Plentywaka was launched in 2019 by Onyeka Akumah, Johnny Ena, John Shaibu, and Afolabi Oluseyi.

Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and CEO of Plentywaka says about the new development, “We are very excited about this new investment to partner with Techstars. This is the second time a startup I founded will go through a Techstars accelerator program and we are truly happy they have believed in our ability again to execute.

“The Plentywaka team will join the Techstars Toronto program to gain further funding, mentorship, and access to a rich network of entrepreneurs and experts in the travel industry. This will also see us expanding globally to other countries, starting with a city in Canada on or before the fourth quarter of 2021.”

Sunil Sharma, Managing Director, Techstars Toronto says, “Our only goal is to leverage the broader ecosystem to support and grow these incredible companies. Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and strong partners and mentors help make this happen.”

Plentywaka has been able to raise prior seed funding of $300,000 from Microtraction, Niche Capital, and EMFATO in the year 2020, 18 months since it started its journey of moving commuters through their daily commute.

The trans-tech company also expanded its services into two other cities in Nigeria with its partnership with Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing to solidify its expansion plans.

Today, Plentywaka has taken another giant step to launch its city-to-city service for Nigerians, where commuters travelling from one state to another within the country can now purchase discounted bus tickets from the Plentywaka mobile app.

DigitalTimesNG understands that With this added feature, commuters have the luxury of choosing their preferred bus transportation company from the list of partners listed on the Plentywaka app from the comfort of their homes.

To kick-start this service, Plentywaka would be partnering with some major bus travel companies in Nigeria including Libra Motors with over 300 buses in their fleet along with four other players with a capacity of 2000+ buses plying over 100 routes across Nigeria.

Johnny Ena, President and Co-founder of Plentywaka, while speaking on the new City-to-City service, said, “This is a major step towards developing a robust and reliable transport system in the country. We want to make the bus booking service a lot easier and accessible for over 20 million Nigerians that commute from one state to the other on a daily basis.

“We believe this would change inter-state commuting for not just stakeholders like bus-operators but also the riders themselves with more options.”

The company said that with new capital from Techstars, an eye for global expansion, and the launch of its interstate service (city-to-city), Plentywaka is poised for a blitz-scaling move to provide the most affordable ‘uber-for-buses’ platform across Africa and the North American market.

A source at the trans-tech firm told our correspondent that there is a growing interest from investors to participate in fueling its growth plans and the company’s CEO, Onyeka Akumah says he is happy to welcome new investors who share a similar vision and hunger for scale as the company does.

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Vehicular Traffic: FAAN Advises Passengers To Get To Airports Early

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) wishes to advise passengers and airport users, particularly those at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to get to the airport early so as to complete their check-in procedures in good time and avoid the unpleasant experiences associated with missing their flights.

FAAN said Friday morning in a statement signed by Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs that this advice has become necessary, as passengers are likely to go through a little delay at the entrance to the terminals, due to built-up vehicular traffic occasioned by an increase in passenger traffic being witnessed presently.

“The Authority will like to assure passengers and other airport users that all hands are on deck to ensure swift facilitation and reduce the congestion to the barest minimum,” Yakubu said in the statement.

 

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Africa Data Centres Confirms Building 10MW Data Centre In Lagos

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Even as South Africa is home to the largest concentration of data centres on the African continent, Nigeria has been described as a key African market, with the appeal of West Africa growing, and new developments planned for both Senegal and Nigeria.

Stephane Duproz, CEO of Africa Data Centres said of the West African region, “This region is hungry for digitisation and to pave the way for our hyperscale customers to deploy digitisation solutions to West Africa, Africa Data Centres’ construction of a 10-megawatt data centre in Lagos is well underway.”

The Lagos build marks a significant step forward in Africa Data Centres’ ambitious long-term strategy to digitise Africa.  The Nigerian data centre will form Africa Data Centres’ West African hub.

As interconnection remains a priority, the company will be adding it to its network of data centres, which at present includes Johannesburg, Nairobi, Cape Town, Harare, and Kigali.

