Is East Africa’s Cab-Hailing Mondo Ride Running Out Of Steam Or Adjusting For A Comeback?
A cab-hailing firm headquartered in Nairobi – Mondo Ride – is reported to have suspended its taxi rides for corporate clients in the wake of worries amongst its staff that the transport initiative could be riding out the doors of Kenya.
One reality which buttresses that the ride-hailing company may soon officially exit the East African country is the country manager for operations’ whereabouts. Named Joar Lindh, he is believed to have thrown in the towel and left the country even as Mondo Ride is rumoured to have informally loomed an exit plan by joining drivers to seek arrears that have accumulated since December last year.
According to confirmation from Co-Founder Himanshu Anand, there has been a delay in the payment of salaries to staff alongside the (temporary or permanent) halt of corporate rides. In as much as Anand downplayed the rumoured shutdown, there is yet another move which suggests that the ride-hailing company may indeed be headed for cessation.
According to reports, a lettered statement was tendered by the firm’s employees to Lindh, Anand and CEO Troels Andersen which cited an exit plan even as senior management maintained that they were all away from Kenya in pursuit of capital to expand the business. The staff-agreed letter said that: “Following unofficial communication to Mondo Ride staff, it has been resolved that the company will no longer be in operation”.
While Anand and the call centre manager Grace Elkan both confirmed to have seen a copy of the letter, Mond Ride staff and drivers are yet to receive dues for no less than two months in the wake of none of the company executives being in Kenya.
By way of denial from Anand, Mondo Ride is not about to exit the Kenyan market. He said: “The management of Mondo is completely committed to the business, and because of that we are in the final stages of raising money. There is a misunderstanding of the situation. We were almost going to close funding in December, but thanks to delays, due payments have been hamstrung by a few issues which we will surely resolve.
According to Anand, the company suspended services because of the payment delays. He said in an exclusive interview that the accounts would be reinstated once the outstanding amounts are obtained. While Anand did not disclose how much is being raised by the company, it is its customers’ hopes that Mondo Ride will continue its service in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kampala, Kisumu and Dar es Salaam.
Last year, the firm raised USD 2 Mn for an expansion which many Kenyans believe is yet to be executed. The Dubai-founded service could have well bowed out of all its East African countries, allegedly closing up their shops after realising that allied drivers had formed a WhatsApp cartel and prepared to storm their offices yesterday.
July 2018, the 2016-launched startup, in a move to revive its dwindling operations, introduced parcel delivery service. But thanks to existing and well-established competitors, the business blown off of the water. Considering that parcel delivery across Kenyan cities is as low as Ksh 200, Mondo Rides’ Ksh 150 for 7 km which cost an additional Ksh 30 for every km was expensive at the time.
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