Toyota Tsusho & Google Bet On Another African Mobility Startup As SA’s WhereIsMyTransport Closes USD 7.5 Mn Series A

By  |  March 2, 2020

South African mobility startup, WhereIsMyTransport, has secured USD 7.5 Mn in a Series A funding round that drew participation from the Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC), the investment arm of the global automobile giant, Toyota, as well as global tech giant, Google.

The latest funding round was led by Liil Ventures, and also includes existing investors, Global Innovation Fund and Goodwell Investments, as well as Nedbank.

WhereIsMyTransport was founded in 2016 and the company is a big data platform for seamless mobility in emerging markets.

The South African company links up and extracts mobility information on its platform for use by cities to coordinate and monitor services. The company’s services are also leveraged by transport operators to integrate their systems, and used by passengers, who access the platform through apps and endpoints connected to the WhereIsMyTransport platform.

“We make the invisible visible, by collecting all kinds of data related to public transport and turning the data into information that can be shared with the people who need it most. In emerging markets, the mobility ecosystem is complex; informal public transport doesn’t behave like formal public transport,” said chief executive officer (CEO) Devin de Vries.

“Data and technology solutions that work well in London or San Francisco wouldn’t make anything like the same impact, if any at all, in the cities where we work. Our solutions are designed specifically to overcome these contextual challenges.”

Early last year, WhereIsMyTransport raised a further USD 1.85 Mn after closing two funding rounds back in 2017. Those funding rounds appear to have facilitated the startup’s expansion beyond South Africa, into India, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

The latest investment, which brings the startup’s total funding to around USD 13 Mn, is believed to be geared towards extending global reach, scaling its data collection practice, and developing new technology to translate complex data into useful information for commuters.

Toyota Tsusho, which recently backed Kenya-based logistics company, Sendy, made its second investment in an African startup in as many months.

Masato Yamanami, Automotive Division CEO at TTC, said his company was delighted to have participated in WhereIsMyTransport’s Series A raise.

“Our division’s global network, that covers 146 countries, is primarily focused on new emerging countries where people rely on informal public transport. Through strategic collaboration with WhereIsMyTransport, we will develop better and more efficient mobility services that help to resolve social challenges and contribute to the overall economic development of nations, primarily emerging nations,” he said.

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