“Our expansion into Nigeria marks one aspect of the company’s growth on the continent,” says Duproz. “In response to demand generated by hyper scalers, key cloud operators and multinational enterprises already making use of our data centres, we have purchased the Samrand facility in South Africa and our key build in Midrand is underway.

“These same clients, who have trusted us with their expansions into Kenya and other African territories, have expressed their interest in bringing digitisation at scale to West Africa. Our leadership and best practice in data centre operations have made us the obvious choice in their expansion strategies.”

The creation of a digital hub is the beginning of digital transformation capabilities for the region. Naturally, says Duproz, multinational enterprises will wish to be housed under the same roof as our hyperscaler customers due to the lower latency enjoyed.

As such, the combination of cloud providers and enterprises make these data centres marketplaces of the ecosystem – and, most importantly, he says, the base for the country’s digital and economic development.

Additionally, keeping African data on African soil is another key consideration driving the demand for local data centre facilities. “We are proud to be ensuring that African data stays in Africa,” he says.

Africa Data Centres has indicated that the Lagos build will spur the economy – creating job opportunities in various sectors.

“The stimulus effect to the economy of digitisation is well documented and Nigeria is ready for this technology boon,” says Duproz.

“Furthermore, our construction policy is to uplift the community as far as possible, employing local contractors and creating work opportunities within the communities we enter – so the job creation opportunities are realised at both grass-roots and high-tech levels.”

Having secured premium land in Lagos, Africa Data Centres has designed its latest data centre facility in line with environmental best practice, using grey, or non-potable water for cooling and utilising solar energy to offset its reliance on the grid.

“Digitising the continent at the cost of the environment is not a sacrifice Africa Data Centres is prepared to entertain. Our strategy encompasses empowering and uplifting the people, the environment and the economy,” he says.

In Senegal, the Morocco-based data centre company N+One, has said it is planning to build three data centres in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

Details of size and power density are not yet available, but it is understood that N+One has partnered with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Telecommunications, along with the General Delegation for Rapid Entrepreneurship of Women and Youth (DER/FJ) and the Digital Technologies Park of Senegal (PTN), as part of the country’s Digital Senegal plan.

The Senegal Digital Technology Park in Dakar was first announced in 2015.

Part-funded by the African Development Bank, the 25-hectare site aims to promote the country as a base for international technology companies.

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Network International Names Hany Fekry Regional President, Northern & Sub-Saharan Africa

Appointment of Regional Head will help drive greater digital payments adoption across Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa

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Hany Fekry, New Regional President, Northern & Sub-Saharan Africa, Network International

Network International, the leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa (MEA), has announced the appointment of Egyptian national Hany Fekry as Regional President – Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa.

In his new role, Fekry will be responsible for all aspects of Network’s acquiring and issuing business in Egypt and Nigeria, and for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to drive Network’s business growth and increase digital payments adoption in Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Fekry joined Network in 2016 as Managing Director for Egypt and Deputy Managing Director for Africa, leading the company’s business development activities across the Northern and Sub-Saharan region.

Previously, he served as the Chief Commercial Officer of Emerging Markets Payments (EMP) Africa, which was acquired by Network International in 2016.

Fekry’s more than 20-year career has included developing business in markets including Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nandan Mer, Group CEO of Network International, commented: “Building an effective payments infrastructure requires a thorough understanding of the needs of a local merchant and issuer clients to address their pain points and build locally relevant payments solutions.

“Since joining the team in 2016, Fekry’s deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges in digital payments adoption across Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa has been instrumental in helping Network deliver customised and relevant solutions.

“I am confident he is the right person to strengthen our offering to clients, in addition to driving greater inclusion and building a stronger payments infrastructure in these fast-growing markets.”

Hany Fekry, Regional President – Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, added: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Network, with tremendous opportunities to accelerate the positive trends in digital payments across the region and increase financial inclusions.

“I look forward to helping build a best-in-class payment ecosystem that will support local merchants and financial institutions, and positively impact the economies across the Northern and Sub-Saharan African markets.”

 

 

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